Nonstop action expected throughout softball season

With the snow melted and the birds chirping that means only one thing, ball season. The Warman Minor Softball Association has wrapped up registrations and is waiting to get the season underway.
There are a couple of divisions within Warman minor ball, the Twin City Angels which consists of females in the U12 to U18 category from Warman and Martensville. And the generic Warman minor softball which features youth in the U5 to U14 age groups.
Warman Minor Softball Association president Jason Larner is excited for the upcoming season as there are many youth  registered to play ball.
He said there are around 110 girls registered in the Angels program and another 220 youth will be competing within the Warman Minor Softball Association.
“Numbers are consistent, they’re about on par with where they were last year, Larner said.
“There’s so many activities for kids now that parents have to choose, so we’re happy with them (the numbers).”
Even though it’s just starting to get nice out to practice outside, Larner said some players have been preparing for this upcoming season throughout the winter.
“This was the first year we did fall tryouts for the A teams for the Twin City Angels. We didn’t select individual teams, we short listed 17 players and those 17 players got to practice all winter and then the teams were  named in the end of January, Larner said. “So it gave players the opportunity to develop and show themselves before final team selections and then once teams were selected, the teams have been practicing on their own in February and March and the hope is to get outside here pretty quick.”
That extra playing time just applied to those A teams as the rest of the minor ball teams will start up practice pretty soon.
“They’ll start probably in the next few weeks, once the city releases the diamonds for use and then we’ll be going full bore. May 2 will be the first night of ball games for the little guys and they’ll go May and June,” Larner said.
He also mentioned that the season for the more competitive teams is little longer, as they have chance to qualify for nationals and they also play in more tournaments throughout the summer.
For the majority of the youth playing softball, the season is only a few months, however Larner said there will be lots of opportunities to play a lot of games.
“We compete in the Saskatoon Minor Softball League and they host a tournament. There’s the presidents tournament for the “A” teams then the Hustlers have tournaments and for our “B” teams … there are tournaments in Regina, and tournaments in Alberta. Teams travel a long ways now for ball … and it all depends on the individual teams and what commitment they have from the parents,” Larner said.
Overall, Larner can’t wait for the softball start since it’s getting warmer outside.
“We’re kind of itching to get outside, there’s only so much you can do in a gym.”

KidSport funding gets boost from softball association

Warman Minor Softball Association President Jason Larner presents a donation to Warman KidSport Coordinator Coralie Bueckert

A $1,500 donation from the Warman Minor Softball Association (WMSA) will go a long way toward helping the Warman KidSport charity get more youngsters involved in organized sport.
Warman KidSport Coordinator Coralie Bueckert said the donation is needed.
“This cheque is really appreciated,” said Bueckert as she accepted the donation from WMSA President Jason Larner on Friday, December 16. “Right now we’re still short about $2,700 in funding for 2016.”
Bueckert said Warman KidSport has provided $20,000 in funding to 43 kids this year. The funds help families pay registration fees for organized minor sports like hockey and ball. The Warman and Martensville KidSport organizations are in turn funded by donations from corporations and individuals, as well as fundraising projects. Warman High School students are currently building a playhouse, sponsored by the Martensville A&W, the Clark’s Crossing Gazette and other businesses, that will be the grand prize in a raffle in the spring of 2017.
Larner said the WMSA executive made a decision to donate funds to KidSport as a way of giving back to the community.
“It helps fund kids who want to play organized sports,” said Larner. “Softball is one of those sports. We want kids to be included, and not left out because their parents can’t afford it.”
Next year is likely to see an increase in the number of applications for KidSport funding, said Bueckert.
“We anticipate that next year we’ll need to raise a minimum of $25,000 in order to meet the need that’s out there,” said Bueckert. “It’s a hidden need in many ways. You can’t see it, but it’s there just the same.:
Bueckert said not only are the number of applications for KidSport funding increasing, but so is the amount of money requested in each application.
“It used to be that you needed $200 or $300 to cover registration fees,” she said. “Now it’s not unusual to see $500 or even $1,000 in some cases. Sports are just getting more expensive.”
Bueckert said the local KidSport charity has come to an arrangement with the Canadian Tire ‘JumpStart’ program that enables families to access sports equipment.
“KidSport funding only covers registration costs,” said Bueckert.
Warman, Martensville and several other area communities also cooperate to provide funding for youngsters through an “Inter-Community Development Fund” which provides funding for organizations like Girl Guides, local dance clubs and other recreational and cultural groups.