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Saskatoon Berries compete in Regina for opening season

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Saskatoon Berries compete in Regina for opening season

Saskatoon Berries stretch before practice before their opening game against the Regina Red Sox. (Shane Clausing/650 CKOM)

After a year of planning and recruiting on and off the field, baseball fans in Saskatoon will be overjoyed to welcome their newest sports team to town.

Today in Regina – the newest member of the WCBL (Western Canadian Baseball League) – the Saskatoon Berries play their first season opener against the Regina Red Sox at Currie Field.

“It's great that it's finally happening,” manager Joe Carnahan said on Thursday before his club's first game. “(The excitement) and energy in the city is just getting stronger and it's going to be a lot of fun.”

The WCBL is a league that invites players who play college baseball in the United States to play baseball during the summer after school is out, and also allows local players to play at home.

Carrines Field

Carrines Field is decked out in purple and prepares to welcome the Saskatoon Berries for their inaugural season. (Shane Clausing/650 CKOM)

The inaugural edition of the Berries will feature eight players from Saskatchewan – six of whom were born in Saskatoon.

Nolan Sparks is one of the Saskatoon players who will get the opportunity to play at home in front of family and friends. He plays in the outfield and said he is looking forward to what will be a new experience for everyone.

“I'm just excited for everyone and all the people in Saskatoon,” Sparks said. “The field looks great and the uniforms and jerseys we got look amazing, so we just can't wait to get started.”

He feels that people across the city are excited to have a baseball team for the first time since the Yellow Jackets disbanded in 2014.

“The most Berries hats I've ever seen was at the Blades game the other day, and I probably saw 300 to 400 Berries hats,” he explained. “It just means a lot to me and I'm happy for the city and all the players, too.”

Sparks said all the players are getting along great, as most of them only moved to town last week.

Carter Beck is from Carnduff, SK and also plays outfield. He said he also gets along well with everyone, but admitted he is still trying to remember everyone's name.

“It was good. It's always a little different when you join a new team because you have to remember the guys' names, but after a few bus rides all the guys are good together and it's going to be good,” Beck said.
Beck added that he calls one player on the team “Nardo,” but said before practice Thursday that he did not yet know his real name.

Sparks hopes that as a member of the Berries, this team will become something the kids can look up to.

“I grew up going to Yellow Jackets games, taking it all in and idolizing those players,” he said. “Hopefully we can be role models for the kids in the community and try our best to win as many ball games as we can. That means a lot to us.”

Saskatoon Berries sponsor Baseball Saskatoon’s junior teams during the 2024 season

Carnahan said it means a lot to him and the players to have the opportunity to build something new for Saskatoon.

“Everyone is excited, especially the local guys,” he explained. “They're really looking forward to playing at home and representing their city, and all the guys there are excited about the opportunity to build something and make their mark right away.”

Carnahan added that his team is athletic and has solid pitchers and good hitters.

Opening day at Currie Field against the Red Sox is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m., followed by an afternoon game in Regina at 2 p.m. on Sunday.

The Berries have some time to recover before playing their first home game against the Red Sox on Tuesday at 7 p.m.