Games between Unity and Wilkie in any sport are always circled on the calendar. They are two feisty opponents who know each other well, and that won't change Wednesday night in Unity as the two sides renew their Highway 14 rivalry with a North Saskatchewan River Baseball League matchup at 6:30.

Unity's Dan Feser is looking forward to the game between old foes.

"Of course it'll be a good ballgame, it's Unity versus Wilkie," chuckled Feser. "It's good to have Wilkie back in the league, they were gone for a year." said Feser, commending Wilkie's rich baseball history as well. "They have some young guys in there trying to find their way with the older guys. I think Mike Sittler is pitching tonight, so you can come out and heckle Mike if you want."

Feser expects a good one tonight. The Unity Cardinals are second place in the league with a 9-2 record, coming off a 3-2 loss to the first place North Battleford Beavers on Monday. Wilkie is 3-8 after a slow start, their most recent action being a Sunday doubleheader where they beat Lashburn 9-5, before losing to Lloydminster 10-9 in the second game. 

"Wilkie is starting to find their way a bit. The Cardinals just hit and hit and hit. It'll be fun, it's always fun to have Wilkie and Unity together for anything really."

Feser follows the league closely. He's an individual highly involved in Unity Cardinals baseball, and will be on hand for the game not only as a spectator, but a promotor of the Cardinal Diamond Revitalization Project. 

"This is our chance to give the area the ball diamond that we think it deserves."

As you can see above, there will be a fundraiser tonight with all proceeds going towards the diamond revitalization project. The money will join recent proceeds from the team's slo-pitch tournament, among other contributions towards what should be a fairly lofty goal.

The fundraising has been great, but Wednesday's game against Unity is a great opportunity to learn more about the project itself, the main reason WestCentralOnline reached out to Feser, the vice president of the project. 

What threw the project into hyperdrive was a major contribution from a local business.

"Opportunity knocked in the form of North West Terminal giving us some land, north of our school field, so we have three years of growing crops on that land with proceeds going towards the new diamond." said Feser.

Feser and Unity Minor Ball president Reagan L'Heureux started the project idea as a miniscule way to get some renovations done, but it snowballed into something much bigger and better once the extra fundraising came about.

"When the land came available, all of the sudden the crew came together real quick. Cory Wildeman is the old veteran for the Cardinals, one of those guys that will play well past his usefulness, but I mean he's excited." joked Feser, who continued. "Grabbed Nathan Kuhn, former Cardinal and big farmer in the area to help me with the field. He jumped in with both feet. Ward Snell is a guy who gets things done."

Another important addition to the program was the town parks and recreation person. Thankfully Dan knows Lisa Feser well enough to get two thumbs up.

"Don't want to fight with her in 32 years of marriage, so it's good to have her on our side, she's fighting with us and not against us." laughed Feser, also wanting to give a shoutout to Brad Sloboda as the growth years liaison.

With everyone on board, it's now time to execute on the ever growing plan. Feser is excited to see everything falling into place.

"The project has kept growing. I just wanted a grass infield, a green monster, and a new fence. We decided we have one chance at this, so lets do it right." said Feser, as an open suggestion box for the field gave them tons of great ideas, and now it's time to cement those plans.

Feser Cards.jpg Feser is a key part of Cardinals baseball (File Photo)

Unity residents will have a chance to see the blueprints first hand at tonight's Cardinals-Brewers matchup. The diamond will see some landscaping as part of the first stage, and then a few years of work to complete all of the bigger features.

"Show people where the bleachers are going to be, the beer gardens, the bathrooms, the clubhouse if we get that far, and the lights."

Feser has spent a lot of years helping out with minor, junior, and senior ball in Unity. There has been countless positives out of that time, but if there was one thing to change, it would be Unity's ability to host bigger and better events.

That will all change with the upcoming renovations.

"We've had opportunities to host some pretty cool stuff. Westerns, even Nationals was floated, but we just didn't have the facility to do it." said Feser.

Sure they host some great competition already, including an area AAA team, but Feser is eyeing the ability to host the mentioned tournaments, along with things like WCBL games.

"This is our chance to give the area the ball diamond that we think it deserves."

Dubbing it the "field of dreams", a renovated diamond would go a long ways towards preserving baseball history in Unity, and setting up even more to come throughout the years. 

"My oldest son was at Nationals last year, and people still talk about the Unity Cardinals of the 60s and 70s. This diamond is 60 years old, doesn't owe us anything, and we thought that was pretty cool," he continued. "People ask if you see Earl Flanagan anymore, no we don't unfortunately. Ed Ralston, yes we do... Ross Morrison; people still remember the Unity Cardinals from their hay-day, and we got a good name in the province, and apparently across Canada."

If the next 60 years can be as successful as the last 60, a freshly renovated diamond is a no-brainer for a community like Unity.

"If these opportunities are going to come to us, we want to be ready to accept them."

Not only do they want to build a diamond that will last, but one that players can't wait to play on. It will house baseball from the U15 level all the way to senior. It will take place in three phases over three years, and then hopefully the Cardinals can reap the benefits for decades to come.

"We always bug Cory Wildeman that once he strikes out the side in provincials to wrap things up, we will have the bulldozer come in right after."

The landscaping will indeed begin after the final pitch of the season, as the first step will see Unity turning their diamond in a new direction in anticipation for the rest of the renovations to follow. They will have a playable diamond in 2025, have the bleachers among other features added for 2026, and then 2027 will see the installation of the lights.

Unity is a baseball town, and the upcoming plans will surely make it more fun, and accessible for everyone. Follow along with the project through their Facebook page HERE.