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Diamonds jam puts Woodbridge Warriors' Little League plans on hold
April 11, 2017
John Cudmore  

A long-existing softball program in Woodbridge hopes to convince the City of Vaughan to change its policy regarding the allocation of playing facilities.

The Woodbridge (Warriors) Softball Association has started a petition to encourage the city to amend its Community Service Organization policy in order to access diamonds and help accommodate the addition of Little League Canada baseball to its lineup.

The Warriors, who have an affiliation to Little League Canada Softball, have unsuccessfully attempted to locate fields to enhance programming but have been shut out by the policy which provides right of refusal to existing programming.

That means access to primary diamonds is currently held by the City of Vaughan Baseball Association which offers softball and baseball for youths up to the age of 21 years.

Historically a coed program with a focus on house leagues, the Warriors hope to add a baseball program affiliated to Little League Canada in order to maintain appeal to players to remain in the program.

“What it comes down to if we want status is we have to ask the existing organization for it,” said Warriors’ president John Romano last week. “They say ‘No’. CVBA will offer a merger but not all our values align with theirs.”

The CVBA, known as the Vikings, offers baseball and softball with a total enrolment of 2,100 anticipated for the 2017 season, according to its president Dirk Drieberg. He confirms his program, which is an 1990s amalgamation of the Woodbridge Knights (baseball) Maple Softball Association, is willing to work with the Warriors.

“We’ve had discussions with them,” Drieberg confirmed Monday. “Everything is on the table. Our approach is how we can come together between the two of us. It’s not about our numbers or their numbers.”

At present, there is a crunch for diamond time as baseball’s popularity mirrors the success of the Toronto Blue Jays. Drieberg confirmed his organization is moving toward triple time slots for evening games and practices and into increased weekend play.

“Baseball is booming and there just are not enough fields anywhere,” said Drieberg. “The inventory just isn’t there. We talk about facilities but you just can’t go and build them tomorrow.”

The Warriors have existed since 1958, said Romano. He said approximately 160 players are expected to register this season.

“A lot of people love the convenience we offer,” said Romano. “We like our coed softball program. Parents come to us every year and wonder why they have to leave. They don’t want to leave and we don’t want them to leave.

“It’s very slim pickings for fields. We need Vaughan Vikings to give their blessing for the city to amend the CSO policy.

“We want to give kids a second choice when it comes to playing baseball, but it’s David versus Goliath situation when they have all the power. Where families are at the point of being forced to do something with no options is wrong.

“Right now, if you want to play baseball in Vaughan you have to do so with whatever product they offer.”