Organizers optimistic of Little League’s future

After a cancellations due to weather, the Fort Frances Little League is finally, slowly, getting underway.
And team organizers Dave Sande here and Ken Wilson in Barwick look forward to seeing what the future will bring to the sport they love.
“Baseball is making some pretty good strides here,” said Sande. “The more players we can get out on the ball field and away from the Playstation . . . get some activity.”
Sande said he was impressed with the quality of the baseball he saw when the Barwick junior team of 13 to 15-year-olds travelled to Fort Frances for a game last Wednesday.
“It’s really good experience for them,” he remarked. “You can practice as much as you want, but until they get a game. . . .”
The Barwick team won the game 4-2 in six innings. There isn’t a real structure to the games in that they play until it’s too dark to continue, noted Sande.
The game almost was cancelled due to mud on the field from that afternoon’s rain, but it ahead as scheduled—with players stealing bases and sliding in when they had the chance.
“There might be the odd irritated mum,” Sande said of the mud a few of the players were covered in at the end of the game. “This is the first level they get to steal bases.”
The most impressive thing about the game was the strength of the pitching, especially on the Barwick side. While Fort Frances rotated a new pitcher in every inning, Barwick kept Chris Borger on the mound for a few straight and he threw several strikes.
“It was good pitching, it was hard to hit,” remarked Sande. “I was really happy they showed up.”
The Barwick junior team has a few players with previous baseball experience, both in Little League in the region and the local men’s fastball league.
“They’ve had a fair amount of experience,” noted Wilson. “That makes a world of difference.”
With the Barwick Major ‘A’ team, playing their first ball this season, Wilson had to start with the basics of throwing, pitching, batting, and catching. But he’s seen quick improvement.
“As long as they’re athletic at all, they catch on,” he said. “It gets a bit frustrating, but you have to put that behind you.”
International Falls teams will start getting organized this month once the high school season ends, and then the Fort Frances and Barwick teams will be able to get a few more games in, Sande said.