PETIT DE GRAT: After no baseball two years ago, then last year’s reduced season, the members of the Richmond Amateur Baseball Association (RABA) are looking forward to a full 2022 season.

Following a league meeting on April 23, RABA President Gary David told The Reporter that five teams will round out the circuit this year, defending champions Petit de Grat, as well as Little Anse, Isle Madame, St. Peter’s, and Port Hawkesbury.

“All teams are relatively confident they will have enough players. Some of the teams will be younger,” he told The Reporter. “Port Hawkesbury was young last year and they expect to be just as young this year. St. Peter’s is expecting to go younger as well.”

As far as Inverness, David said they did not send a representative to the meeting.

“We talked to them a couple of times over the winter, and right now, they don’t have enough commitment to risk going into the league,” he said. “They’re welcome anytime they can find commitment.”

David said they are hoping to start play around June 15 and each team will play 16 games. Although they are continuing with seven-inning games, he said there will be no other changes.

“Everything is back to the way it was,” he stated. “Right now, tentatively, there are none (COVID-19 restrictions). Umpires are back behind the plate; two umpire system, nothing else. We’re hoping to have a normal season.”

With upgrades planned for fields in St. Peter’s and Petit de Grat, David is hoping that work will be complete before the start of the season.

“Petit de Grat wants to put a new infield in, if they want to do that before the season, that’s going to take up some time on their part,” he explained. “St. Peter’s is doing some work on their field. They did some in the fall. They’re planning some here in the spring.”

David said the playoff schedule is tentative as well, but the league is looking at the weekend of August 26 to 28 for the playoff tournament, with the play-in game expected to take place on Aug. 22 or 23 between the fourth and fifth place teams.

“If they’re within four games of each other, there will be a play-in game, if it’s greater than four games, there won’t be. The fourth place team will automatically be in the playoffs,” he noted. “We’re having a tournament, it’s a weekend tournament, and it’ll be held in Petit de Grat.”

David said the idea is to have the 2022 champion crowned before the Labour Day weekend. He said Isle Madame and St. Peter’s lost players for last year’s playoffs because they were playing with the StFX team.

“We want to try to get the tournament in to try to make sure that the kids that are off to university aren’t unduly burdened,” said David. “A lot of our players are coaching the younger kids, and they’re travelling.”

The next meeting of the RABA is scheduled for May 15. Although there were plans to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the league in 2020, David said that wasn’t discussed at the meeting, noting there will be a number of senior baseball events around the province this summer.

“We’re competing with a lot of things this summer so we’re just hoping to get our season in and have a complete year, where, knock on wood, nothing comes up out of the ordinary,” he said.

Because the league is hoping to attract more umpires, David added that there will be an umpire’s clinic on May 14 from 8:30 a.m. to 12 noon at Richmond Academy. He said those interested are asked to contact Eddie Bungay.

“After the last couple of tumultuous years, we’d like to re-establish the league; that’s our goal this year,” David added.