Nothing signals spring’s arrival like little league baseball. With the winter thaw on the horizon, the focus shifts from the faceoff circle at local ice rinks to the freshly drawn chalk lines at nearby baseball diamonds.
As a result, plenty of little leaguers are anxiously awaiting the arrival of the 2019 baseball season. In-person registration for Southwest Kitchener Optimist baseball and Forest Hill T-Ball baseball programs begin this Saturday.
Helen Wilson is one of the baseball program coordinators with the Southwest Kitchener Optimists. She emphasized that the name of the game is ‘fun’ with their program. “We hope that they have fun and meet new friends. Even the parents meet new friends”, Wilson said.
“We want them to enjoy the game and learn something coming out of it. Some of these kids who go through our program actually go on to Kitchener Minor Baseball because they got their experience and want something more.”
The Southwest Kitchener Optimists offer four levels of play for baseball registration; Blastball for children three to four years old, T-Ball for children five to seven years old, 3-Pitch for players eight to ten years old and Slo-Pitch for youth 11 to 16 years old.
Registration dates take place March 16th, 23rd and April 13th and 20th from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm at the Southwest Kitchener Optimist Clubhouse at 120 Pioneer Drive.
As the winter weather lingers on, some people may not have baseball on the brain. Wilson suggests that parents register their children as soon as possible to ensure a spot on their team. “Our first session, we might only have 20 people sign up because they’re still in ‘winter mode’. Because of the diamond situation that we’re not too sure of, we might have to put a cap on certain divisions. Your best bet is to come as soon as you can.”
The Southwest Optimist sports fields at Upper Canada Park are undergoing a massive renovation, with plans to reconfigure four baseball diamonds and include a Blastball diamond. The timeline for project completion isn't confirmed as of yet, but Wilson assures families there will be a place close by for little leaguers to play this season.
The Southwest Kitchener Optimists are also recruiting parents to volunteer as coaches for the various teams. Wilson says it’s a great opportunity for parents to get involved with their children’s team and perhaps even learn something themselves. “Some of these parents that coach, they do their homework. Some of them are there because they want to help out. They’re not too sure how to do it, but they learn along with the kids.”
For those interested in signing up for youth baseball programs through the Southwest Kitchener Optimists, registration takes place in person at the clubhouse on Pioneer Drive. The registration fee is $55 per child for the Blastball program and $65 per youth for T-Ball, 3-Pitch and Slo-Pitch.
For more information, visit the Southwest Kitchener Optimist website.