There’s a changing of the guard at the Ridge Meadows Minor Baseball Association, as long-time coach and volunteer Gord Easton takes over for outgoing president Mark Kauhane.
Easton said he hopes to continue growing the local association, which has more than 750 members and is one of the larger minor baseball organizations in the province.
“We want to make the sport available and accessible for all kids,” he said.
One way of doing that is by offering elite-level programs at all age levels. The association’s bantam AAA team returned last season after a one-year hiatus, and both Kauhane and Easton say they’re eager to see the association expand into the elite Premier Baseball League.
“We are positioned in between some long-standing franchises, so we are going to need some help convincing them [we should have a team],” Kauhane said.
The association has previously been denied a junior PBL franchise.
Kauhane stepped down last month after seven years as president of the RMMBA to instead run for Maple Ridge council. Kauhane said the RMMBA’s plan to build a new baseball park at Hammond Park is one he will help see to fruition should he get elected to council.
The association originally envisioned a 5,000-seat $9 million baseball stadium, but scaled down the proposal after losing out on grant funding in 2008, instead opting for a 300-seat, $2 million park.
“We don’t have a signature sports facility here in Maple Ridge, and Hammond Stadium could be that,” Kauhane said. “It would attract business through bigger tournaments, marketing. It puts us on the map.”
Easton said an indoor training facility is also on the RMMBA’s wish list.
• RMMBA is currently recruiting volunteers and coaches for next season. For more information, visit www.rmbaseball.bc.ca.