Mustangs getting ready for 42-game season

The Cowichan Valley Mustangs Bantam AAA baseball team is gearing up for a season of learning and development.

At the bat: The Cowichan Valley Bantam Mustangs score a run during their first game against the Victoria Eagles on Saturday afternoon at Chemainus Ball Park.

At the bat: The Cowichan Valley Bantam Mustangs score a run during their first game against the Victoria Eagles on Saturday afternoon at Chemainus Ball Park.

The Cowichan Valley Mustangs Bantam AAA team is gearing up for a season of learning, development and good old-fashioned determination and effort.

This year’s team is relatively green, with about seven first-year players, but staff are looking forward to helping them improve their skills and experience in what is a very competitive league.

“They’re going to learn a lot and they’re going to become better baseball players, whether we win or lose,” said manager Darren Rasmussen. “We’re not going to be judging the season on wins and losses —  it’s all on developing the kids and making them better. There’s no doubt that’s going to happen.”

The Mustangs’ home field is Chemainus but three days a week, the team holds practices in Ladysmith.

The 13 members of the team, ranging from 13-15 years old, hail from Ladysmith, Chemainus, Duncan and Salt Spring and will endure a 42-game season with plenty of doubleheaders on the Island and the mainland until the last game of the season July 15. That will include three overnight stays in Vancouver and two day trips.

“At this age, there’s no more staying in the hotel with mom and dad. We travel as a team, we stay as a team,” Rasmussen said.

There are currently four other bantam AAA teams on Vancouver Island this season — two in Victoria, one in Nanaimo and one  on the North Island.

“I think we’ll compete with the Island teams, but you never know what you’re up against with the mainland teams,” Rasmussen said.

“They’re going to be playing the best baseball players in Canada. The experience is going to be phenomenal.”

The bantams saw their first regular-season action over the weekend, with doubleheaders against the Victoria Black Eagles on Saturday and the Vancouver Mounties on Sunday.

Despite great effort, the bantams lost 11-1 and 7-1 against the Eagles and 19-1 and 29-0 against the Mounties, who are one of the best teams in the league.

Ladysmith Minor Baseball will be holding an official opening day on April 28 and plans to use all of the local ball fields to host games for the event.

There will also be an official opening ceremony, with a special ceremony for Garnet Mah, the league’s former president. He passed on Feb. 29.

House ball has seen some good numbers this season.  Ladysmith didn’t have enough players to run a pee wee team last year; however, there will be two pee wee teams and three mosquito teams in 2012.

“Our numbers are not bad,” Rasmussen said.

To keep up with the regular season, stay tuned to the Chronicle.

Visit http://www.bcminorbaseball.org for scores and schedules.

“We’re going to have a good year,”  Rasmussen said. “It could be rough, but there’s lots of headway being made.”

Ladysmith Chronicle