By Cole Parkinson
For Taber Times
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
The boys of summer are still out on the diamond competition in the biggest games of the summer. And that includes the Norcrest U13 team that is preparing to host Provincials from Aug. 4-6.
“It is really exciting for us to be able to host a tournament like this. It’s been a lot of work and planning but in the end, it will all come together and will be a real good tournament,” stated Dave Kimoto. “Our parent group has been awesome with the planning and getting ready for it, as well we’ve had a huge help from Dale Tillman and Rick Popadynetz who have been volunteering their time to get the diamonds at the Ken McDonald Sports Complex in great shape for us to play on.”
With the biggest games of the season on the way, the team has had their ups and downs throughout the regular season. But that’s not always a bad thing as the group has been able to overcome adversity.
“The season started a little tough for us. We started off playing ‘AA’ ball and found we were in real tough, so we’ve since dropped down to ‘A’ ball and have found our groove and are playing really good ball,” added Kimoto.
Looking up and down the roster, the coaching staff has been able to identify where each player can bring their strengths. On all sides of the ball, the team has been able to continue to get better as the season has gone along and now they’re eager to put it all on display.
“It’s been a pleasure to coach these players this summer. They are all very good ball players but they are still wanting to put in the work and learn and get better. Our hitting started off slow, but the players have put in hard work to improve and now we are a really good hitting team. The pitching has been great all year as well as the defence,” explained Kimoto.
As 11 other teams prepare to descend on Taber at the beginning of August, the team knows there will be plenty of tough teams to beat. But thanks to their late-season push, the U13 Norcrest team is confident in what they’ll bring to the diamond each day.
“As far as the year-end tournament goes, I think we will have a good tournament. There is lots of tough competition, as there will be 11 other teams in the tournament, but we are peaking at the right time, so I think we will do well,” said Kimoto.
No matter the result, the coaches, players, and parents have had a blast this season. Kimoto was happy to report that the mood around the team has been positive all season and with the season-ending soon, there is plenty of thank yous to hand out.
“I would just like to add a huge thank you to the other coaches, all the parents who have made the season fun and successful, and have put in the time and weekends for their child to play Summer Baseball, and to Dale and Rick for all the work they’ve done on the diamonds,” he added. “And a thank you to the communities for supporting us with all the donations they’ve generously given us.”
Norcrest sees the tournament kick off on Aug. 4 with an opening game against Centennial at 4 p.m. on the Ken MacDonald west diamond. The team’s second game goes on Aug. 5 at 4 p.m. against Langdon on the same diamond. The teams roster includes: George Ostrup – Grassy Lake (OF), Mya Nielsen – Grassy Lake (OF, 2nd, Pitcher), Elizabeth Ostrup – Grassy Lake (OF), Nash Stober – Hays (2nd, 3rd), Jhett Stober – Hays (SS, Pitcher, Catcher, 3rd), Mitch Kimoto – Taber (1st, Pitcher, Catcher), Kelahni Mulrooney – Brooks (Catcher, 3rd, Pitcher), Dalan Blasetti – Taber (3rd, Pitcher, Catcher), Quaid Finlayson – Enchant (SS, 2nd, Catcher), Cole Swanson – Taber (Centerfield) and Colin Friesen – Coaldale (2nd, SS, Pitcher).