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Layritz to host 2025 Canadian Little League championship, five years after originally scheduled

The tournament, which was cancelled due to the pandemic, is scheduled to run July 30 to Aug. 7, 2025.
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Layritz Little League hopes to add 3,000 temporary bleachers to its park for the 2025 Canadian Little League Championship. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

The walk-off homer comes to those who wait. 

The Canadian Little League baseball championship tournament has been re-awarded to Layritz Park for 2025, five years after originally scheduled. The 2020 national ­championship planned for the Saanich park was pushed back to 2021, and that was also subsequently ­cancelled, due to the pandemic.

“It’s been a long time coming,” said Brittney Crump, volunteer media and communications co-ordinator for Layritz Little League.

Nothing in youth sports rivals the annual Little League World Series in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania, which attracts crowds of up to 40,000 for games that are broadcast internationally.

The CBC broadcasts the medal rounds of the Canadian championship with the winner advancing to represent the country at Williamsport. Previous plans were to ring Layritz Park with 3,000 temporary bleachers for the cancelled 2020 and 2021 championships. The old organizing committee has moved on, however.

“We are starting from scratch but the plan remains similar,” said Crump.

“We are redeveloping our relationship with Saanich.”

The municipality is on board with the tournament, which will run July 30 to Aug. 7, 2025, and is expected to bring more than 400 players, coaches, umpires, and family members from across the country.

“Saanich is proud to support the hard work of Layritz Little League in bringing this national event to our community,” ­Saanich mayor Dean Murdock said in a statement

“I look forward to seeing many of our residents participating as hosts, volunteers and spectators in August 2025.”

Graham Plumb, president of Layritz Little League, said he hopes hosting the national tournament will act as a catalyst for increasing park infrastructure, including indoor training and ­on-site washroom facilities.

The Island has not hosted the national tournament since 1991. The 2022 nationals, the first since 2019, were held in Calgary. This year’s nationals are in Regina and in Kingston, Ont., in 2024.

Teams from B.C. have been dominant and represented Canada in the Little League World Series 28 times, including Vancouver Little Mountain in 2022. Teams from B.C. have won the Canadian championship every year since 2005, except for 2013, when East Nepean of Ottawa was the national champion. Major-leaguers from B.C. to have played in the Little League World Series include Michael Saunders from Gordon Head in 1999, Adam Loewen of Kennedy-Surrey in 1996 and Jason Bay of Trail in 1990.

No Canadian team has won the Little League World Series. The only Canadian team to reach the final was Stoney Creek, Ont., in 1965. Layritz, however, had built a powerhouse team in 2020 and was looking to become the first team to win from Canada, and to become the third Island team to get to Williamsport, following Esquimalt-Vic West in 1974 and Gordon Head in 1999, the latter featuring Saunders. Those plans, and for hosting, were scuttled by the pandemic and those players were denied their opportunity.

A new group of Layritz players, those who will be 11-12 in 2025, will host and bat in their stead.

cdheensaw@timescolonist.com