By James Tubb
Southern Alberta Newspapers
From working on their timetables to improving velocity on their fastball, Prairie Rose students will have the opportunity to have baseball as part of their education.
Prairie Rose Public Schools has announced a partnership with the Medicine Hat Mavericks to launch the Mavericks School of Baseball. The sports program is specifically designed for students in Grades 4-9 and will be available at several schools throughout the rural division.
The Maverick School of Baseball, which will start at Senator Gershaw, Irvine and Schuler schools this spring, integrates baseball training into the regular school curriculum outside regular physical education instruction.
It’s a school partnership that South Alberta High School principal and South Alberta Hockey Academy general manager Darren MacMillan says has been long in the works and he is excited for.
“When people think about sports in the city, the two big ones they think about are the Medicine Hat Tigers and the Medicine Hat Mavericks,” MacMillan said. “We’re already going on six years with Willie Desjardins, and through association the Medicine Hat Tigers, and now to add Greg Morrison and the Medicine Hat Mavericks to that, is just amazing.”
Morrison, owner and general manager of the Mavericks, will serve as program director and head coach of the school, bringing his 12-year professional baseball career and experience to the role. Morrison played in the Los Angeles Dodgers and Toronto Blue Jays organizations, accumulating more than 1,000 hits and 100 home runs, and has run the Mavericks since 2008.
He’s looking forward to getting baseball bats and gloves into kids hands at a younger age and sharing his passion for the game in the new school. “Just getting them enjoying playing catch, whether it’s with a classmate at school, that they will build that confidence that they know they can do what they want to do in regards to some of the after-school programming or playing in their league,” Morrison said. “I’m very excited for it, there’s nothing like playing catch, and to be able to do that on school time is pretty special for these kids. Likewise, for me to be out of school in the mid afternoon is pretty exciting for us.”
Morrison will be joined by coach Chad Martin who played U.S. College baseball and has served on high school baseball staffs for 25 years. He’s worked with the Mavs since 2009 and is a teacher at Senator Gershaw School.
Prairie Rose chief financial officer Ryan Boser says the school board is looking forward to the opportunity for students.
“We thank Greg and the Medicine Hat Mavericks organization, we value partnerships with our community members, especially when they can enhance the programming our students get,” Boser. “That’s really what we’re all about and that’s what we’ve been trying to do over the last number of years. So we’re very pleased and we’re excited.”
In a brief press conference at Athletic Park, Morrison said the program will feature baseball skill development and baseball-specific performance training to help develop the skills of the sports while also developing healthy routines that lead to active lifestyles. It will also feature some of the same lessons Prairie Rose teaches at its High Performance Hockey Academy.
“Along with the baseball-specific programming that Greg and his staff will be delivering, we’ll also have much of the other stuff we have at the school level. So nutrition, sports, psychology, leadership, multi-sport, mindfulness, mental health, those types of things will all be integrated into the program,” MacMillan said.
Details such as price are still being finalized and will be shared by Prairie Rose as soon as they are available.
An information night was held Jan. 16 at the Prairie Rose Public Schools division office at 6 p.m. for interested families.