Those in search of a fun-filled weekend of sports, hotdogs and sunshine, well, good news: Sooke will play host to the Sooke Minor Fastball Provincial Championships starting Friday (July 10), at Art Morris Park and will run all the way until Sunday afternoon.
The winning team will head off to the Western Canadian Championships in Regina, Sask., on July 29.
Two boys fastball divisions – U12 and U16 Boys – will be going head-to–head for a chance to get the gold.
The U16 has a Rep and a C division. In total, there are 10 teams: four U12 and six U16 teams coming from all over the province.
The tournament starts on Friday at 9 a.m. and will run throughout the weekend. On Sunday, all three finals for all three divisions will be at 1 p.m.
The opening ceremony will be at 1 p.m. on Friday, along with a banquet at 6 p.m.
Throughout the championships, U12’s all play at Art Morris, while U16’s will be on diamond one or at Stan Jones (at SEAPARC) throughout the weekend. All the finals will be held at Art Morris, however. There will be available parking at Art Morris, and at Journey.
And it’s not just come in, face off, and leave, no, no, this is going to be a fun experience to remember for the 400 or so visitors from across the province, said Sheryl Friesen, lead hand and central organizer of the event, adding that there will be other games and activities in-between matches to keep everyone happy and entertained.
“There’s a skills competition from 1 until 4 p.m. on Saturday for the kids to come participate in, including a human hamster ball where the kids are going to do the fastest race around the bases in a hamster ball,” she said.
This will take place at the Journey School field right across Art Morris Park.
Friesen said she hopes little perks here and there this time will make Sooke’s hospitality stand out from past fastball provincial tournaments held in big cities and other small towns.
“What we’re trying to do is promote is Sooke and Sooke’s hospitality,” she said. “We’ve added so many extra things to our provincials that have never been done before, such as every team is going to have its own host, so they’ll have a contact they can personally call for directions, where to pick stuff up, and so on.” She added that every team will start with its own cooler of water as well.
“It’s a huge celebration of boys fastball, of Sooke’s tradition of putting fastball out there for other communities to come and enjoy our beautiful park,” said Chris Bryant, president, Sooke Minor Fastball.
“The level of volunteerism is out of this world, as far as people contributing, from park cleanup, to assisting with park operations, score keepers, it’s huge.”
Friesen said that given the large influx of people expected this weekend, she’s still looking for at least 10 more volunteers to help out with small duties around the park throughout the duration of the event this weekend.
“We’re still looking for people to fill some minor positions, it really takes an army to do this,” she said, noting that many of the parents have had no other choice but to volunteer to do those tasks instead of watching their kids play.
Still, Friesen remains positive the help will come through, one way or another. After all, it’s not every day Sooke is home to an epic provincial championship.
“We want to show that Sooke is a good community that supports their youth and their community members, and that’s exactly what we’ll do,” she said.