Another successful season for Sooke Minor Fastball has come to a close but for the organization’s president, Justin Wilson, the work of supporting and promoting the game will continue.
“We had a great season and the kids had a really great time out there,” said Wilson.
“Our oldest team, the U16 girls, won the [district] championship. With head coach Brent Sluggett, they headed off to Quesnel and they were just great.”
Wilson explained that the team did a tremendous amount of fundraising to fund their trip and competition, but in the end, it was all worth it for the U16 Sooke Stealers.
The league’s second-oldest team, the Sooke Sliders, also had a stellar season, just missing out on their own trip to Provincials but did manage to capture bronze at a tournament held here in Sooke.
Two of the U14 players, pitcher, Shelby Wilson and shortstop, Elyse Perman, were also invited to join with the Duncan team at the Provincial championship, so Sooke was at least partially represented at the event.
”For me, the real measure of our success is how much fun the kids had and how many come back to play next year,” said Wilson.
“We want the kids active and playing outside and off their devices, and I think we do a pretty good job of making that happen. It’s a great, inexpensive sport for the kids and I think we’ll have almost all of our players return next season as well as a bunch of new players as well.”
Fastball in Sooke got a boost this year as a result of the generosity of the CRD, the District, the Sooke Community Association and the fastball league itself. Together these groups put together $25,000 to improve diamond #1 by digging out the base paths and installing drainage and a proper infield material.
“Before we did that work, it was like the kids were sliding into their bases on a surface that was like the Galloping Goose Trail. Not really good,” said Wilson.
This off-season will see Wilson back out on the fundraising trail in hopes of improving diamond #2 at Art Morris Park as well as placing an electronic scoreboard in Diamond #1 at the same location.
Sooke Minor Fastball fields about 13 teams annually with 155 players in all.