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Softball season underway

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, July 13, 2011

RANKIN INLET - The Rankin Inlet Co-ed Softball League began a new season this past week.

Taking to the diamond this season in the five-team loop are the Titans, M&T Enterprises, Mighty Squad, Inukshuk Cons and Sam's Strikeforce.

League president Robert Connelly said one of the highlights of this year's season will be the arrival of artificial turf for the ball diamond's infield.

He said although the turf will arrive in the hamlet this summer, it will be too late to have in place before the beginning of the 2012 season.

"Our league made a $25,000 donation to the hamlet's recreation program to purchase the artificial turf," said Connelly.

"We were hoping the artificial turf would be sent on the first barge, but, unfortunately, we were notified that wasn't going to happen.

"We have one of the best fields in Nunavut, and it's one of only two regulation sized fields in the territory.

"It's a great field to play on, and we're making it better with the installation of the turf."

Connelly said the new turf will eliminate the majority of crazy bounces in the infield and also help reduce the risk of injury.

He said the turf's consistent surface will aid infielders, batters and base runners alike.

"The turf will stay in place, once it's installed, and we worked with the hamlet to purchase a tarp to cover it during the winter.

"We've been assured of its durability by the manufacturers, but it hasn't been installed in a Northern setting in the past.

"We're the trial run in Nunavut and the hamlet will be gauging its success to look at, maybe, doing the same for the outdoor soccer field.

"We're very happy about getting artificial turf and extremely hopeful we'll get a long life out of it."

Connelly said the Calm Air Cup tournament will be held in August, although an exact date has not been set.

He said Rankin teams eagerly anticipate the annual event because it brings the opportunity to play against other communities.

"The top Rankin team in the Calm Air Cup will advance to the territorial tournament in Iqaluit during the September long weekend.

"We're encouraged by the size of the teams in our league this year, which should mean less defaults during the regular season and a rise in the level of play in the league.

"It's great to see the level of competition increase, but our first priority remains keeping the league casual and fun during the regular season.

"The competition level increases in the playoffs, and after round-robin play in the Calm Air Cup, but our focus is still to encourage people to come out and have fun playing softball in a recreational league that doesn't get overly competitive."

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