Ridge Meadows Minor Baseball has the bantam coach of the year for B.C. Minor Baseball, and the man who won the honour, Jason Boldt, said the association is on an upswing.
Boldt played his minor ball in Ridge, and went on to have a standout college career.
He sees an association today where players should be able to reach their full potential.
“We’re at a point where we’ve got competitive teams at every level,” said Boldt.
That means local ball players are able to stay and play in their home town, rather than pursue their baseball goals in other cities.
He did two years of junior college ball at Spokane Falls in Washington State, then transferred to Huntingdon University in Indiana.
Boldt was converted from an outfielder to a catcher and was a NAIA All American in his junior year. He set the school record for doubles in a season that still stands. He also set two other records, but those have since been beaten.
Four years ago, he started coaching, and kids appreciate his down-to-business approach. He has assistants in Mike Ferguson, Spencer Stewart and recent Royals graduate Brett Hoogstins, who all take it as seriously as he does.
“We ask for commitments from players and parents,” he said. “You respect the game, and respect the logo on your sweater.”
He said there is pride in Ridge baseball.
“Maple Ridge has always been a well-known association, and a competitive association.”
Boldt noted that another association coach, Mackenzie Whitford, won a B.C. coaching award in 2016 season, showing there are good bench bosses in the group.
The Boldt announcement came well after the season, on the verge of a new one, because B.C. Baseball combined the award with a coaching event.
Boldt was at a three-day B.C. Baseball Coaches Conference last month, taking stock of new drills and approaches. The taking part had a Saturday luncheon, and he was announced as coach of the year. He was given notice so that his wife, daughter and parents could all be there to share the moment. But when he heard it, it was a surprise and an honour.
The coach of the year expects his bantam triple-A team to be among the best this year.
“We have eight returnees who played significant roles and time at the triple A level last year,” he said.
They were on a team that won the regular season at the Tier 2 level, and then in the provincial tournament lost in the semi-finals 1-0 to Delta.
Ridge will be hosting the under-15 triple A provincials this summer at Pitt Meadows Athletic Park.