If you (re)build it, they will come

Seaway Surge coach Jason Broad shows off the renovated ball diamond on the Morrisburg Waterfront.

Morrisburg to host two Seaway Surge tournaments.

MORRISBURG – The efforts to rebuild the baseball programs in South Dundas have continued over the past few years. The fruit of that rebuilding has been a renewed interest, more teams, and improved facilities. The big payoff for the Seaway Surge AA baseball club, is they will be hosting a tournament on their home diamond. And not just one tournament but two.

The Surge are hosting a 12-team Bantam tournament this coming weekend from July 6-8th, and an 8-team tournament Minor-Midget the following weekend.

“It’s great to be able to have games here at home,” said coach and volunteer Jason Broad. “With the regional teams, and it being double-A, there is going to be some great baseball played here the next two weeks.”

This is the third year the Surge has run a tournament in the area, usually with games being hosted in Winchester and South Gower.

“We couldn’t have expanded to 12 teams for the tournament without this diamond being upgraded,” Broad said.

Teams from Toronto, Montreal, and Ottawa will battle in the three pool tournament. Morrisburg will host three games on Friday and five games on Saturday. The playoffs on Sunday will be held in South Gower and Winchester.

The upgrade to the Morrisburg diamond started in the spring and was being finished up this week.

“We hosted a baseball field maintenance course in the spring,” Broad said. “That led to looking at upgrades here, and working with Ben [Macpherson] at South Dundas.”

Broad said that over 180 tonnes of sod and soil were removed from the diamond edges, which were expanded and reshaped for the regulation 90 foot distance between the bases. Sand, clay and “red silt sand clay mixture” were then installed. The bleachers were repainted, new player benches installed, and the bull pens cleaned up. Other work included fixing up the fences, adding a plastic cap to all fences, and building a proper pitchers mound.

“That mound has clay bricks as its base, so the pitchers can dig in when they want to,” said Broad.

The cost of the upgrades was paid for by the municipality, with Broad, Matt McCooeye, and some other volunteers kicking in some sweat equity.

“A lot of sweat equity,” Broad quipped. He beamed when talking about what it means to have the Surge play in Morrisburg.

“When we go to other parks to play, the view is usually a farmer’s field, or some building. Where else can you go and play baseball with a view like we have here on the [St. Lawrence] river?”

He said that the benefit of fixing up the diamond isn’t just about hosting the tournaments, or for only the Surge.

“The Pioneers could play some games down here, and we can play more baseball here with the Surge teams.”

This tournament could see a real rebirth of great baseball in this area, and usher in a fresh wave of baseball enthusiasm.

“I love driving by and seeing kids out there after school with a ball and a bat playing pickup: that, for me, is what it’s all about.”