Devons no longer

Katie Brickman
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Midget AAA team can’t field enough players

There will be no midget AAA baseball in Moose Jaw this summer.

Dylan Pisio (3) of the Moose Jaw Devons is congraulated by his teammates after hitting a two-run double and then scoring on a passed ball in the first inning in their 5-4 win over the Swift Current Indians last season in Sask. Premier Midget AAA Baseball League action at Ross Wells Park. Times-Herald photo by Katie Brickman

The Moose Jaw Devons were already on the league schedule, but declining numbers have forced the team out of the Saskatchewan Premier Midget AAA Baseball League (SPBL).

“They didn’t have enough players to field a team,” stated Charlie Meacher, league president. “I’m not sure exactly what went wrong or what caused it, but they had 12 players and then a couple quit. All of the sudden, they couldn’t find anymore and there just weren’t enough to play.”

The Devons held tryouts approximately two months after the season ended at YaraCentre and had 12 kids show up. Two weeks ago, a schedule of practices was sent out to those kids and three of the kids said they were no longer playing.

“I had the schedule done with them in it. So, it has already been redone and out there again,” stated Meacher.  “It was probably three times as difficult to change the schedule than to make one up in the first place.”

Meacher isn’t exactly sure of the reason behind the declining numbers of baseball players in Moose Jaw, but there has been a trend in the last couple of years.

“It was pretty surprising that we have gone where we were 10 years ago to where we are today,” he said. “Certainly, numbers were declining. We switched from two teams to one and we were still bringing in players from other centres to field a competitive AAA team. Obviously, the numbers are declining and I believe Little League has declining numbers too. There are just not enough younger kids coming up to play at this level.”

As league president, Meacher also gets to oversee the other teams in the SPBL and doesn’t feel there is this issue elsewhere, which is what he finds the most alarming.

“Other centres are still fielding teams and we are not. It is a little disturbing that for some reason it is happening here and not necessarily happening there or not to the same degree in other centres,” Meacher said.

Meacher has spoken with Moose Jaw Baseball board members about what will happen with the midget AAA program here in the Friendly City. Jamey Logan, vice president of Moose Jaw Baseball told him they are going to try and field a team again next year.

“Given what is out there, it is always difficult once you get out of a program, once you stop running a program like that, it is definitely hard to get it up again. Moose Jaw Baseball certainly has intentions to restart this AAA program again next year,” said Meacher. “I certainly hope it is only a one year thing.”

It was difficult to see this happen for Meacher as the league has actually expanded this season to include one more team and another team full time next season.

“From the league point-of-view, we expanded this year to one more AAA team out of Lloydminster. Our league was going to grow. Next year, Swift Current, who has been playing in our AAA league, but going down provincially to AA has said that next year, they are going to stay in the AAA and be AAA provincially,” he stated. “So, it is a little bit disturbing that we gain one and lose one. We are always looking to grow and not shrink.”

For the players that signed up and were expecting to play with the Devons this season will now play with the AA Canucks.

“I heard mention of four names for sure that are going to go down and play with the Canucks. Five of the kids that were going to play weren’t even from Moose Jaw, so those kids have gone back to their respective centres,” said Meacher.

Follow me on Twitter @katiebrickman.

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