SOUTH DUNDAS, Ontario – Locally-run youth baseball is returning to the diamond for the 2021 season and while the game is the same, there are changes to the local scene.
In past seasons, the Williamsburg Pioneers have played in Little League districts in the area. Williamsburg was aligned with Kemptville for younger levels of baseball, and had moved the older levels to the Ottawa district in 2019. Then the pandemic hit.
Changes with Kemptville’s baseball club meant the Upper Canada Little League folded. Travel and public health restrictions made the alignment with Ottawa-based Little League unattainable for the 2021 season. These changes did not just affect the Pioneers.
“Winchester, Finch, and others were all were hit with this,” said Jason Broad, president of the Seaway Surge Baseball Club.
The Surge, which is a member of Baseball Ontario, one of two baseball associations in the province, announced it was going to coordinate house league baseball for this year.
A regional baseball club, the Seaway Surge has moved fast into the competitive baseball scene since its inception six years ago. Until now it has fielded competitive baseball teams for players age 8 to 22 with a regional makeup to the teams. Now it is moving into recreational baseball.
“The Surge is committed to ensuring local, affordable, recreational house league baseball,” said Broad.
The club is organizing house league operations under Baseball Ontario regulations for age groups from under seven years of age all the way to 18 and under.
The league names will be different, Rally Cap instead of Tee Ball, 9U instead of Coach Pitch, but the game is the same. An improvement to the 9U level is a mechanical pitcher which will throw the same, consistent pitch to a player, which is better for development in the sport.
Broad explained that the Surge is providing the administrative resources for local organizations that already have the coaches and players, like in Winchester, and Williamsburg.
Pioneers president David Lapier said for the Williamsburg teams, not a lot has changed except for the administrative help.
“We’re still the Pioneers and we’re still in Williamsburg,” Lapier said. “The fees are still going to be the same.”
He said the Surge is helping out where Williamsburg needed it the most, administration.
“It’s getting harder all the time,” Lapier said of getting volunteers to help with administration needs for the local club.
The Seaway Surge is handling registration for many local baseball clubs in the area, including the Pioneers.
Lapier said this lets him focus on the game, which he is happy to get going this year after a year off with the pandemic.
While the Surge is helping local clubs with house league ball, the organization still needs help to make the season a memorable one. “We can’t make this season happen without you,” Broad said.
The Surge is planning for a season at local diamonds between May 17 and July 29th.
To register for baseball, or to volunteer, contact the Seaway Surge at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit online at www.seawaysurge.com.
This story was originally written for, and appeared in The Morrisburg Leader.