The Muskoka Hornets are finalizing plans to allow our travel teams to return to training next week. Baseball Ontario increased the limits on gatherings on a single diamond to two sets of up to 10 participants, enabling teams to run single diamond, single time slot practices.
The Hornets Board remains hopeful we can offer some form of summer skill development program in Huntsville in place of our normal house league. The ability to run this program is dependent on Huntsville's completion of diamond renovations at McCulley as well as increases on gathering size limits which we hope for in July.
Stay tuned to our website for additional updates. Please let me know if you have any questions via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yours in Baseball
We might just be getting closer to Hornets baseball this summer but let's not get too excited yet. Baseball Ontario today announced the end of its suspension for in person baseball activities effective June 16, paving the way for minor baseball to happen this summer. See details below.
For the Hornets to get back on the field, we need to divide the conversation into two categories, travel baseball and house league in Huntsville (recall Gravenhurst will not approve permits this summer so our only chance for house league is in Huntsville).
In order to return to the diamond for the travel teams, we need first to have the YSBA Board sign off that it will allow travel baseball in our region, and then the Muskoka Hornets Board would need to approve our teams returning to practice. Keep in mind that gatherings remain limited to 10 persons with social distance guidelines, so practice models will need to be amended to accommodate these rules (not to mention the onerous COVID safety guidelines that each team must comply with). Importantly, all guardians will be required to sign a COVID waiver (see attachment) in order to participate in Baseball Ontario activities (this includes all Hornets activities). We are hopeful that after a couple weeks of practice, gathering limits will be expanded to allow for game play – note: it is possible that the travel season will be extended until October to make up for lost time (with the likely exception of 18U).
In order to return to the diamond for house league, we will need the Town of Huntsville to complete its diamond renovation and then open the diamonds for user rentals. Also, we will need the gathering limit to be increased beyond 10 persons in order to run our house league program on Wednesday evenings. Stay tuned – we hope to get started by July – fingers crossed – but as you can imagine some factors are out of management's control.
I will provide additional information to our members when it becomes available. Note: all players must be registered through our website and sign the COVID waiver before participating in any Hornets sanctioned activities.
Thank you and stay safe
Yours in Baseball
CAMBRIDGE ‐ To the Baseball Ontario Community (June 12, 2020) Baseball Ontario’s suspension of in‐person activities expires June 15, 2020. Baseball Ontario will not be extending the suspension of in‐person activities. Therefore, as of June 16, 2020, in‐person baseball activities can resume, pending observance of provincial and municipal rules and restrictions. Regions in Stage One of the Provincial Reopening Plan are not yet permitted to resume team sport activities. Regions in Stage Two of the Provincial Reopening Plan are permitted to resume outdoor team sports (including baseball), if physically distanced, for training only and no scrimmages or games, but must still respect the gathering limit of 10 persons at this time. Following review by medical and legal advisors, the Return to Sport Protocol has been finalized and approved by the Baseball Ontario Board of Management, as of June 11, 2020. Member Organizations and all participants must familiarize themselves with this Protocol prior to resuming in‐person activities. Member organizations should either adopt the Baseball Ontario Protocol as their own or supplement it with their own local protocol. A Declaration of Compliance and either a Release of Liability, Waiver of Claims and Indemnity Agreement or an Informed Consent and Assumption of Risk Agreement, depending on the age of the person, are required from participants. All the information and resources with respect to Baseball Ontario’s Return to Baseball Protocol are available through our OnDeck platform available online at https://ondeck.baseballontario.com/ and through our mobile OnDeck app available on Google Play Store and Apple App Store.
I hope our membership is healthy and enjoying the nice Spring weather. Please note that the diamond facilities in Bracebridge are now open for individual or family usage if any players want to remember what a clay infield feels like under the cleats.
In terms of the 2020 season, we remain in a holding pattern. Baseball Ontario's suspension of in person team activities expires on June 15 but is likely to be extended to follow guidelines from the Provincial Government's State of Emergency which ends June 29.
For a modified baseball season to happen in 2020, a few things need to fall into place:
In the meantime, Baseball Ontario released its first draft of COVID 19 return to play protocols this week in hopes of salvaging a summer of baseball – the requirements seem daunting but where there is a will, there is a way.
So now we wait for the next steps from government officials, Baseball Ontario, the YSBA and the Town of Huntsville.
Please let me know if you have any questions.
Yours in baseball,
The Muskoka Bantam Hornets went undefeated this past weekend (5-0) to win the 10 Annual Muskoka Cup. The 16 team tournament featured teams from throughout Ontario, all converging to battle it out in Huntsville and Bracebridge for the coveted crown. See full story in the News Section.
The Hornets got off to a hot start Friday night when they played host to the Vaughn Vikings. Shortstop turned pitcher Zachary Boese allowed just one hit over 4 innings on the mound as the Hornets played solid defence, with some timely hitting, and aggressive baserunning to start the tournament with a convincing 14-3 win over the Vikings.
The Bantams had a sluggish start Saturday morning, but thanks to some clutch pitching by Wilson Babineau, Bradley Adams, and Winston Young the team was able to come away with a 8-5 win over the Orillia Royals.
The Hornets faced a scrappy team from Waterdown in its final round robin game with the winner representing the aptly-named “HOLM Division” in the ‘A’ playdowns. The Hornets sent its gritty second year Bantam pitcher, Jacob White, to the mound in hopes he could cool the Waterdown bats. White was up to the task, throwing a complete game gem as the Hornets picked up an emotionally charged 7-3 win over Waterdown to capture the division.
The Hornets arrived at McCulley diamonds at 7:30am Sunday morning grateful for an opportunity to play in championship Sunday. In Sunday's semi-final match up, the Hornets were to face the Aurora Kings, winners of the Payne Division. The Hornets called on its lanky left-hander Bradley Adams for this must win game. Adams made quick work of Aurora, throwing a complete game one-hitter on 60 pitches as the Hornets stung Aurora 13-0. The Hornets played one of its best defensive games of the season, led by Charlie Maslin who put on an impressive display in the outfield throughout the day.
Muskoka matched up against a very skilled team from Mississauga in the finals. Both teams entered the championship game with perfect 4-0 records in the tournament. The Hornet coaching staff sent Adams back out on the mound to start the final – Adams threw his remaining 30 pitches allowing only one hit over 2 and 2/3 innings. The Hornets then turned to Zachary Boese, Boese pitched the final 4 and 1/3 innings- allowing no hits. First year Zach Patterson set the offensive tone early, with a perfectly executed sacrifice bunt that started a rally. The Hornets finished off the Mississauga Majors in an hour and 35 minutes and walked away with the championship by a score of 4-0.
The Hornet coaching staff could not be happier with the effort the boys put in throughout the weekend and it was a true total team effort. Riley Belanger played Gold Glove calibre defence at 2nd base throughout the weekend and Marcus Kerr showed off his cannon of an arm from CF throwing a runner out trying to stretch an extra base. Hayden Pedwell has proven himself as a legitimate catcher, with a ever improving arm behind the plate. Wilson Babineau has quietly become an exceptional defensive 1st basemen. The list could go on and on! The Hornet coaching staff would also like to give a special thanks to our Affiliate Player, Mark Holm, for playing with the team this weekend, and contributing in every facet of the game.
Congrats to all the winning teams for this year's Muskoka Cup and we hope to defend our crown in 2019
For Immediate Release, June 28, 2018
10th Annual Muskoka Cup Boasts Record Number of Teams
The Muskoka Hornets are pleased to announce that a record 60 teams will compete in the 10th Annual Muskoka Cup tournament in four select divisions across two summer weekends. This number of teams represents capacity for the annual Hornets summer baseball tournament and is a reflection of the growing interest of baseball in Ontario in general and Muskoka in particular.
The 2018 Muskoka Cup events kick off for the 12 and 13 year old Peewee division this weekend, with 12 Peewee Select teams competing at Huntsville's McCulley Robertson Diamond Complex. On July 20 - 22, 48 teams will compete across three divisions in Rookie, Mosquito and Bantam at Peake Field and Kerr Park in Bracebridge, McCulley Robertson and, for the first time ever, Gravenhurst's Gull Lake and Wharf diamonds.
"We are overwhelmed with the growing interest in the annual Muskoka Cup tournament – we turned away at least 50 teams this year as divisions filled up quickly" commented Muskoka Hornets President, Peter Haynes. "The combination of great host venues in a vacation destination during the summer draws a lot of interest from teams throughout Ontario," added Haynes. Of the 60 teams participating in 2018, over half these teams attended previous Muskoka Cups.
The Hornets' Tournament Organizing Committee estimate that as many as 2,500 guests will visit Muskoka over the two weekend tournament dates. These visitors will bring in as much as $400,000 in revenue for Muskoka restaurants, hotels and local businesses.
Baseball in Southern Ontario continues to flourish. This interest extends to the Muskoka region, as the Hornets have over 350 participants in the program in 2018 across five travel teams and two house league programs in Huntsville and Gravenhurst.
Please come out and support your Hornets representative teams this summer as they attempt to keep some Muskoka Cup hardware in the local community. Game One for the local Muskoka Hornets Peewee team will be 6 pm on Friday, June 29 at McCulley.
Full game schedule available at https://www.hornetsbaseball.ca/page/show/3887492-muskoka-cup-2018
I hope this note to our Muskoka Hornets membership finds you all in good health and making the best of the incredibly difficult COVID crisis.
I am writing today to provide an update on the status of the 2020 minor baseball season in Muskoka. Baseball Ontario recently announced an extension of the ban on all in person baseball activities until the end of May and will update this position as new information comes from Health officials and communities. The Board of the Muskoka Hornets is following guidance from Baseball Ontario, but it seems unlikely ANY baseball will be played before July 1st.
Despite the uncertain outlook, The Board continues to plan for a July start to the season. For our house league program, this may mean that we run the season until September and thus end a little later than is custom for house league programs in our region. For YSBA travel baseball, it is also possible that seasons are extended until Thanksgiving, even if this causes some conflicts with fall sports.
As for on field changes to the game that help to foster a safe play environment, there have been many suggestions made across minor baseball organizations in North America. Should we be able to get back on field, then we plan to use a best practices combination of player and spectator distancing as well as enlisting the help of some of our parents to keep player areas clean and disinfected. Naturally, hand shakes and high fives will be forbidden, but perhaps replaced with new socially-distanced forms of celebration.
All that said, as the medical professionals are quick to point out, the virus sets the timetable, so all we can do is plan accordingly. If we do move ahead with a season and yet some Hornets families are unable to or uncomfortable with risk, then we totally understand should you wish to pull out of baseball this year and will provide refunds in accordance with Board directives. Also, season fees will be adjusted to reflect any reduction to normal operations.
Finally, when COVID hit in February, our registrations stopped dead in its tracks. Should we move forward with a season, we understand that we will receive many late registrants and are totally cool with this outcome as we want to be as flexible as possible given the fluidity of the situation.
Please let me know should you have any questions. For now, we hope our players are keeping busy and safe and hope to see you on the diamond at some point this summer.
Yours in baseball,
The Muskoka Hornets will host a coaching clinic from 9 am to 12 pm on Saturday, January 26 at the Gravenhurst Public School.
This session is open to any coach in the Hornets program or others interested in learning more about baseball coaching and will be interactive and focused on skill development.
This session is free of charge - please contact Peter Haynes at email@example.com if interested in registering.
The Muskoka Hornets organisation is in need of volunteers to help with score keeping at the 13th Annual Original Pond Hockey Classic at the Gravenhurst Wharf.
The event takes place Saturday February 9th and the more volunteers we can drum up, the more funds raised for our program. Volunteers must be a minimum of 15 years of age.
Please contact Laura at Laurazipay@sympatico.ca if you are interested in helping out.