With the easing of COVID-19 health restrictions, Cochrane Crush minor ball teams are poised to return to the diamonds this weekend to play their first games of the season.
While they are awaiting final word from the province, all of their Little League minor and major teams, as well as their U13AAA and U15AA Baseball Alberta teams, have games scheduled.
The minor and major teams are playing in town and the Baseball Alberta teams are on the road.
"I think all the kids are excited to get out, get back to some kind of normalcy, have some fun out there, and hang out with their buddies," says Cochrane Minor Ball (CMB) president Corey O'How, who is also the coach of the U13AAA team.
Previous to this, some of their younger divisions returned played in groups of 10 or less last week.
Through it all, O'How says their membership has been amazingly supportive. When players in their youngest division, Blast Ball, took to the field last weekend, he says you could feel the excitement in the air.
"Just seeing all the people out there again, and all these little kids running around the bases was exciting, and a lot of fun to see."
Teams across the region are in various states of readiness. While CMB was fully prepared, some took a wait-and-see approach and had not yet formed teams.
No schedule was prepared for the junior and senior teams. Instead, the Cochrane teams will be playing a series of exhibition games against teams like Canmore until the end of June.
A season is being put together for teams in the Calgary region from late June through July. O'How says they are looking at their options for players who want to play ball in the minor and major age groups.
Summer ball is traditionally played in July but has been pushed back to August
"Right now, we're sending surveys out to parents to try to gauge interest in how many kids we'd have in July and August, and next week we'll start putting together a registration program together for those seasons."