Softball starts Sunday, baseball begins early June
Fans and players wont have to wait much longer for local softball and baseball leagues to hit the field.
The St. Johns Molson Senior Mens Softball League expects to kick off the 2007 campaign with two games Sunday (3 and 3 p.m., Lions Park) while the intermediate league is scheduled to start with a pair of games Monday (6:15 and 8:15 p.m., Lions Park).
The senior circuit starts the 2007 season with six teams, with Roebothan McKay Marshall, Impact Signs, Kellys Pub Junior Canadians (last years Canadian junior champs), Labatt Grumpy Stump and the defending league champions North Atlantic Marine all returning from last year. The new team in town is Iceberg Rum, a club that played in the intermediate loop in 2006 and is making the jump to senior this summer.
Theyve added Jason Hill and Steve Mullaley to their roster. Theyve strengthened their team a bit, said Bill Barron, long-time secretary-treasurer of the St. Johns senior and junior/intermediate leagues.
The senior league, in its 51st year, will have a 20-game schedule, with all six clubs making the playoffs. The top two regular season teams receive a first-round bye while the four remaining clubs meet in the quarter-finals. The semifinals and finals will be decided with a best-of-five format.
Grumpy Stump and Kellys meet 3 p.m, Sunday. North Atlantic and RMM are set to clash at 5 p.m.
The intermediate softball league has seven teams on board, but two more clubs could join by the time the season starts Monday.
C.B.S., Islander RV/Molson, Goulds, Torbay Tappers Ultramar, Avalon Midget Selects, Ship-It Express (formerly Bay Roberts Rovers) and defending champs C.B.C. Junior Canadians return from last year, while Placentia and Coastal Marine have yet to announce if theyll field teams..
Its not because of a player shortage, Barron said of the two teams. Its an organization issue.
The intermediate league will also play a 20-game schedule, with every team making the playoffs. The top regular-season team will likely receive a first-round bye, while the other clubs play best-of-three quarter-finals. The semifinals will also be best-of-three affairs, but the final will be decided with a best-of-five series.
Senior and intermediate baseball returns to St. Pats Ball Park in early June, most likely between June 4 and 9, according to St. Johns Amateur Baseball Association president Bernie Davis.
The biggest change in senior ball is the addition of two Mount Pearl teams, the Knights and the Storm. This gives the league six teams fighting for four playoff spots.
Thats the main reason for doing this, he said. Its going to make every game count in the regular season.
Gonzaga Vikings, Guards, Holy Cross and reigning champs Shamrocks return to join the Storm and Knights in a 25-game regular season. The playoffs feature a pair of best-of-five semifinals and a best-of-seven championship series.
Davis hopes the opening game of the 2007 campaign will feature Shamrocks and Knights, the 2006 Mount Pearl league champions.
The St. Johns senior league is celebrating its 60th anniversary this summer and Davis said plans are to have players who took part in the opening game in 1947 be on hand for opening day of the 2007 season.
Following the softball trend, the St. Johns junior league has been replaced by a new intermediate league, with players bantam age and up filling out the rosters.
The league is expected to feature several players with senior ball experience, as well as young athletes working their way toward the senior level. There was an open workout Monday in St. Johns, with close to 25 players taking part.
A lot of talented ball players showed up, Davis said.
Gonzaga, Holy Cross, Shamrocks and Guards (who won the last three junior league titles) will play a 24-game schedule, will all four clubs making the playoffs. The post-season consists of two best-of-five semifinals and a best-of-seven series in the final.
Both the senior and intermediate baseball leagues expect to wrap up the 2007 season in mid-October, while the senior and intermediate softball circuits will end their seasons in mid-September.