It’s a baseball game where errors don’t count and the runs don’t matter. Well, they do, but the whole idea is for the kids to learn new skills and most of all, have lots of fun.
Over 100 players took part in the five-day South Okanagan Minor Baseball Association (SOMBA) Tigers Tadpole Baseball Jamboree that wrapped up Sunday.
The teams, with players aged seven to nine, came from Penticton, Summerland and Keremeos.
“At this age, it’s more about development. A lot of the kids haven’t played before and some of the kids played last year. There’s still someone who wins and loses the games but it doesn’t come down to the top two teams or anything,” said Andrea Messing, SOMBA tadpole division director. “They’re just so young, some of them are really co-ordinated—(they) can catch and throw the ball and everything—some of them are not, so it’s more about just getting out there and having fun with it, they’re so cute.”
At this level, there are no pitchers in the game but instead, a pitching machine is used to deliver the balls to the hitters.
“It was fantastic. The kids had a blast. Yesterday was a great time for all the kids and parents,” said Cole Marven, the Keremeos Padres’ coach. “The fun part is just watching them from the beginning of the year not being able to throw or catch, then to playing a game, getting their first out, getting their first hit. It’s really rewarding.”
This is the team’s second year playing in SOMBA although the core group of the team has been together since they were three or four years old.
In fact, a couple of members of the team, including Marven’s son Ryse, are only six years old and needed authorization from Baseball B.C. to move up.
Henry Scramstad is a member of the Penticton Tigers who enjoys playing back catcher and one day hopes to have the opportunity to play in the Little League World Series like his grandfather.
“I’ve been playing T-ball for three years but this is my first year playing real baseball,” said Henry. “I play mostly all positions. I like back catcher the most; I like to stand behind people and catch the ball with all the gear.”
Dale Mullins, the Penticton Blue Jays coach, admits it’s sometimes a little difficult keeping the kids focused on the games but agrees the rewards are worth it.
“They’re doing great, they’re really coming along, learning the positions and just having a great time,” he said. “It’s the enjoyment of hanging out with the kids and watching them grow.”
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