Still in the shadow of COVID, the Junior Baseball League of Nassau (JBLN) is set to stage its first full season since the deadly pandemic reached the Western Hemisphere and the 34th season of youth baseball in total. A girls softball component complements the boys baseball activities.
A grand opening of the 2023 season is set for this coming Saturday at the JBLN’s Field of Dreams Complex at St. Andrew’s School in Nassau East. An opening ceremony will be held after the march-in of athletes, at 10 a.m., and a full slate of games are set to follow.
The league announced that 32 baseball teams and five girls softball teams, comprising 500 boys and girls, will be competing in the 2023 season, which will run from January to June, 2023. There are seven divisions (age groups) – Tee Ball (six-and-under – 6U) Division, Coach Pitch (eight-and-under – 8U) Division, Minor (10-and-under – 10U) Division, Major (12-and-under – 12U) Division, Junior (14-and-under – 14U) Division, Senior (15-and-over – 15O) Division, and Girls Softball (15-and-over – 15O) Division.
“We’re looking forward to a productive season starting up again out of the pandemic,” said league commissioner Shane Albury yesterday. “What’s really intriguing is that there are a lot of new players and coaches as well as a lot of returning players. There is a lot of new blood in the league with respect to players and coaches and that is good. That shows us that we are growing. We have more teams and more sponsors and we look forward to an awesome opening and getting games started. So far, everything is on point and we are all excited to get the league started.”
JBLN will celebrate the opening of the new season on Saturday with a parade of all 37 teams competing.
All players are required to attend the opening day ceremony in full uniform and should report to the fields by 9:15 a.m. At 9:45 a.m., all teams will assemble in the area north of the concession stand for the march-in of teams. The teams will be introduced in order of the age group of their respective divisions, beginning with the Tee Ball Division and ending with Girls Softball.
This is the first opening ceremony for the league in three years – going all the way back to pre-COVID.
Immediately following the opening ceremony, at approximately 11:30 a.m., team pictures will be taken on the Little League Field. Following that, games will commence on all fields, starting at 12 noon.
Dignitaries expected to attend the opening ceremony include Minister of Health and Wellness Dr. Michael Darville along with Deputy Permanent Secretary in the ministry Tim Munnings, Bahamas Olympic Committee (BOC) President Romell Knowles, Bahamas Baseball Association (BBA) President Sam Rodgers, Bahamas Softball Federation (BSF) President Jennifer Isaacs-Dotson and representatives of corporate sponsors of the league.
During the passing of COVID-19, the 2019-2020 season was shut down and practically the entire 2020-2021 season was lost. Even a portion of the beginning of the 2021-2022 season was missed.
A full season of baseball and softball games is planned for this year.
JBLN is the oldest organization in youth baseball in the country, having started in 1989 with 30-plus players and now with an enrollment of about 500.