Sports

Senior baseball officially coming back to Carman

 Emily Distefano

 

 
Carman’s new senior men’s baseball team took a swing at a couple of events this past summer, including a tournament in Clearwater July 1. The players borrowed Carman Goldeyes gear for their debut, and ended up finishing in second place. Next spring, the team (which remains unnamed) will officially be bringing senior ball back to Carman as part of the regional senior men’s baseball league. (SUPPLIED BY SAM BRYSON)

Carman’s new senior men’s baseball team took a swing at a couple of events this past summer, including a tournament in Clearwater July 1. The players borrowed Carman Goldeyes gear for their debut, and ended up finishing in second place. Next spring, the team (which remains unnamed) will officially be bringing senior ball back to Carman as part of the regional senior men’s baseball league. (SUPPLIED BY SAM BRYSON)

When it comes to baseball, Carman already has a storied history.

Now, a group of players is ready to write the next chapter with a brand new senior men’s team.

As of Nov. 19, the Carman team is officially part of the Border West League, joining seven other teams that play in the region.

Sam Bryson, one of the men who have been organizing the new team, said a group of local ball players started meeting at the diamonds in Carman about two years ago. This past summer that group enrolled in a tournament in Clearwater, playing against teams from the Border West League. They ended up coming in second place.

“The excitement was still there come this fall, so we made the approach to the Border League and they accepted us,” Bryson said.

Carman hasn’t had a senior men’s baseball team since the early ‘90s, which has meant that young men looking to play competitive ball either have to go outside the community or they just have to stop playing altogether.

Bryson, who grew up in Ontario, said the sport has always been a part of his life, so finding a way to keep playing - wherever he has moved - has been a priority.

“I’ve been playing since I was five or six years old…every summer I would play ball,” he said. “It’s nice for the community to have a competitive ball team, something for guys who have played baseball growing up.”

When he moved to Carman, Bryson started playing for Morden’s senior team. After six seasons, he has gotten to know ball players from across the region, and he started to meet more and more baseball fans who were also looking for a way to play closer to home.

“As I’ve lived here longer and gotten to know more and more people who play ball, it’s become apparent that they have nowhere to play after they finish junior or midget,” he said.

Bryson has also been involved with Carman Minor Ball, where he saw the same thing.

“Part of the motivation for getting a team is that it gives the kids something to play towards and continue playing after they finish their minor ball careers, so they can keep playing after they turn 19 or 20, rather than stopping when they finish high school,” he said. “I’ve seen the trend over the last seven or eight years, that there haven’t been higher age levels for kids to play at. There hasn’t been a midget team here in Carman for some time, and a few years ago there wasn’t even a bantam team.”

Right now, the new men’s senior team is sitting at 15 players, with some part time and some full time. They don’t have a designated coach, but are planning to move forward as a player-managed team for the first year.

While Bryson has spoken to whoever he can think of in his baseball network about joining the team, he said they are looking for more ball players with competitive experience.

“We’re still looking…We think we’ve exhausted the list, but you never know if there’s someone out there who wants to play competitive baseball again, or who has been playing, or someone who is new to town,” he said. “We’re looking basically to make sure we’ve got enough players for each game of year.”

Bryson expects the team to play between 16 and 20 games between the May long weekend and mid-August, with half of those at home in Carman.

And he’s hoping the Carman community will come out to enjoy the show.

“It’s a sport that’s enjoyable for spectators to go out and pull up a lawn chair or grab a seat, and just go to the park and watch with the family,” he said.

“You get to play it at the best time of year,” he added. “As long as the bugs aren’t bad, it’s pretty nice. The days are long and the best weather is usually in July and August, and that’s kind of our prime season for senior.”

Although the team borrowed Carman Goldeyes uniforms for the Clearwater tournament, Bryson said they haven’t decided yet whether they will take on the Goldeyes name for good.

“It’s definitely the Goldeyes and the Cardinals in the toss-up right now,” Bryson said. “The Carman Cardinals from the sixties and the fifties goes back a long way in history, so there’s been some talk of going that way.”

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edistefano@postmedia.com