Greater Trail’s American Legion and Trail XBL baseball teams hit the diamond this week to kick off another season of competitive baseball.
Tryouts for the 13-and-under, 16U, and 17U Trail Orioles wrapped up on Tuesday at Butler Park with a promising complement of players vying for positions on the ‘A’ and ‘AA’ American Legion teams.
“We have had all of our summer (American Legion) tryouts and are just in the process of picking those teams,” said TYB representative Scott Calvin. “In total between the three teams, we had about 45 kids come out, so that was great.”
The Trail AA Orioles were short of players and took a sabbatical from the Washington State American Legion Baseball League last season, but early numbers bode well and the 17U team will be back in action this year.
“We are very happy with the turnout for this year,” said Calvin. “Great to have three teams again.”
Leading the AA Orioles will be coaches Tim Taylor and Kevin Ihas, who coached the ‘A’ Orioles last season.
Meanwhile, the West Kootenay ‘A’ Orioles will have Steve Forte at the helm this season. The ‘A’ Orioles went 16-2 last season to capture the Area 3 Central Division ‘A’ (WSALB) pennant and advance to the Districts in Spokane, but just missed out on a berth to the State championship.
The 13U squad also had a competitive season, finishing above .500 in their first year in the Spokane Indians Youth Baseball League (SIYBL). The team is in its second season in the SIYBL and will have Jim Maniago and Wes Dann as coaches. Playing in the Spokane league provides a bridge for talented young players going from Little League to American Legion baseball where the pitching mound and diamond dimensions change dramatically.
This year, the 13U Orioles will be able to play in front of their home crowd after the City of Trail helped modify Haley Park to accommodate the baseball team.
“We have secured the middle field at Haley Park to use for some games,” said Calvin. “We have cemented in base plugs at the 70 foot distance and we have a removable mound to use as well.”
Trail Youth Baseball also threw out the first pitch on Monday, with the Trail Blue Jays beating the Trail Pirates 3-2 in the opening match. TYB will field three junior baseball teams, including the Pirates, Blue Jays, and Mariners, and will play in a seven team league with two teams coming from Castlegar and two from Nelson.
The XBL Senior baseball league will see some drastic changes, as the league will turn into a drop-in league after a tough 2017 season.
“We had too much trouble getting people to run teams and we were always short,” said Calvin. “We are hoping that the Drop in will generate more people. We tried it for the last three weeks last season and we had enough to play every night.
“I actually think the drop in is going to work better, but time will tell.”
Drop in for Senior baseball is $10 per game, and up to $170 for the season.
The Trail Youth Baseball schedule can be found online at ballcharts.com or go to their Facebook page for more info.