The Estevan Sherritt Coal Haulers and TS&M Tornados are about to begin their respective baseball seasons.
While the bantam Haulers and peewee Tornados are back for another year, there will be no mosquito AA team in Estevan this season.
Estevan Minor Baseball president Kent Phillips said there weren’t enough players interested to field a mosquito squad.
“I don’t know if it’s just a lull in that age or what,” said Phillips. “There aren’t enough interested in playing AA.”
He said he’s hoping a provincial team might still be put together.
Here’s a look at Estevan’s bantam and peewee teams, which will again compete in Baseball Regina’s AAA divisions.
TEAM/DIVISION: Estevan Sherritt Coal Haulers, bantam
COACH: Kent Phillips
LAST YEAR: Lost to Weyburn in the semifinal of the provincial AA championship. Posted a 7-7-1 record in league play.
KEY DATES: May 10, season opener in Carlyle; May 13, home opener doubleheader against Moose Jaw (1 and 4 p.m.); July 8, season-ending doubleheader at Regina Pacers; July 20-22, provincial bantam AA championship, location TBD.
PERSONNEL: Five players are back from last year’s squad, with about half the team having been lost to graduation.
NEED TO KNOW: A trio of returnees and a newcomer to the team will be expected to help the Haulers compete this year.
Phillips said second-years Colton Gingras, Mitchell Clark and Jesse Mack will be part of the backbone of the team.
“I’m going to lean pretty heavy on (them) for their leadership this year,” he said.
The team’s best player could be Brandon Hutt, who is from Tribune, and has played in Weyburn in the past.
The Haulers have also added three players from Lampman who could make a difference in the team’s fortunes.
“I think defensively, we should be fine. Hitting, I’m not sure yet,” said Phillips.
“From what I’ve seen so far, defensively, we look OK. The boys can field the ball in the infield and outfield. I’m pretty excited about that.”
TEAM/DIVISION: Estevan TS&M Tornados, peewee
COACHES: Landon Lafrentz, Brendan Phillips, Mike Little.
LAST YEAR: Lost to Swift Current in the semifinal of the provincial AA championship.
KEY DATES: May 5, season-opening doubleheader at Regina Pacers; May 13, home-opening doubleheader against Melville (1 and 4 p.m.); July 7, season-ending doubleheader at home against Swift Current; July 20-22, provincial peewee AA championship, location TBD.
PERSONNEL: The Tornados have five players returning from 2011 and lost seven members of last year’s team.
NEED TO KNOW: The pillars of this year’s club will likely be on the mound and in the field, according to coach Brendan Phillips.
“Our main strength will probably be our defensive game. We have a lot of pitchers and our infield seems pretty tight,” said Phillips, who added that centre field is also a position of strength.
“Our pitching is pretty good. All five of them are coming back from last year.”
The outlook isn’t as good at the plate, but Phillips said he’s optimistic that will change.
“There’s a lot of room for improvement, but these kids are here to learn and it seems like they can catch on to things pretty quick.”
He said the five returning players will need to step up on and off the field for the Tornados to make some noise this season.
“I hope for those guys to become the leaders of the team and lead by example for the guys who have never played AA before,” said Phillips.