Assistant coach Simon Gau instructs players on one of Cloverdale Minor Baseball’s Mosquito division teams. Mosquito is the division name for U11. (Photo: Malin Jordan)

Assistant coach Simon Gau instructs players on one of Cloverdale Minor Baseball’s Mosquito division teams. Mosquito is the division name for U11. (Photo: Malin Jordan)

Baseball returns to Cloverdale after players lost entire season last year

‘It’s been a long, weird year,’ says Matthew Rudolfs

Despite numerous challenges, baseball has returned to Cloverdale ball parks.

After missing the season last year, Matthew Rudolfs said he’s happy to see the kids take the field again.

“It’s nice to be back. It’s been a long, weird year,” said Rudolfs, head coach for the Cloverdale Minor Baseball Association’s (CMBA) Mosquito Team #6. “It’s been about exactly a year since our season got cancelled (in 2o20).”

Rudolfs said the kids only have a “practice league” going right now with no games scheduled.

“We’re hoping that Bonnie Henry’s going to move things along, and open up for games, hopefully in May.”

Rudolfs said even with the restrictions, he sees a silver-lining in their current practice-only scenario.

“It allows us to knock off the rust,” he explained. “There’s a large difference between some of the kids. Some of them have practiced privately and kept up with some skills. But some of these kids, the last time they played, was the first year of tadpole—two years ago.”

He said because of the gap, it’s going to take a lot of work—and time—to get the kids up to the same level. But, he added, the kids seem to be up to the task as everyone is excited to be back on the diamond.

John Braaten, vice-president of CMBA, said he’s encouraged to see registration numbers hovering at near normal levels.

“We had about 750 kids registered last year,” said Braaten, noting numbers for this year were shaping up to be about the same. “Given the size of the community, it’s remarkable.”

He said the CMBA has about 700 kids registered right now and Braaten expects another 50 or so to sign up by the beginning of April.

SEE ALSO: Cloverdale minor baseball player signs to play college ball in the U.S.

Braaten, who is also a coach for one of the association’s peewee AA teams, said even with the return, and the high registration numbers, there are challenges.

He said those challenges include keeping up with health protocols and dealing with an all-out ban on parents watching their kids play.

“The other big thing now is, technically, there are no spectators [allowed] either.”

Braaten admits the no spectator rule is basically unenforceable and he agreed it would be very difficult to tell random strangers they weren’t allowed to walk through a public park or that they couldn’t stop to watch.

“We do contact tracing at every practice right now,” explained Braaten. “We do a COVID check to make sure no one has any symptoms. And we keep that on record for 30 days past every practice.”

Braaten concedes coaches and teams have been put in difficult positions by Baseball BC and ViaSport for being asked to implement measures that can cause conflict with strangers in the open air in public parks.

“We just do our best,” said Braaten. “If we see somebody walk up, [we say], ‘hey, do you have a son or daughter on the team?’ Yes-No. ‘Hey, do you mind filling this out?’ Some of them will tell you where to go and others will be more than happy to be compliant, provide their name and phone number.”

SEE ALSO: Cloverdale baseball coach takes a different approach to training

Even with all the extra health-related issues tossed at the CMBA, Braaten said the season has started well.

He’s also looking forward to getting Blastball (2016), T-Ball (2015), and Super-T (2014) up and running. Registration is still open for the 2021 season for the three age groups. Their season is set to start around the first weekend in April.

“They usually start a couple of weeks later than everyone else,” explained Braaten. “We usually get a push of registrations for the younger kids after spring break. So we leave that open a little longer.”

Braaten said those younger divisions play six-on-six baseball.

“We’ve changed our program model to try to keep more kids interested and engaged. We hope we get a higher retention of players.”

Braaten said the younger teams have about eight kids per squad and when kids aren’t playing on the field, they will be doing skills training with other coaches off the field.

“They are always doing something,” said Braaten. “The idea is to continue along with skill development.”

Teams in Tadpole (2012-2013), Mosquito (2010-2011), Peewee (2008-2009), Bantam (2006-2007), and Midget (2003-2005) have already begun practices and all have waitlists.

Braaten also said CMBA’s Challenger division will be up and running this year too. He said registration is always open—and it’s free.

SEE ALSO: Cloverdale’s Challenger Baseball program searches for more volunteers

Challenger is for “children with cognitive or physical disabilities to enjoy the thrill of playing baseball, being part of a team, developing physical and social skills, plus all the benefits of participation in baseball at a level structured to their abilities,” reads the CMBA website.

“We’ve already got the OK from Baseball BC that you’re allowed to have the one buddy with each athlete at all times,” noted Braaten. “We’re allowed to do that, to get them out as well.”

Challenger baseball starts approximately in May, but it’s weather dependent.

“Some of the kids are in wheelchairs. Some have crutches. It really depends on how firm the ground is,” explained Braaten. “So it’s usually a later start.”

He said Challenger baseball runs until the late fall as they keep it running as long as they can.

“We’re just doing our best to get kids outside again,” added Braaten. “It’s tough for any sport, I think, to have two years off. So we’re just happy with where we’re going, in regards to kids coming back. And we’ll just do our best to keep everybody safe and get them outside and off the screens and stuff like that.”

For more information on Cloverdale baseball or registration, visit the CMBA website.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

BaseballCloverdaleLocal Sports

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey RCMP are seeking the public's help to locate three puppies stolen from a South Surrey home on April 10. (Surrey RCMP photos)
Puppies stolen during weekend break-and-enter in South Surrey

Surrey RCMP seeking public’s assistance in locating three American Bulldog puppies

The Round Up Cafe has operated for more than six decades at 10449 King George Boulevard, Surrey. (File photo)
Surrey’s Round Up Cafe is set to close for good, after 60 years of feeding people

Cooking school might open in the Whalley space, manager says, but no firm plan yet

(File photo)
Surrey’s OCC fielded calls from 305,000 people in 2020, an ‘unusual’ year of fewer such calls

The numbers were released Monday in recognition of Public Safety Telecommunicators Week

The Delta Fire Fighters Healthy Snack Program is a new initiative launched in March by the Delta Fire Fighter and Charitable Society. The program currently supports six North Delta schools and will be expanding to many more schools in both North and South Delta in September. (Submitted photo)
Delta firefighters kick off school healthy snack program

Program currently supports six North Delta schools, with plans to expand across Delta come September

The City of White Rock will save on two delayed watermains projects. (File photo)
White Rock council expected to approve watermain upgrades

Projects target corrosion and leaks on Stevens, Chestnut streets

Burnaby MLA Raj Chouhan presides as Speaker of the B.C. legislature, which opened it spring session April 12 with a speech from the throne. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. NDP promises more health care spending, business support in 2021 budget

John Horgan government to ‘carefully return to balanced budgets’

A youth was arrested following a car crash on Wallace Street on Saturday, April 10. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Onlookers laugh and jeer as B.C. teen beaten, then forced to strip and walk home

Police arrest older teen, call video shared on social media ‘disturbing’

A lady wears a sticker given out after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count slows after last week’s peak

3,219 new cases since Friday, 18 additional deaths

North Cowichan councillor Tek Manhas did not violate the municipality’s code of conduct by posting a sexist meme on Facebook, council concludes. (File photo)
B.C. municipality to take no action against councillor who posted sexist meme

Tek Manhas’s meme doesn’t violate North Cowichan council’s code of conduct, municipality concludes

Guinevere, lovingly referred to by Jackee Sullivan and her family as Gwenny, is in need of a gynecological surgery. The family is raising money to help offset the cost of the procedure. (Jackee Sullivan/Special to Langley Advance Times)
Langley lizard’s owners raise funds for gynecological surgery

The young reptile is scheduled for operation on Tuesday

—Image: contributed
Indoor wine tastings still allowed in B.C., not considered a ‘social gathering’

“Tasting is really just part of the retail experience. The analogy I use is you wouldn’t buy a pair of pants without trying them on.”

A sign on a shop window indicates the store is closed in Ottawa, Monday March 23, 2020. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business is raising its estimate for the number of businesses that are considering the possibility of closing permanently. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Small business struggling amid COVID-19 pandemic looks for aid in Liberals’ budget

President Dan Kelly said it is crucial to maintain programs to help businesses to the other side of the pandemic

The National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians says that includes attempts to steal Canadian research on COVID-19 and vaccines, and sow misinformation. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
Intelligence committee warns China, Russia targeting Canadian COVID-19 research

Committee also found that the terrorist threat to Canada has shifted since its last such assessment

Parliament Hill is viewed below a Canada flag in Gatineau, Quebec, Friday, Sept. 18, 2020. A new poll suggests most Canadians are feeling more grateful for what they have in 2020 as a result of COVID-19 pandemic.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions increased slightly in 2019: report

2019 report shows Canada emitted about one million tonnes more of these gases than the previous year

Most Read