For the first time in decades the Trail Little League All Stars will host a district qualifying round to see who goes to the 2022 BC Little League Provincial Championship.
Trail will play the Cranbrook Bandits in a best-of-three series July 16-17 with the winner heading to Whalley, the site of this year’s provincial tournament.
According to Trail All Stars coach D. J. Ashman, Cranbrook Little League has commited to participating in Districts, and assured Trail Little League that this commitment will continue.
“They have agreed, and they’ve been doing a good job of building their program now,” said Ashman. “The advantage they have this year is they took a young team last year, so they have about six or seven returners this year, where we only have three.”
Joining Ashman on the coaching staff are assistants Gary Ortman and Steve Robinson, and the All Stars also recruited local Team Canada pitcher Allison Schroder to help with their preparation.
The coaches selected the All Star team at the end of June and held their third practice Wednesday, June 29, before heading to a tournament in Calgary, July 1-3.
The team is made up of nine senior players (12-years-old) and four junior (11-years-old) players, with 11 of those from Greater Trail and two from Nelson.
The All Stars haven’t been to provincials since pre-pandemic in 2019, but Ashman likes the talent on the field and is working the team hard to prepare for districts and provinicals.
“I’m liking what I see,” said Ashman. “There is a lot to learn still, but there is a lot to like though. And the two kids from Nelson just complete us, they can catch, they can pitch, and they can both hit.”
The All Stars will travel to Cranbrook for a tournament this weekend, July 8-10, followed by the Districts, and then the provincials the following week.
“There’s not a lot of time,” added Ashman. “We do it every year, we compete every year but we work hard at it, and that’s the key right there.”
The first two District tournament games between the Trail All Stars and Cranbrook Bandits are planned for Saturday, July 16, and if necessary, Game 3 will go Sunday, July 17 at Andy Bilesky Park. Game times are yet to be determined.