New backstop installed at Mindemoya Ballpark as organizers gear up for new tourney

Another major upgrade has been made at the Mindemoya ballfield, with the installation of a new backstop

MINDEMOYA—While the organizers of the annual Pearson Cup and a brand new first annual Mindemoya youth softball tournament gear up for these events, another major upgrade has just recently been completed for the main ballfield in Mindemoya. Its Mother Nature that locals can attribute for the brand new backstop that has been installed.

“We have a brand new backstop,” stated Greg Lockeyer, a member of the Pearson Cup Committee late last week. He explained the new backstop came about as the result of “an insurance claim; when the area was hit with that major ice storm six weeks ago, the winds caused major damage, bending over the previous backstop.”

“The previous backstop had been installed around 1951,” said Mr. Lockeyer. “We were able to have the brand new backstop put up. It has about three times the amount of steel the old one had and it blends in so well with all the renovations that have been done to the ballfields.”

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The new backstop is about the same length as the old backstop, but about five feet higher, at 38 feet high, explained Mr. Lockeyer. “It has all the extra supports in place and is double reinforced,” he said. M and G Fencing of Azilda put the backstop up.

“We were going to replace the last 12 feet on the backstop this fall, but the way things turned out we had some leftover fencing, so we have installed 50 feet at eight-feet high on the fence down the first and third base lines for protection of the fans and players,” said Mr. Lockeyer. “The grass on the new fields is coming, but it has been so dry lately” Mr. Lockeyer noted the annual Pearson Cup Tournament is being held on the June 15-17 weekend. 

As for the upgrades on the Mindemoya ballfields, as was reported last year, Mindemoya was named one of 13 communities across Canada to receive a $150,000 Field of Dreams grant from the Jays Care Foundation, the charitable arm of the Toronto Blue Jays, to enhance and refurbish the municipality’s baseball diamonds. The upgrades have included new dugouts and covers, protective plastic on the outfield fences, players’ benches, eight-foot high screens in front of the dugouts, work on the infield and bases. There has also been an upgrade to the lighting at both fields and the outfields have been built up by using top soil, clay and sod. 

A new concession stand has been built and is being completed at the Mindemoya baseball fields, a joint effort between the Central Manitoulin Lions Club, Mindemoya Minor Hockey Association, Mindemoya Curling Club, Manitoulin Special Olympics and the Pearson Cup committee.

As for the first annual Mindemoya youth softball tournament, Mr. Lockeyer said, “this is something I’ve always wanted to do. Now that we have these new beautiful facilities in Mindemoya, what better way to celebrate them than to have this tournament?”

“We are hoping for the teams to be co-ed but we will take what we get,. There may be some teams for instance with eight boys and two girls,” said Mr. Lockeyer. “We have seven teams taking part so far, but  have room for more. I would like to see  both fields being used all weekend.”  

The first annual Mindemoya Youth Softball tournament will be held at the newly renovated Mindemoya Ball Park June 22-24. This co-ed tournament will offer four age divisions between 6 to 17 years of age. The entry fee is $100 per team.

“The reason we picked that weekend is that most communities on the Island have spring softball league that are ending and it may draw in a lot more players,” said Mr. Lockeyer.  For more information on the youth softball tournament contact Greg at 705-377-6511, by email at Lockeyers@hotmail.com or on Facebook at Mindemoya Youth Softball Tournament.

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