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(Photo: from Hub City Slo-Pitch League Facebook page)

Slo-Pitch players anxious to get out to ‘Play Ball’

By Tara Clow Apr 11, 2023 | 9:59 AM

With warmer temperatures in the forecast, players are eager and ready to get out and throw the ball around.

The Hub City Slo-Pitch league is just over a month away from the start of their season.

President Bernie Melanson says their team roster is already full, “We’ve got 88 teams confirmed.  We also share the fields with the ladies League. I believe they have 13 teams, so it’s a very healthy number. It’s probably as much as we can handle.”

He added four new teams spread throughout all of the divisions and a few teams also folded, which opened up a few spots in the league.

Messages from players and other potential players started coming in on social media earlier this year because they wanted to ensure their teams were registered before things filled up.

Fields are in high demand and time is limited. Melanson says there are always teams on a waiting list.

“I started making posts in January to get people thinking about getting online and signing their waivers for the upcoming season. We have players who are trying to get onto a team messaging and posting. We have a spare list started and that’s basically where we’re at now,” Melanson says.

The league hoped to get access to other fields in Riverview or Dieppe, but Melanson says they haven’t had any luck as of yet. Most are being used for minor baseball.

“We’ve had a lot of people move here from Ontario and also out west and they’re looking to get on a team because they used to play slo-pitch. So, there’s a lot more interest this year. The list is probably around 30 people. From what I understand, players are being picked up already, so it looks like it’s going well,” Melanson says.

A few rule changes have been made to the league this year, “For example, when you step in the box, you’re starting with a one-and-one count. So it’s one ball one strike. For a lot of players, they’re not excited about it, but from a league standpoint, it’s going to help us, and games will go quicker,” Melanson says. “It does shave off, at least, 15 minutes off each game. So you’re looking at a half hour for every doubleheader and that’s great when you’re talking about fields that don’t have lights.”

They’ve also set the number of games per season to 20 per team, which means ten nights, due to the doubleheaders.

Melanson says this is due to issues they’ve had in the past, “We had issues with wire theft last year and that affected our night games. Then we had issues with the homeless and those obstacles really kind of pushed us in the direction of making it a smaller regular season.”

Weather also played a factor. Melanson says this will allow them to start playoffs sooner.

Play usually begins on the Monday of the long weekend. This year, that puts Co-ed ball starting on May 22.

“From Monday to Thursday, there are different divisions each night, and then we use Sundays as a rainout day, so for any makeup games,” Melanson states.

If you love the game or if you’re a former player, there’s also the opportunity to become an Umpire.

“You do two games at a time.  There’s an online test which is an open book. So you can look through the rulebook, answer some questions and once you pass the test, then you are eligible to umpire tournaments and league games,” Melanson says. “Our umpire in chief Shawn Gladstone is actually going to be conducting some umpire clinics soon. That’ll probably be posted in the next few weeks.”

If you have an interest in getting on the spare list or becoming an umpire for the season, visit the Hub City Slo-Pitch League Facebook page.


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