The 18U East Central Red Sox AAA club is back on the diamond for another season. The team has been getting into playing shape and gearing up for a new season with the Saskatchewan Premier Baseball League. A soggy start in the province’s south led to a cancellation of a pair of double headers in Estevan and Regina last weekend. Now, the team awaits their home opener on May 26 at James Korte Field in Muenster. 

The team welcomes competitive players from Muenster, Humboldt, Lake Lenore and surrounding communities. With a stable core of veterans, the Red Sox will be welcoming new players aging into the 18U ranks, says Head Coach Garret Korte. 

“We have a mix of veterans and rookies on our team this year. We have seven returning players from last year’s team, and we have six rookies, so it’s a bit of a split. It’s going to be an interesting year, and I’m looking forward to it.”

Five of those rookie players are coming in from the 15U AAA East Central Dodgers program, a group that had a very successful year in 2021. The sixth rookie comes from a Prince Albert based 18U AAA team to take a slot with the Red Sox. 

For the rookies on the squad, they’ll get their first shot at 18U level competition on Wednesday, May 25 as they face the Saskatoon based Diamondbacks at Cairns Field. Korte is confident about the depth of the squad in all aspects, but acknowledges there will be an acid test at the season openers. 

“It’s always a challenge when you have a lot of rookies. You don’t know how they are going to respond. 18U is just another level, so we’re looking for a lot of those players to step up and play a large role on our team. For our seven returning players, we’re going to have to lean on those guys a bit until those rookies get caught up and a little more comfortable. I think we’re going to compete every game, and hopefully in the end, we wind up top 8 in our league and we make the provincial tournament.”

As for the vets, five of them have been active with some serious field time in the Florida sunshine. Five of the squad participated in the Jackie Robinson Developmental Camp in Vero Beach, Florida this spring. A week later four of the five headed for Kamloops a week later for the Best of the West Tournament with Team Saskatchewan. 

“We’ve had a few of our players who’ve been fairly busy,” says Korte, “But they’re back home now and they’re focused on helping the Red Sox make playoffs.”

Again, the home opener against the Saskatoon Giants is Thursday, May 26, 6:00 pm at James Korte Field, followed up by a home stand double header against the Regina Whitesox on Sunday, May 29 starting at new. Follow the Red Sox on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.