The Eckville Eagles Minor League Baseball Association held a registration night for anyone interested in playing ball in Eckville.
To the pleasant surprise of organizer Amy Brown, the room was packed.
“We had way more turnout then we expected – which is great,” Brown said. “We are going to have full age groups and possibly even two in one of the younger groups. That hasn’t happened in many, many years.”
Brown pointed out that the popularity of baseball is back on the rise, with other communities also seeing unexpected growth.
“It would appear that the neighbouring towns have seen an upswing,” she said, adding that, “Spruce View isn’t running a team this year, which may be partly why we have some extras.”
Brown also thinks that the growth of adult slo-pitch has led to the exposure of baseball to young people.
“I think it has something to do with the fact that a lot of kids’ parents are playing ball,” she said. “The kids are around it a lot more. There is a huge upswing in adult slo-pitch – that is also helping.”
With the greater turnout, Minor Baseball is in need of umpires to help officiate games throughout the season.
“We will look for coaches but usually the parents on the teams will fill in there,” Brown said. “We are in serious need of umpires. There are no umpires in Eckville.”
With registration closed, and with teams so full they are unable to take more players – minor baseball is looking to start out their season with a home run.
“The season will all start in the beginning of May and run until the third weekend of June,” Brown said. “There will be a wind-up in June.”
For many of the kids, this will be their first time playing real baseball.
“A lot of the kids this year are first-time players,” Brown said. “They have either played more softball or fastball but not actual baseball. We have some new kids joining and we are looking forward to having a good season. The teams should do really well this year.”