Western Canadian Baseball Championships in Innisfail this weekend
Local baseball fans can get ready to enjoy some of the best junior ball games available when the Western Canada Baseball Association Championship steps up to the plate in Innisfail this weekend.
Starting the evening of Aug. 9, the Innisfail Merchants are hosting the Junior AAA tourney at the diamonds near the Innisfail Historical Village throughout the weekend.
Joining the Merchants, who were last year’s silver-medal winners, is an additional Alberta team, two from Saskatchewan and two squads from Manitoba.
“We’re trying to really play on tradition,” said Jay Steeves, one of the Merchants’ coaches.
Steeves said they’re trying to tap into some of baseball’s great traditions including selling Cracker Jack, having an “old-school” scoreboard and a “retro-look” for the team’s uniforms.
Steeves said it’ll be a good time for kids and older baseball fans alike. They’re planning on having activities between some innings to help keep fans entertained.
There’s a family weekend pass available for $50. Those aged 65 and over get in free, as do those 10 and under. A regular day pass is $10 while a weekend pass is $20.
Coach Desmond Boutiellier said they’re hoping the community will get behind the team. He said they’ve been told normally the hosting duties go to a city, and he’s hoping Innisfail and the surrounding area can show what a small town can do.
The Merchants have been gearing up all summer for the tournament as most of them play with the Sr. Indians team. Boutiellier said while at last year’s tournament the team wasn’t sure what to expect, now with a silver-medal win behind them they know they’re competitive.
The tournament runs Aug. 9-12, with the finals starting at 2 p.m. Five of the games will be played in Red Deer at Great Chief Park. For a full schedule, check online at www.merchantsbaseball.ca.