The boys and girls of summer are back for another exciting baseball season. Indoor preparations have been under way for some time. Now that the snow has gone and the diamonds are greening up, it’s time to catch up with three local teams as they embark on the season’s schedule. 

Derek Rude heads up the coaching staff for the 15U East Central Dodgers AAA team. The team plays out of Muenster and Humboldt in the Sask Premier Baseball League. 

“We’re a much older team this year, so we should be pretty strong,” offers Rude. “We should be pretty competitive in the province wide league.”

With six returning players, six additions from last year's 15U AA team and a single new squad member aging in, the team is poised to show strength and knowhow at the plate, says Rude. 

“We’ve got quite a bit of pitching depth as well, and that should bode well for a busy season. We’re playing a few more games in the league, so definitely the extra depth will help.”

Meanwhile, the 15U Humboldt Dodgers AA squad is on the younger side this year, says their head coach Brett Suchan.

“They are mostly players born in 2009, so they are relatively young, moving up from the 13U to 15U play. We have about 19 kids in total with 14 going to tournaments and provincials.”

Much of the team’s play will be provincial although not part of a formalized league. There are tournaments on the books, so players will see plenty of action in their new age division. One of the transitions will be to using wood bats, Suchan explains. 

“There’s definitely a learning curve there. Once you get your first hit with a wood bat, it’s your first real hit. I remember mine,” Suchan laughs.

Finally, the 18U East Central Red Sox AAA team gets their official start this weekend as they travel to Swift Current. The home opener for the 18U AAA Red Sox is on Wednesday, May 17 at James Korte Field in Muenster against the Saskatoon Giants. 

Head Coach Garret Korte characterizes the 2023 squad as a nice blend of players.

“We have two first year players, seven second years and three graduating players so we’ve got a good mix, and we’re looking forward to the season.”

As teams in the league go through their own renewals with players flowing through, each season’s new start yields some surprises, says Korte. The Red Sox are looking to be competitive throughout the regular campaign and hit their stride deeper on heading toward provincial playoffs. 

“We’re going to be fairly balanced, to be honest. We’re going to pitch well - it’s going to be a strength of our team. Both offensively and defensively we’re going to be fine.”

Their season runs to the end of July with playoffs beginning shortly after.

Teams from all three clubs are composed of players from Humboldt, Muenster and surrounding communities like Annaheim, Lake Lenore, Bruno, Lanigan and Watrous, among others.

This year, fans can follow the 15U AAA Dodgers and the 18U AAA Red Sox on Game Changer, the mobile app that’s available for iOS and Android devices from their online sales outlets. The Red Sox games will be livestreamed along with the real time box score updates. 

As always, the live experience on a sunny afternoon can’t be beat, so get out and watch the best in local youth baseball.