Shaun Myall hopes to take the colour orange and make it gold this summer.
The veteran coach is heading up a pilot program under the sponsorship of Softball B.C. to return an Island boys’ fastball team to the B.C. Summer Games.
“The Orange Sox program is unique,” Rick Benson, executive director of Softball B.C., said. “This is the first time anywhere in the province where somebody has started a program like this for boys’ fastpitch.”
“We’re really interested to see how this develops out. It could be an example for other urban areas.”
The need for the program, aimed at 13 to 16 year old boys, is more out of necessity than need.
For the past decade, boys’ softball number have dwindled in the province’s urban areas, as teen boys take up baseball, soccer and other sports during the summer.
The situation was dire two years when the Island failed – for the first time – to field a boys’ softball team for the B.C. Summer Games.
It was then that Myall approached Softball B.C. with a plan to create a development program that would field a team in both the 2020 and 2022 B.C. Summer Games.
“The O’Sox program is to increase awareness of the sport on Vancouver Island,” Myall said.
Myall hopes to register 45 players this summer between the ages of 13 to 19.
Those older than 16 can’t play in the B.C. Summer Games, but they can participate in the U20 and U19 provincial championships under the Orange Sox banner, he said.
“We’re trying to get players back into the game. The Island has a rich lineage of producing world-class players that have represented local B.C. cities in regional, provincial, national and international play,” Myall said.
So far, Myall has interest from 12 players as he recruits from Port Hardy to Victoria. He hopes to host free clinics this spring in Port Alberni, Nanaimo, Victoria and Campbell River. A full training camp is planned for March. The team will be based in Saanich.
And Myall isn’t looking for the most gifted players.
“It doesn’t matter what skill level they have – even if they’ve never played the game – we want them in the program,” he said.
Help is also needed on the program’s management and coaching sides.
For more information, please go online to www.osox.ca.