Minor ball teams are once again playing in Bentley and the ball diamonds have been busy. There has been no organized minor ball in Bentley for many years. One estimate was for as long as 20 years or more.
This year there were three teams of Bentley Blue Jays” as they are all called – the Mosquitoes (7-9 year olds), the Pee Wees (10-13 year olds) and a U-16 girls softball team, who all played on the town’s big west ball diamonds.
The Mosquitoes and Pee Wees were registered with Baseball Alberta and were involved in travelling leagues that played against teams from places such as Rocky, Spruceview, Eckville, Rimbey, Drayton Valley and Sylvan Lake.
There was also a team of Rally Caps for the four to seven year olds. They didn’t play in the travelling league but were practicing the basics at the high school diamond.
The girls U-16 softball team was registered with Softball Canada. They played league games and two tournaments. A highlight for the girl’s team was not placing second, but was winning the Fair Play Award from amongst 28 teams when they attended the Serenity Landry Memorial Tournament in Edmonton.
“The majority of the children have never played ball, so all accomplishments, both wins and losses, attendance at away games, and sportsmanship are commended and appreciated,” said Alexis Screpnek, Bentley Minor Ball president.
Initial organizers were very pleased with the interest shown and the number who registered back in early March. A total of 56 children registered with BMB. An executive was established and they registered their teams with Baseball Alberta and Softball Canada.
New equipment including bats, balls, back-catcher gear, bases and team uniforms were purchased with help from generous donors that included Crossfire Directional Drilling, TR Transport Inc., Team Works Fabricating Ltd., Servus Credit Union, ATB Financial, Sun Haven RV & Boat Storage, Hunter Hydro Vac Inc., and Signs and Custom Design of Lacombe about whom Screpnek said “were just doing it for the kids, to see them outside playing and having fun, and having the (Bentley) diamonds used.”
She added “The Town of Bentley has been very accommodating with mowing the ball diamonds, allowing BMB to use the shed at the north end of the arena to store field equipment, and for letting BMB lock the gates to the fields to minimize maintenance.”
The Bentley executive is president Alexis Screpnek, vice-president Karen Jaffray, registrar/secretary Debbie Gerrits, treasurer Joanne Varga, and director Erin Vert.
Bentley umpires for the Mosquito and Pee Wee games were Caleb Johnson, Josh Johnson, Mr. Allen Elliot and Derrick Hislop. Umpires from the Red Deer Softball Umpire Association travelled to Bentley to ump the softball games.
All volunteers including coaches, managers, assistant coaches, and everyone who helped with scorekeeping, keeping track of equipment, driving, and even doing the diamond leveling and chalking and line marking deserve kudos.
The season for BMB officially ended at the end of June with league playoffs.
As a fundraiser Bentley Minor Ball will host the pancake breakfast on the Thursday morning of the Bentley Fair & Rodeo August 7 to raise money which may go towards a batting cage or a ball pitcher machine.