Oceanside Minor Softball rep teams are now allowed to hold practices and drills at the Parksville Community Park diamonds. (Michael Briones photo)

Play ball: Players return to diamonds in Parksville Qualicum Beach

Local organizations given the green light to conduct practices

Play ball!

That’s the news some sports organizations in Parksville Qualicum Beach have been waiting to hear, after three months of no activity due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Oceanside Minor Softball, Oceanside Minor Baseball and the Parksville Royals got the green light to return to the fields, though only for practice sessions at this time.

Sarah Kroeker, president of Oceanside Minor Softball, said they are looking forward to playing now. The fields were re-opened last weekend by the Regional District of Nanaimo, the City of Parksville and the Town of Qualicum Beach.

Minor softball had already cancelled its house league and but to compensate for the loss, there’s a plan to hold a low-cost development nights every Tuesday and Thursday for five to six weeks for players aged 10 to 16.

“There was a lot of disappointed players in the house league,” said Kroeker. “We usually have about 110 kids that play in our house program. So that’s a lot of kids that missed out on the season.”

OMS U14, U16, and U19 rep teams will resume honing their skills on the fields but under strict protocols that everyone is required to adhere to.

“We will be practising in a social distancing way,” said Kroeker. “We have a pretty tight guideline, I think it’s a 70-page document from Softball BC on what we have to follow and what are practices would look like while we’re out there.”

Kroeker said they’ve also submitted Oceanside Minor Softball’s own measures to local government, aiming to keep people safe while playing.

“We’re really confident,” said Kroeker. “We’ve got a sanitation person, a distance monitor and attendance tracker. We can’t have more than 50 people on the field so we’re going to have staggered start times. It will be practices for now and hopefully moving on to scrimmage with adjusted rules.”

Kroeker said everyone needs to strictly follow the guidelines if they want to continue playing.

“The onus is put back on us to do a good job,” said Kroeker. “If we don’t do a good job then our bookings get retracted.”

Royals eager to be back on diamond

The Parksville Royals have been itching to get back on the diamond as well. They held their first practice session on Saturday, June 27 at Springwood Park.

“We have our safety plan submitted and approved by the City of Parksville,” said Mike Parlow, Royals general manager. “We’re under Phase 2 which means interaction is restricted. We’re not allowed to play games yet. It’s practice and drills only but hopefully things will progress and everybody will stay safe that at some point games will be allowed.”

The Royals play in the BC Premier Baseball League. Parlow said they’re hoping it won’t be cancelled.

“It will depend on how things progress,” said Parlow. “We have very tentative plans for league plays starting in September.”

There’s a lot of disappointed players and parents who were wondering when baseball would be coming back.

“For our lot of our Grade 12s, this is their last year to impress scouts and colleges and they haven’t had the opportunity to do so,” said Parlow. “Some already made plans and some kids took jobs. So now everyone is trying to readjust their schedules to get back.”

Minor baseball open registration

Oceanside Minor Baseball will be back on the fields as well.

They got their Return to Sport COVID-19 Safety Plan guidelines that was submitted to health authorities approved and is now taking registration for a six-week session that will be different from the regular season of games.

At this time registration is open to: Tadpole (players born 2011-12; Mosquito (players porn 2009-10; and Peewee (players born 2007-08).

For more information, visit the organization’s website at www.oceansidebaseball.ca.

BaseballBC Premier Baseball LeagueParksvillequalicum beachSoftball

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