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Baseball Is Back On The Diamond In Ste. Rose

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Baseball is back in the Cattle Capital of Manitoba.

The Ste. Rose Expos opened its abbreviated Midwest U18 Baseball League season, Thursday in Ste. Rose, with a 10-2 loss to Minnedosa.

Coach Marc Hazlewood said the team had just two practices before its home opener.

“That’s been it so far,” he said. Given the lack of practice, Hazlewood was pleased with the team’s play. “Our effort level wasn’t quite there. We were a little bit timid. Maybe that’s from having a year-and-a-half off from baseball. But it will come. Our bats were a little slow, but we’ll get there,” he said.

Although they are not from that region, the Expos were able to join the Midwest League this year, joining Minnedosa, Hamiota, Gladstone and two Brandon teams, the Knights and Giants. Teams will play a home-and-home with each of the five other squads. Hazlewood hopes to see some improvement at the plate when the Expos host the Giants, July 18 at 7 p.m.

“We were just a little timid at the plate. Some half swings. Some weak contact. But we’ll get some time in the cage and we’ll get some reps in and it will turn around, We’ll speed the bats up and we’ll be able to get there,” he said.

This is a group that Hazelwood likes coaching, noting they are a great group of kids.

“They’re always positive. They’re always having fun. You can hear them from the other side of town when they start cheering for each other. It’s lots of fun to be out here with them. I’m glad we get a chance to play,” he said, adding most of the players are from Ste. Rose, with four or five from McCreary and one from Kelwood.

After a year-and-a-half, Hazlewood said it was great to be coaching ball again.

“We didn’t end up on the right side of the score tonight, but it doesn’t matter. We’re out here and the kids get some activity and get to enjoy hanging out with each other again. It was great,” he said.

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Doug Zywina
REPORTER
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