Tillsonburg Minor Ball’s 2020 season was cancelled in the spring due to COVID-19, but local diamonds are still being maintained through the summer months.
“You need to have a minimum maintenance,” said Tillsonburg Minor Ball president Scott Vitias, “to keep the grass good in preparation for next year.”
Vitias said during this ‘off’ year, they are working to improve the facilities – and that included the addition of a new scoreboard at Sam Lamb Field, funded by Baseball Tillsonburg.
Local minor baseball numbers have been healthy for a number of years.
“We’re at least 375-380 to 400,” said Vitias. “For a centre this size, that’s pretty good.”
The biggest increase came after the Toronto Blue Jays won World Series championships in 1992-93, but Vitias said they have been able to maintain those numbers since then.
“We try to work with other organizations so we’re not having the same age kids on the same nights. We don’t want to compete – we want the kids to do as much as they want to do.”
Teams will be starting over again in the spring after the one-season layoff.
“It’s going to be a struggle, but we’re confident that we will be as strong – or stronger – than we were in years past. Everybody’s in the same boat, and hopefully the kids realize what they miss and they’ll be back.”
Fall and winter training, following COVID-19 restrictions, will continue.
“I’ve been with the minor ball board for 4-5 years, president for 3-4 years now, and we’ve done indoor winter training every year. If restrictions allow, definitely we will this winter. But we’ll have to work with Thames Valley District School Board because we use their facility. Or the new ABO Baseball facility – Trevor Oakes and Deb Simmonds are partners in that. You can’t do much fielding there, but you can’t use real baseballs or bats in Thames Valley’s facilities. So we might be able to alternate, say one week do fielding at the school and the next week you go over to ABO and do a hitting session over there. Hitting’s a big part of the game.”
Tillsonburg Minor Ball would have field rookie-bantam age teams for 2020. They expect to have a midget team in 2021. The bantams,who were scheduled to host an 2020 OBA championship tournament, and the peewees would have played Inter-County Tier 1.