New deal set to boost White Rock Tritons
The White Rock Tritons are about to get a boost in numbers – and if all goes well, talent, too.
With an eye towards improving the depth and talent at the association’s highest levels, White Rock-South Surrey Baseball Association has successfully lobbied two of amateur baseball’s governing bodies – B.C. Minor Baseball and Little League BC – to allow for co-operation between WRSSBA’s bantam AAA squad and its junior and senior Tritons programs.
The bantam squad, which is entering just its second year of existence in White Rock, plays under the B.C. Minor Baseball banner, while the two Tritons teams play in Little League. In previous seasons, teams in each league have not been allowed to associate with one another.
Now, the bantam AAA team, for 13- and 14-year-old players, will be allowed to take part in joint practices with the Junior (U16) and Senior (U18) Tritons’ teams.
The change affects baseball associations province-wide.
“We want to be able to develop young players as best we can, and this helps us do that. It basically provides another feeder team for the Tritons,” said Senior Tritons head coach Russ Smithson.
“It’s long been an issue in other associations.”
The bantam AAA team was originally started in White Rock because, Smithson said, there wasn’t a high-level Little League program for 14-year-old players.
“It can be tough for a player coming from (house level) to the junior Tritons, so that’s why they started the bantam team – to give those kids a place to play. The bantam league is quite competitive, and a very good league,” he explained.
Under the new system, all three teams can co-ordinate efforts on everything from coaching and practices to playing philosophies.
“This way, we can have (joint) practices, where we’ll be able to get all three teams working together, under coaches who want to play the same way, so there’s (continuity) as they come up,” Smithson said.
“This is best for everyone’s development.”
This season, the bantam AAA team will be coached by former Tritons pitcher Jordan Broatch, and assisted by Shane Wilson.
One thing that won’t change, Smithson said, is having bantam players allowed to play in junior games.
The oldest Tritons squad, for example, can call up junior players to fill in should injuries arise, but that will not be allowed between bantam and junior squads, owing to the fact they’re still governed by different organizations.
“Just getting practice time together was a big step,” said Smithson, who credited WRSSBA’s new executive board, led by president Andy Johnson, for the changes.
Though he figured the changes would likely take a few seasons to pay dividends at the senior level, Smithson was excited with the prospect of eventually seeing the Tritons – who’ve struggled in recent seasons, and missed the playoffs by a single game last summer – return to being a top team in the B.C. Premier Baseball League.
“That’s our goal, for sure. We aren’t just thinking playoffs – we’re thinking championships,” he said.