Little League adds coaches, begins practices

The newly-resurrected Fort Frances Little League almost has all its bases covered.
With three managers and practice facilities in tow, the league—sporting 65 local players—is that much closer to its first set of “interlocking” games with International Falls scheduled to begin in early May.
“We’re plugging along,” said league organizer Dave Sande. “They’re short on players across the border, too. We still have a lot of pieces to add but it’s looking good.”
Five all-local boys’ teams will be fielded— two teams of 13-14 year-olds, three squads of 11-12 year-olds and one consisting of nine-10 year-olds. A few more spots in those divisions do exist.
There also are spots available on American girls’ softball teams for ages seven-nine and 10-12.
Fee for the season—which runs in May and June—is $85 (Cdn) per player. Registration packages are available at Tagg’s Source for Sports on Scott Street.
Indoor practices at the high school began last week and plans are being made to practice at the old fields behind Robert Moore School.
A player assessment camp with all Little Leaguers was held Saturday across the river. A draft will be held for the Falls players before a schedule is released.
“It was a good chance for us to [get] a first look at the kids,” said Sande.
The league recently was aided by some local baseball parents. Clint Barton, Joe Glavish, Brian Hebert, Neil Whitefield, and Wes Derksen all have agreed to manage and coach teams this season.
The aim is to bring aboard more coaches to the point where each team would have one “manager” and one “coach” with separate duties, said Sande.
Jim Fowler, a longtime manager of the Alton Pollard Bulldogs of the Rainy River District Fastball League, also joined the group at the assessment camp.
He said he was impressed with what he saw from the local players.
“We all know it’s going to be a learning process. You’re trying to teach all three teams the basics and, at the same time, you want to be competitive,” he said.
“This will be a good experience for the kids. But I have to admit I got pretty excited when I got out there,” added Fowler, a former player in the old Little League here in the 1950s.
While no official sponsor for team names has been finalized yet, Sande said the local Kiwanis Club has put up the funds for a new pitching machine.
“Their goal was to help every player on the roster. The addition is going to be a big bonus.”