(PHOTO: Ottawa Champions mascot Champ visited the Cubhouse during March Break. Photo via @ottawachampions.)
Baseball’s rising popularity in Ottawa’s west end has prompted to the Kanata Baseball Association (KBA) to expand, adding an all-girls baseball development program and establishing a year-round indoor training facility.
The KBA held a media day on Saturday to celebrate their new Kanata Cubhouse, an indoor facility located at 302 Legget Drive in Kanata North. While the new facility has been rented in a temporary location, KBA is hoping for a long-term, permanent indoor facility in the near future.
This new facility has allowed KBA to offer programming in winter months as well as during inclement weather. The facility is equipped with batting cages, pitching zones, strength training equipment and more. The indoor facility has also allowed KBA to offer and expand skill specific training programming including:
- Hitting development
- Velo throwing and arm care
- Pitching development
- Catching development
- New All-Girls baseball development
- Winter skills development
“We’ve been going outside our community in winter months. We go to Beckwith to use their dome, and we use Sensplex,” says KBA volunteer Randy Hughes. “Our association is growing so much. Hopefully down the road we’d like to build our own field house, so hopefully this is a stepping-stone for that. We started this as a pilot project and we just extended the lease on the Cubhouse for another year, to try to find a permanent facility.”
The club has seen a massive increase in registrations. Back in 2015 there were 583 kids registered, and this year there are already 915 registered. Hughes credits a lot of the interest to the success of the Toronto Blue Jays.
“We went from 583 in 2015 to 767 in 2016. That was when the Jays had a great year and were very successful. Then the Blue Jays tailored off but our registration keeps going up. We’ve managed to hold on to them because we’ve got interesting programs to keep their interest, and the Cubhouse lets us keep them interested year round,” says Hughes.
MORE GIRLS REGISTERING FOR BASEBALL
“This will be the first year for all-girls teams and already we’re almost full for what we can handle,” says Hughes. “Right now we’ve started a waiting list and that will be the priority to push the girls team. We have almost 60 girls registered and last year we had 10 or 12, so the girls have gone up five-fold for us this year.”
While an Ottawa-wide all-girls baseball league does not currently exist, KBA is taking steps towards achieving this goal. In October, an all-girls baseball clinic was held at the Bell Sensplex Fieldhouse. The nearly fifty girls in attendance learned about the fundamentals of baseball. Guest coaches included two Women’s National Team members and there was also a surprise guest appearance by a former professional baseball player.
Hughes says a big factor holding back their ability to accept more registrations and field more teams is the lack of space at local ball diamonds. The KBA is working with the City and other partners to create more places to play baseball.
For more information about the KBA, visit CubsBaseball.ca
ABOUT THE KBA
The Kanata Baseball Association is a non-profit membership organization that operates baseball programs for children and youth ages 4 to 18 in the communities of Kanata, Stittsville, Richmond, Munster, Carp and Dunrobin. House programs are operated under Little League as part of Ontario District 2 of Little League Canada. Rep programs are operated under the National Capital Ontario Baseball Association affiliate of the Ontario Baseball Association. The Association operates the league with a simple mandate: To instill the values of honesty, loyalty, fair play and sportsmanship in our youth.