Opening Day for Trail Minor Baseball is this Saturday at Andy Bilesky Park. Trail Times file photo

Major day for Trail Minor Baseball

Umpire Bill MacMillan will toss out ceremonial first pitch Saturday at Andy Bilesky Park

Opening Day is always a big one whether you play in the Major League or Little League.

For local minor baseball players, Saturday is the big day at Andy Bilesky Park.

With Trail Minor Baseball hosting the B.C. Little League championships in July, Opening Day takes on an extra special flavour this year.

Major (for 11-12 year olds) Minor (for 9-10 year olds) and Rookie (7-8 year olds) will all be in action on Saturday.

The day starts with the Trail Rangers playing the Trail Dodgers in Major Division action at 10 a.m.

Meanwhile, the Rookies will play on the small field at 11 a.m.

Games take a back seat to the Opening Ceremony at noon. This year’s first pitch honour will go to long-time umpire Bill MacMillan, who has been recognized at the provincial level for his work as a mentor to umpires.

MacMillan recalls getting the itch to umpire after watching the Canadian Little League Championship in Trail in 1987.

“We went and watched some of the games and I thought, ‘I can do that.’”

So in 1988 he began his umpiring career that has spanned 30 years and included eight appearances umpiring at national championships including last year in P.E.I.

“I’ve been incredibly lucky,” he said. “I have a wife that likes going to watch kids play baseball, it doesn’t matter if it’s good or bad ball.”

On Saturday instead of being behind the plate looking out at the field he’ll be standing on the mound staring down at home plate.

“It’s pretty cool,” said MacMillan. “It’s a huge honour. I guess if you stay around long enough you’ll get a shot at it,” he joked.

He isn’t too concerned if his pitch isn’t perfect.

“It’ll sound like a strike and that’s all I care about.”

MacMillan usually is the one calling the balls and strikes in his unique style but on Saturday’s ceremonial pitch he’s going to keep quiet.

“I’m just going to let the fans call it.”

Once MacMillan throws his strike, games will continue throughout the day resuming at 1 p.m.

The concession will also be open for the hungry fans and players.

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