July will be a busy month at the Unity ball diamonds as three provincial championship series will be staged
UNITY – Unity’s ballpark is the envy of many. Unity’s reputation for hosting diamond events is well respected. Organizers and volunteers aim to set the bar high each year to provide players and fans with a better experience. Unit ball teams in baseball and softball have been recognized as top contenders each year in the provincial playoffs.
The month of July will see several provincial events on local grounds, providing ball fans with a number of opportunities to cheer on their favorite teams or favorite players. Teams always enjoy home-court advantage when vying for a provincial title, so fans in the stands are a welcome addition at the height of their season in hopes of winning a provincial championship.
Softball will be the first action on the courts, with the U19 Unity Panthers hosting the BW Provincial Championships where the winning team earns a berth at the Western Canadian Championships to be held in British Columbia in August.
The pandemic and age category changes initiated by Softball Canada have put a damper on what was once known as midget division ball. Coach Kurt Elder said: “Across the province, between three divisions of provincial events offered, there are only seven U19 teams competing.”
Former players and coaches have noted that this is very different from championship events which previously included pool games to allow a dozen to two dozen teams to compete in one weekend for a provincial title.
Nevertheless, the Unity Panthers are ready. They have seen success in the GPLS events, games and tournaments they have entered during their season. A combination of experience and chemistry set the tone for the team’s success.
Panthers of Unity will host a two-team event against the Battleford Bandits on July 9 and 10. While it won’t be the full-scale hype that other provincial softball events have experienced at Unity, the organizing committee will ensure that everyone on the courts will see top-notch softball play.
The Unity Panthers squad includes coaches Denelle L’Heureux, Garan Rewerts, Kurt Elder, Doug Rutley and Pat Risling. The team athletes are: Amy Deck, Jayie Myszczyszyn, Ayranna L’Heureux, Alexis Elder, Addison Rewerts, Abby Rutley, Paige Schultz, Devyn McLean, Makayla Bakken, Amy Gruber, Kalin Harrabek.
The action begins at 11 a.m. on June 9 and will continue again with games at 1:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. If necessary, teams will continue on June 10 at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. until a winner is determined. be determined in the best of five series.
The following weekend, it’s baseball’s turn to host.
The 11U Cardinals will host an 8-team event in the AA category, Tier 2 C, from July 15 to 17
Coach, Graeme Gieni, says, “Our team consists mostly of 11U third-year players with a sprinkle of second-year players. We are hosting an 8 team tournament this year at Tier 2. No schedule has been set yet, but we will be looking for community volunteers to help with score keeping and pitch counting throughout the weekend. “
Provincial weekend will include Esterhazy Cyclones, Yorkton Cardinals, Muenster Red Sox, Saskatchewan. Five Giant Bombers, Saskatoon Brave Bandits, Maidstone Lakers and Meadow Lake Sox.
The Hometown Cardinals list includes coaches: Graeme Gieni, Cory Hoffman, Shaun O’Brian, Derek Close. Athletes: Van Gieni, Ryden Hoffman, Dryden O’Brian, Svar Patel, Reid Kiefer, Blake Lewis, Beckett Petovello, Madden Duncan, Liam Close, Kace McCrea, Kody Walz.
A second Unity 11U team will travel to Shellbrook for their respective Provincial Championships. The two provincial Unity 11U Cardinals baseball teams were chosen from three-team 11U league tryouts.
Last but not least, the Unit Junior Cardinals will play in a best-of-five series at the Cards Diamond on July 22-23 for a chance to win a provincial title. The draw and teams have yet to be released.
Host committees encourage people to place fans in the stands to help cheer on local teams in their respective provincial quests.