Only 5 months ago our district was trying to decide if we should expand and start offering baseball programs to players over 12 yrs old again. It had been gone since the late 90’s after leagues pulled out of the Babe Ruth program. It was a rocky start in February but we managed to get 4 Little Leagues in Victoria to step up and take a chance.
The season went well with games being played at Hampton and Central Saanich fields. We even made a trip to Langley to play their Junior teams. We hosted them here too with Lakehill and Central Saanich teams. We all played baseball, hosted a free bbq for each other and felt what we call that Little League community spirit. We made some new friends and understood that no matter where we come from the kids are all the same.
Fast forward to June and we begin selections for a tournament team. Now the district didn’t have many Intermediate players who were not playing on the 11/12 tournament teams already but we decided to hold a district assessment anyways and see what we had. Those willing to dedicate themselves to traveling to play Provincials in Langley and possibly beyond? We selected a manager and coaching staff, held assessments and then started practicing. Only a few weeks until provincials. The opposition had a combined team in Vancouver covering off all of District 3 (Fraser Valley). There are some great ball players there. This wasn’t going to be easy.
Our district team is made up of players from Central Saanich, Hampton and Beacon Hill. They are some great kids who absolutely love baseball. Everyone has something to bring to the team. The big unknown was could we compete with Vancouver? This is our first year in this division.
It’s Friday July 8th at 630pm. We’ve won the coin toss to be home team. We start the game with 7 runs in the first inning. Whew…that takes some pressure off. Our boys played well but there were definitely some butterflies in everyone’s stomachs. Both teams were playing hard and there were a few errors. It was the bottom of the 7th inning. The game was tied 11-11. Fraser Valley had come back. Our boys stepped up the bats and pulled out a win of 12-11 to go ahead one game. But hold on…we needed another.
Game two…Saturday July 9th at 1pm. We are visitors. Doesn’t matter. Just get up to bat and make them have to catch up right? Our team went up 9-6 after 6.5 innings. Now all we had to do was shut the door. And that’s what they did. They pulled out a win and took the provincial title for the Intermediate division!
Now our boys are off to Calgary to play in the Canadians. It’s the first time since the late 90’s that a team (in baseball) from the island has gone to nationals. It’s an exciting time for baseball in Little League! And to think…we almost missed it in February.
PS – Victoria Little League will have a Junior division next year too. That allows our 13-14 yr old players to be involved in that community spirit. We already have commitments from Langley, New Westminister, Coquitlam and more to play our teams both here and there. It’s going to be some great ball and some great fun!
Follow our district Intermediate team at Canadians by following us at www.2016intcdn.ca