After an absence of several years, junior baseball will make a comeback in Kentville this summer.
Lyle Boylen, co-head coach of the Kentville Junior AAA Wildcats, said Kentville will field a team in the Nova Scotia Junior (U-21) League.
“It’s been a few years,” said Lyle Boylen, co-head coach of the Kentville Junior AAA Wildcats, but Kentville will field a team in the Nova Scotia Junior (U-21) League. The number of players graduating from the midget team prompted the change. Up until this year, graduating midget players had no local outlet at the junior level.
Some players from the Kentville midget team that won provincials in 2012, who didn’t play ball last year, have expressed an interest to rejoin the mix. These players, Boylen said, would be second-year juniors.
Boylen and co-head coach Derek Atwater already have 13 players committed right now.
“We’d like a few more, but we almost have enough now to field a team,” he said, adding that 14 or 15 players are required.
“(It’s) a process. There are other players who have expressed an interest, but there has to be a firm commitment.”
The Junior Wildcats will be affiliating with a new midget AAA team being formed through an amalgamation of Kentville and Bridgewater.
“They’ll be called West Nova Midget AAA,” he said. Because there were not quite enough players in either place to form a full team, this is the only way to play this year.
Once the West Nova players graduate from midget, Boylen said, they will come to the junior team.
“There’s a bit of a gap right now in our association in terms of player numbers in the midget division,” he said. “There are players coming up, so we should be OK in a couple of years.”
The new team will not, however, be affiliated with the senior Wildcats this season. The senior team is already affiliated with Tri-County.
As of April 23, players already confirmed included Christian Vogler, Seamus Lewin, Wes Harding, Bradley Fuller, Mike Boylen, Nick Tibert, Ethan Lang, Ryan Kaulback, Dryden Schofield, Brandon Croft, Jeff Longaphy and Shodai Fushino, a Japanese exchange student attending Central Kings.
“There are a couple of others we’re looking at,” Boylen added, as well as a couple of players who have yet to make up their minds about playing this season.
The provincial junior league would consist of seven teams this season.
“Last year, there were only three (Halifax, Dartmouth and Tri-County), but this year Cape Breton is in, Hantsport is in, and the Nova Scotia Youth Selects (the provincial U-17 team) will also be playing. It should be a fairly strong seven-team league,” Boylen said.
The league schedule has been released, with Kentville’s season opener set for May 22 at Tri-County. The home opener is May 25, when the Wildcats will play a doubleheader against Cape Breton.
“Our home games will be played on Sundays,” Boylen said, with doubleheaders scheduled for a lot of the dates.
A national elimination tournament will be held in late July, from which two teams will advance to junior nationals in Dartmouth this August.
Kentville, Boylen said, is also hoping to host either provincials or the national elimination tournament.