Kersley locals play slo-pitch every Sunday from 6 p.m. Melanie Law photo

15-year-old starts community ball league in Kersley

Kersley local has created a entertaining and welcoming Sunday night ritual.

It all started from Gage McLennan’s desire to play a regular game of ball.

Last year, the 15-year-old was getting out with members of the community and walking, as part of a fitness program run by Kersley Volunteer Fire Department.

“I saw that the fire hall had bats and balls. I was like, ‘I want to play softball!’ So we grabbed the equipment and told people we’d play on Sundays.”

His idea took off. Now, most Sunday evenings will find 15 to 20 locals gathering at the Kersley ball diamond to play a few friendly games of slo-pitch, and everyone’s welcome.

“Anyone can play,” confirms McLennan.

“We’ve had really really little kids and older guys… we even get dogs out on the field,” he jokes.

The group doesn’t really keep score and there are no established teams; they organize into a few on the night, depending how many players show up.

“We used to have the leagues between the fire departments – our team would play Bouchie Lake or Barlow Creek. So I wanted to see what would happen if we started something up again,” says McLennan.

“This is our second year. At the end of last year, we started to get a few more people, and now lots of people know about it.

“We have two captains who pick teams on the night, and then this chaos happens,” he said, motioning to the game in full swing.

There’s a genuine sense of neighbourliness and warmth as the players banter back and forth, hooting and hollering when someone makes it home.

Last Sunday’s youngest player was Isabella Syvertsen, who’s nine. When asked if she’s enjoying the Sunday evening ball games, she nods shyly.

Her father, Dennis, is a volunteer with Kersley’s fire department, and says he usually makes it out to the weekly game.

“Ever since we all had to get together to keep our elementary school open, we’ve really got a renewed sense of community here,” he explains.

It shows.

Every Sunday from 6 p.m., cars driving south on Highway 97 will be able to glimpse a rag-tag band of Kersley locals running the bases on the ball diamond behind the Kersley Community Complex. Got a glove in your backseat? Stop in: you’ll be welcomed with open arms.

“We help each other out, we help the little kids. We bug each other. It’s fun,” shrugs McLennan.

“It’s something fun for the community to do.”

 

Top: Kersley locals play every Sunday from 6 p.m. Above: Victor Edwards manages to send batter Michael Edwards out as he catches the ball on third base. Right: 15-year-old organizer Gage McLennan at bat. Melanie Law photos

Victor Edwards manages to send batter Michael Edwards out as he catches the ball on third base. Melanie Law photo