Minor baseball aspirants in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows will now get to practice year-long with a new indoor facility in place.
Ridge Meadows Minor Baseball association has put in place a new winter training facility, the Royals Baseball High Performance Training Centre at the Albion Fairgrounds in Maple Ridge, realizing a 30-year old dream for the association, said Miranda Carpenter, the vice president for administration.
“The facility is for winter training to help our athletes refine their skills during the off season. We have programs for U7-U18. Our U7-U10s are participating in an afterschool indoor baseball program. I don’t think any other municipality in BC has something like this. The kids get to play full baseball games inside!” she said.
For the U10-U18 the association is offering specialised clinics for hitting, pitching and catching and they also will have for these players both, a competitive and development stream, offering something for everyone from October until March.
“The building wasn’t getting used very much in the winter, so we made a proposal to the City of Maple Ridge a couple years ago. Thanks to the local 4H club’s extreme generosity in allowing us to share their building we were finally able to realise this dream,” she said, adding that the association had been saving up for the project for at least the past 10 years.
Support from parks and rec staff at the City of Maple Ridge and several local businesses and volunteers’ time and materials’ donation helped in putting together the facility. What took years and months of planning, took only two weeks to get the facility up and running with the volunteer efforts, said Carpenter.
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“Most other associations have a space to train in the off season, and we didn’t. We used to have to go to Langley and Poco to use their facilities. It’s really hard to build a competitive program and keep our high level players here without it. This is a real game changer for our association. To be able to offer baseball year round will really change things in our communities,” said Carpenter.
The association held an official grand opening on Oct. 30 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. People were encouraged and invited to the opening. The association required people to wear a mask and show their vaccine passports to be able to attend the event.
“Baseball has long taken the backseat in our community, being entirely volunteer run we rely on dedicated volunteers to work on our behalf to get more for our players. We currently have a strong passionate board that is dedicated to improving our association. The communities of Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows are growing and so are our registration numbers. It’s a really great time to be playing baseball in Ridge Meadows,” she said.
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