Choice is important in team sports, especially when it comes to players who want to stick with their buddies as they age out of certain divisions.
For graduates of Little League baseball programs at Beacon Hill and National in Victoria, and Hampton in Saanich, the ability to continue playing alongside friends with whom they’ve grown up in the game was a big motivation behind the creation of the Victoria Capitals.
The Capitals will represent south Victoria in intermediate (age 13), junior (age 13-14) and senior league (age 14-16) play. The divisions fall under the auspices of Little League Canada.
“Staying with my friends and getting more practice time was important,” said Brandon Caven, a 14-year-old pitcher-shortstop who played at Hollywood Park with Beacon Hill.
He was one of a number of players who, for various reasons, chose not to join the B.C. Baseball organization, which has clubs and leagues in all age groups around the region.
Teammate and fellow Beacon Hill grad Jackson Smith Peterson played intermediate and junior ball the past two seasons in Central Saanich, which started the programs earlier. The appeal for him was the chance to play for provincial and national titles – Senior League has its own World Series. “I’m excited to go on the trips up Island and to the mainland,” he said.
Central Saanich Little League grads will join those from Lakehill and Layritz in Saanich in making up the Victoria north teams.
Reese Caven, one of the Victoria organizers, said the players already signed up are excited about the option of continuing in an organization with the flavour of Little League.
“At the end of the day it’s meant to be fun, but the kids themselves want the opportunities to be challenged, so that’s what we’re trying to put out there for them,” he said.
The Capitals are accepting registrations for new players and are in the process of nailing down outdoor practice and game fields. Reese Caven is confident that will happen in time for the 2018 season, given the co-operative relationship the Little League parks have built with the City of Victoria over the years.
Interested players are encouraged to contact their local Little Leagues, visit littleleaguevictoria.org or call Tak Niketas at 250-812-5353.