Jeremy Williams of the Mission Twins Midget AA team unloads from the mound during a game earlier this year. Mission teams are set for a busy spring and summer on the diamond.

Jeremy Williams of the Mission Twins Midget AA team unloads from the mound during a game earlier this year. Mission teams are set for a busy spring and summer on the diamond.

PLAY BALL: Mission players hit the diamond

Hundreds of athletes have taken to the field as the Mission Minor Baseball season is on now.

Ben Lypka

Abbotsford News

The boys of spring and summer have returned to the baseball diamonds in Mission, and it’s set to be a busy few months for Mission Minor Baseball.

A total of 300 kids are registered locally for spring baseball, spread out over 34 teams ranging from young T-ball players to the teenaged midget group.

MMB president Dan Williams said spring ball runs from April 1 to June 25, and is highlighted by a number of big tournaments.

Tournament season kicks off at the end of this month with the River Rush 11U Mosquito House and the River Rush 15U Bantam A tournaments. Both events are bringing eight teams to town and run from May 26 to 29.

The next weekend is the Bantam AA’s turn to shine at the River Rush 2 15U tournament. Eight teams are again scheduled to compete, but Williams said the potential is there to increase the number of teams to 10.

The summer baseball season kicks off in late June, and Williams said the more intense schedule attracts more serious players.

“Summer ball is a little bit more for the keeners,” he said, noting that more traveling is involved. “It’s more high-level and intensive stuff. The teams in summer ball vie for a spot in provincials and we usually have one team in each division for summer.”

Tournaments continue in the summer, with the Icebreaker 13U Pee Wee A and 18U Midget AA tournaments running in Mission from June 30 to July 3. Both events will host 10 teams. Mission is also hosting the 13U Pee Wee A provincials from July 29 to Aug. 1.

Williams has been the president of MMB since 2000 and also coaches the midget team. He said it’s all about pure enjoyment for the kids.

“It’s a ton of fun,” he said. “We accommodate all ages and abilities. This isn’t an all-star league at all; we take first-year kids all the way up to midget.”

Williams is also the president of the Mission Sports Council and said he’s seen the benefits that sports can do for youth.

“I have an abiding sense of helping the kids to be a part of the community and I think sports does that really well,” he said.

He said another highlight every year is participating in the Challenger division, which gives players with disabilities the chance to hit the diamond for fun.

“Those games are pure joy,” he said. “Everyone is happy and it’s very rewarding. Each player gets a buddy to help them out and it’s for anyone from four to 40. If you’re disabled and want to come out you can; it’s a really good thing.”

Williams said MMB is always looking for volunteers to help with tournaments, and could also use additional umpires. For more details on the sport in Mission, visit missionbaseball.org.