By Kevin Miller
With the first signs of spring come the cracks of bats, the smack of balls in gloves and the cheers of proud parents watching their kids run the bases in Ottawa’s oldest Little League.
The Glebe Little League has been in continuous operation since 1954, only three years after Little League expanded out of the U.S.A. in 1951.
This year, however, the Glebe league’s boundaries have grown, and with them, an influx of players from Sandy Hill will join Centretown’s regular contingent of players.
The Ottawa area lost two leagues this year with the closing of the Canterbury and Vanier leagues. The Vanier league will have its area split between the Glebe and Gloucester leagues, increasing the number of players in those leagues.
The Glebe Little League will now include Sandy Hill and Lowertown.
Terri Semanyk has been involved with the Glebe Little League in a variety of roles over the last six years and has two sons playing in the league. She says the boundary change won’t have a negative impact and should even improve the league.
“I think it’s great because a lot of those kids play hockey together at the Sandy Hill Arena, so we’ve had players in the past want to play (in the Glebe Little League).
She says in the past, kids in the Vanier league have passed up playing because they couldn’t play on the same team as their friends. The Glebe league is hoping the change in boundaries will get those kids out to play.
According to the minutes from an executive meeting earlier this year, the Vanier Little League had “too few players to be viable and too few executive members to be viable.”
This meant the only way for kids in the Sandy Hill area to play this year was to split the Vanier league between the Glebe and Gloucester leagues.
Debbie MacGregor is the registrar for the Glebe Little League, and she agrees with Semanyk’s assessment: “I don’t know if (the Vanier closing) will make much of an impact on us,” she says. “We’ll know more after registration. We usually field the number of teams that we can with the numbers who register. The more the merrier.”
Basically, the closing means that the Glebe league will have more teams than last year. Semanyk says the average is usually about four teams per age group, and nine age groups per league, but with the added registration, more teams will need to be added.
Semanyk says the important part isn’t the number of teams, but the number of players on each team.
She says any more than 12 players per team means that some of the kids will have to sit around during long innings.
Since all the teams make the playoffs, which are usually held in a double-elimination format to guarantee each team gets at least two games, the extra teams won’t have much of an impact on the playoffs.
As for umpiring and coaching, Semanyk says that hasn’t been a problem in the past, and she doesn’t foresee it being an issue this year. She says parents, such as herself, generally do the coaching at the younger levels, and the older kids are encouraged to do the umpiring to make some extra money over the spring and summer.
Glebe Little League offers spring and summer baseball leagues for both boys and girls, aged six to 18, and a girls softball league for nine- to 16-year-olds.
Registration started March 24, and evaluations will be held on April 17-18 for registered players.