Enrolment is up for Ponoka Minor Baseball (PMB) and president Mandy Hansen hopes to keep the momentum going with some simple strategies.
Last year the club had a float in the Ponoka Stampede parade and passed out pamphlets, players also received their own shirts. “If our numbers stay up and keep coming we’re going to have five teams.”
The challenge she faces is managing teams’ practice schedules. Hansen is considering what to do in the future as well since the club had 24 learn-to-play registrations.
“I know our learn-to-play was just awesome,” she explained. “That’s two teams.”
With a registration of only $40, Hansen feels PMB offers a reasonable price for parents and uniforms are all supplied by the club. Despite the growth PMB did lose their midget team due to low registration of older players but Hansen is not too worried as there are more younger players than in previous years.
“We have two teams of mites this year, that’s up from last year,” she said.
Hansen is also grateful to the Town of Ponoka for bringing porta-potties to the ball diamonds and for working closely with the club to meet their needs. Some of the teams are training and others have already played a few games.
The mites played in Wetaskiwin recently and lost a close game 16-15 but the goal for some teams is to perform well. “Our older mites are trying to go to provincials.”
She feels Ponoka offers a great program for young players and has kept a small town atmosphere for parents and kids. “It’s fun. We’re one of the only small towns left that don’t do tryouts. Anybody can play.”
“These kids learn fast,” she added.
Hansen has been seeking support for the development of a fieldhouse or maybe even a multi-use building such as in larger cities where baseball, swimming, soccer and other sports activities could be held. She realizes the cost to operate a building of that size can be expensive but also feels kids can get better if they have a chance to practice throughout the year.
In the meantime the club is going to have a float in this year’s parade.
“We’ll see what the parade can do this year and we have to support our Big Brothers Big Sisters,” said Hansen, referring to this year’s parade theme.
The squirts are heading to Lacombe for a tournament May 24 and both the squirts and mites will compete at Innisfail June 14 for a tournament.