For the first time in many years, graduating Little League baseball players will have a league of their own.
The Trail Youth Baseball League (TYBL) created a new league for 13-year-olds that throws out the first pitch of its inaugural season on Sunday at Butler Park.
“Our numbers are good,” said TYBL president Jim Maniago. “We were hoping to have 60 kids and we’re right around there … We haven’t had this many kids in a while so it’s great.”
The 13-year-old youth league will be made up of five teams, including three from Greater Trail, one from Castlegar, and one from Nelson. TYBL will also field three Trail Junior teams along with two from Castlegar and one from Nelson.
For the past two summers, Trail Youth Baseball had enough numbers for one 13-year-old ‘All-Star’ team that competed in the Spokane Indians Youth Baseball League (SIYBL). The larger numbers this year are due in part to an age change in BC Little League, but also reflects a growing interest among youth in baseball.
The 13U league is crucial in transitioning players from Little League to the Junior ranks, and playing on the larger Butler Park Field will only give Trail’s 13-year-old players a competitive edge.
TYBL will also select a Senior 19U All-Star team, a Jr. 16U All-Star team and U13 All Star team. All teams will play in their respective Spokane American Legion Leagues this summer.
Of course the creation of another league also means that it will need more resources.
“The problems with that is we’re having to restock our equipment and uniform stock to support this many teams, but that will be a work in progress,” said Maniago. “We’re also looking for coaches and umpires as we haven’t had this many games and teams to deal with so we are stretched thin on all resources.”
Evaluations took place at Butler Park this week. After teams are set, they’ll begin play Sunday with a 20-game schedule that wraps up the end of June.
Sunday’s schedule kicks off at 10 a.m. with a 13U practice, and a short round-robin of exhibition games between the three teams.
The three Junior teams will play at 1, 3, and 5 p.m. for their first regular season games. TYBL will also be cooking hotdogs throughout the day, so come out and enjoy Trail Youth Baseball at Butler Park on Sunday.
“Hopefully this is just the beginning and we’ll continue to build with more kids coming from little league in the next few years,” added Maniago.