MINDEMOYA – The infield at the Central Manitoulin Public School (CMPS) baseball field was recently refurbished to regulation size, thanks to the effort of local volunteer groups and organizations as well as others.
“The Pearson Cup and Youth Tournament committee members helped to put in a new field at Central Manitoulin Public School,” stated Greg Lockeyer, earlier this week. “The two groups had paid for fill to be brought in and members had leveled off the field. We had used the field as a makeshift site for some of the games for both the Pearson Cup and Youth Tournaments held this year.”
“Work was completed on the field as of (September 2nand the CMPS field is now a regulation sized infield,” continued Mr. Lockeyer. “The field will be used for both tournaments next year.”
David Wiwchar, principal of CMPS, told the Recorder on Tuesday, “the kids are on the new ball diamond every recess. They are loving it. We are very grateful for everyone who had a hand in (refurbishing the field).”
Mr. Lockeyer explained “the idea of approaching CMPS about refurbishing one of their fields has been around for a few years with the increased participation of teams in Pearson Cup, meaning many games are taken out to M’Chigeeng to help accommodate the close to 50 ball games. And, with looking to accommodate the extra teams who wanted to enter the Youth tourney this year, we really did not want to turn any of these teams away—as getting youth to participate was our sole objective.”
“Once again this year for Pearson Cup we ran into difficulties trying to use the Spring Bay ball field due to the rain we had most of the spring and the week of Pearson Cup,” continued Mr. Lockeyer. “The field became unplayable. This meant trying to put together a makeshift field at the Providence Bay field.”
“Then the following weekend, as a need to accommodate more teams in our second Annual Youth Softball tournament, we discussed approaching CMPS to see if we could form a partnership between CMPS (Rainbow District School Board),” explained Mr. Lockeyer. “With the needs of both tournaments in mind, we met with Mr. Wiwchar, presented the idea of allowing our community groups (Pearson Cup and Youth Tournament) to bring in fill to level off and provide a regulation size infield on one of the ball diamonds and provide bases and benches.”
“I think Mr. Wiwchar was pretty excited with our proposal as seeing a great opportunity for the students at CMPS and as a way of helping out Pearson Cup and Youth Tournaments. As Mr. Wiwchar said…it is a win-win for everyone!” stated Mr. Lockeyer.
He said the group then approached the Central Manitoulin Lions Club and the Central Manitoulin municipality to help split the cost of 400 feet of snow fence and t-posts that would be set up to install a temporary home run fence. (This fence will be taken down after the tournaments and stored away til next year.)
“Unfortunately, the rainy weather this spring did not allow us to do a complete job in time for Pearson Cup but a partial job was completed in time for the Youth Tournament to have eight games played there on the Friday night and Saturday,” said Mr. Lockeyer.
“The goal then became to have all the fill brought in, leveled off and ready for the kids when they returned to school in September,” continued Mr. Lockeyer. “We were able to accomplish our goal with work completed on Labour Day weekend and the bases installed for the first day of school.”
“It really is a win-win for everyone,” said Mr. Lockeyer. “CMPS will have a great field for their students and also when hosting the Island three-pitch tournament. It will also allow for Pearson Cup and the Youth Tournament to host more games right in Mindemoya and close to the two existing ball fields behind the community centre.”
He added, “I think this is just one great example of these community groups working together to provide an excellent recreational facility for our youth. Pearson Cup took on most of the financial costs with this project and is another way in which that tournament continuously gives back to the community.”