As the Santa Clara Baseball League (SCBL) kicks off in less than a week, the Portage Padres hope to break through this year.

Last season saw the Padres get eliminated in a winner-take-all game three against the Neepawa Cubs in the first round of the playoffs. Club Manager Andrew Moar says the weather's starting to make the squad itch for game time.

 "We're all excited about the season coming up and for winter to be over. It's always nice to get out there and play some ball."

The Padres finished last season with an even 7-7 record, but they were dominant at home with a record of 6-2. Moar adds that this year will have a bit of a new look compared to previous years.

"We lost some of our veteran players last year," explains Moar. "We're turning it over with some of the younger guys this year, so we're excited to see how this year goes."

While the league can be seen as some friendly competition with the local towns, whichever team finishes the regular season with the best record will head to a provincial tournament. This means that in some years, the team that wins the championship won't represent the SCBL.

The Padres will welcome the Austin A's to Rotary Republic of Manitobah Park for their season opener on May 15. This game will set the tone for the season and provide an early opportunity for the team to make the push for provincials.