Len Banner has watched his son play baseball at Lambrick Park for more than 20 years.
“We’re a pretty die-hard ball family,” his son, Aaron, said as he took a breather at Friday night’s Victoria Mavericks Baseball League game between the Dodgers and the Brewers. Aaron’s son, six-year-old Lucas, was busy acting as the Brewers’ batboy for the night.
Aaron, 39, plays for the Brewers in the senior league. He’s played competitive ball at the park since he was 16, and he’s been in the Mavericks’ league since his late teens, with his parents catching many of the games.
The talent in the league now is better than ever, both he and his father agreed.
“This league is way better than since he first came in,” Len said. “There’s so much talent.”
The league, made up of six teams, features two former professional players, including Los Angeles Dodgers fourth-round pick Kyle Orr, as well as 48 athletes who’ve played college baseball. Nearly 20 are active collegiate players.
“There’s lots of good youth baseball in Victoria, and it shows here,” Aaron said.
He’s debated hanging up the cleats, but the talent in the league and the friendships he’s developed keep him coming back.
“It’s all love of the game, and that’s what everyone is here for,” he said.
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Twenty-two-year-old Zane Takhar, a middle infielder with the Dodgers who played college baseball in Oklahoma, said the league’s talent has leaped immensely over the last few years. He returned for his third season in the league this year, after spending the past two summers with a team in Edmonton.
“I haven’t played for two years because I was away in Edmonton the last two. It’s a major jump,” he said. “Since I’ve been back, it’s a lot better this year.”
Aaron, who describes the league as “flourishing,” credits the work of the executive for the league’s current state.
“They’ve inserted a lot of energy.”
League president, Jeremy Campbell, who’s 26, is in his second year in the position. He plays and coaches the league’s Athletics team, writes schedules, organizes umpires and scorekeepers, and even mows the infield.
“I love it. I come out here all the time,” Campbell said, noting his love for the league started when he was seven or eight years old.
Just like Aaron’s son, Campbell was a batboy.
The Victoria Mavericks league runs most nights throughout the summer at Lambrick Park in Saanich.