Eager to throw the first pitch

by Chris Gagnon | April 25, 2013


Members of the Sudbury Minor Baseball Association are anticipating the start of the new baseball season.

The winds of change and local baseball tradition have swept through the Sudbury Minor Baseball Association (SMBA) in the months leading up to the first pitch of the 2013 season.

Wayne Cuculick, a long-serving Sudbury travelling team coach and board member, was voted in as league president last December. He has been hard at work with his new vice-president, Jim Keyes, and his expanded board ever since.

The first change to take effect under Cuculick was the expansion of the number of serving board members from 10 to 15. Five new members were voted onto the board by players, coaches and parents who were present at the nominations last December.

Among the five new board members are two more Sudbury travelling team coaches, as well as two players in the league’s senior division, giving the collective more members at the field level. Aside from Cuculick and Keyes, the board consists of: Bruce Urquhart, Barry Ramsey, Paul St. Germain, Bryan Keith, Bill McCaffrey, Jack Miller, Ryan Mussen, Shawn Pitfield, Joni Barton, Mike Lumley, Dennis Melanson, Chris Gagnon, and lifetime member Michael Blythe.

The most exciting change coming in 2013 is the renaming of SMBA travelling teams to the Sudbury Shamrocks. Aside from a few exceptions, recent travelling teams hailing from the SMBA haven’t had an identity of their own, simply being known as “Sudbury.”

The decision to introduce the Shamrocks moniker wasn’t a difficult one. The name is steeped in tradition — from the team that played in the popular Nickel Belt Baseball League in the 1950s to the team that challenged the Coniston Red Sox in the inaugural championship six-game series of the Nickel Region Senior Baseball League. The Shamrocks name has also been associated with many notable Sudburians, including Berk Keaney Sr., who coached the Shamrocks from 1976 to 1980.

Players within the SMBA are always chomping at the bit to get on the field and start the season. This May will be no different and SMBA wants to extend that excitement to all of Sudbury in the form of an opening day celebration at the end of May. The event will include players and parents from the league and will also be open to the public. Once opening festivities have concluded, the 2012 SMBA senior division champions, Laird Constructors, will open their season against a yet-to-be named opponent.

The board members of SMBA envision that the changes and improvements taking shape will reignite Sudbury’s love of baseball, while continuing to provide a fun and safe environment for boys and girls aged five to 55 to play the game and develop as players and people.

For more information on the league, visit sudburyminorbaseball.com.

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