The Nelson Minor Baseball Association recently completed another successful season, as 130 boys and girls from ages four to 18 spent two months, April through June, fielding, running throwing and hitting on local and regional diamonds.
The t-ball and rookie leagues each fielded two teams primarily focused on fun and learning through an introduction to competitive baseball under the tutelage of a group of volunteer parents and coaches.
In the minor (11 and under) and major (13 and under) leagues, Nelson teams continued a recent trend of fielding teams able to compete with the traditional regional powerhouses in Trail, Castlegar, and Fruitvale.
At the minor level, the Nelson Pirates advanced deep into the playoffs behind the play of Brady Stocks, Ryan Durocher and Rowan Nickason, falling just short to the defending champion, Trail Mariners.
Perhaps more importantly, coach Greg Kreutz credited his players as a group that “learned to win with humility and lose with pride.” The Nelson Tigers also enjoyed a successful season, with notable performances by Drake Proctor and Brady Augustin.
At the major level, the league saw a level of parity that put six of the eight teams credibly in the championship hunt.
The Nelson Angels, led by regional all-stars Koa Wintraub and Kelton Forte, won or tied 13 of their 18 games going into the playoff weekend before a first-round elimination, falling to eventual champions, the Castlegar Cubs, by one run, 8-7.
The Nelson Giants nearly avenged that loss, storming through the round robin round, beating the Beaver Valley Yankees in a thrilling semi-final 8-7 come-from-behind win, but coming up short against Castlegar in the championship final in a 5-4 nail-biter.
The Giants were paced by the pitching and hitting of Bryce Sookro, Noah Quinn, Tayten Dewar and Nolan Dergousoff. Catcher Tenzin Mint anchored the team behind the plate and Lucas Faehndrich added stellar defence in the field. Coach Kevin Dewar was thrilled with the manner in which his team competed, noting clutch hitting from the team’s lower end of the lineup as a key to the team’s playoff success.
The senior league saw two teams of local teenagers, ages 18 and under, exhibit competitiveness within the West Kootenay.
Newly appointed Nelson Baseball president David Gray expressed his happiness with the season, noting in particular “the development of a group of young local umpires,” and “the commitment of volunteer coaches to developing skilled, smart baseball players, while keeping the emphasis on fun and sportsmanship during a busy, high-energy couple of months.”
Parents interested in involving their children with Nelson Baseball are encouraged to keep an eye on nelsonbaseball.ca for announcements regarding recreational fall ball and winter skills development.