Neepawa Farmers react to Reston Rockets decision


By Eoin Devereux

The Neepawa Farmers understand all too well how difficult it can be to put a competitive club out on the baseball diamond.

The Reston Rockets have informed the Manitoba Senior Baseball League they will not be able to field a team for 2015. The Rockets were the 2013 MSBL champions and recently represented Manitoba at the Canadian Senior Championship. The loss of the Rockets leaves the league with four clubs playing next season, the Neepawa Farmers, Oak River Dodgers and two teams in Brandon, the Cloverleafs and the Marlins.

The decision, according to Rockets Manager Ross Tycoles, simply came down a lack of players in the region.

“The final thing is that the seven or eight core guys that I have, some of them are moving away,” said Tycoles. “That coupled with really not having a minor ball system in our area to support the needs and the quality of the MSBL is a problem.”

Neepawa Farmers Field Manager Mike Levandosky said they could relate, as rural areas do face challenges when it comes to consistently fielding competitive teams.

“There are some good ball players around the region but it can be a struggle with player commitments and availability at times.” Levandosky said. “It’s easier for Brandon because of its size but for communities like ours, Oak River and Reston obviously, the availability of players of this caliber isn’t the same.”

Levandosky adds Reston’s decision, while disappointing, will not deter their preparations for the 2015 MSBL season. He is confident the league will remain strong with four clubs.

As for Reston, Tycoles said the community is very proud of what the Rockets were able to accomplish in its short period of existence.

“For our time in the league, we were in the [MSBL] finals four times. We won a couple of times. Competition was always good and we grew from a young team to a mature team.”  said Tycoles.

“We do feel proud. Winning two [MSBL titles] in the past three years. At the Nationals, it was our last hurrah and it was a pretty good way to go.