Play Ball 2006! Mantioba Baseball Association
In the fourth of 10 provincial association profiles, Baseball Canada speaks with Manitoba Baseball Association President Ken Sharpe about the upcoming 2006 season.
BASEBALL CANADA (BCAN) – In no particular order, what five events or initiatives are you looking forward to the most as you are in the midst of kicking off the 2006 baseball season?
1. Baseball Canada National Senior Championship: Brandon, Manitoba
KEN SHARPE (KS) – 1. Because Québec wasn’t able to host it, the tournament wasn’t awarded to Brandon until this past spring. It’s an awfully big thing to try to organize in a matter of three or four months, but it’s moving along nicely.
Brandon was very excited about the opportunity. The city has a tremendous history of putting together tournaments like this. It seems as though the city is just about the right size at around 40,000 people because everybody really gets into it. In some bigger centres there are so many other things going on that one event might get lost in the mix.
This will be a major event in Brandon and I’m confident that it’s going to be successful. It’s just going to be a lot of work in a very short period of time.
BCAN – How comforting is it to know that this event was awarded to a community that is very sport-minded and that has a wealth of experience putting major events together?
KS – It’s wonderful. They’re able to get off the ground very quickly and get funds in the bank very quickly so that they’re not waiting before getting the initial preparations underway. They have a lot of people involved in the planning and organization to make sure it’s going to be a wonderful tournament.
Brandon has Westbran stadium, which was built for the World Youth Championships in 1991. It holds about 5,000 people and during the youth championships they sold out every game. We’re going to hold as many games as possible at that stadium.
Although Brandon is hosting the majority of the games, we are also going to play some games in every one of the towns that are a part of our senior baseball league.
BCAN – Why did you decided to have all of these communities host games rather than exclusively hold the tournament in one central location?
KS – We’re really trying to get teams in the senior league more involved. In the league there are six teams – two from Brandon and four from smaller surrounding communities (Killarney, Oak River, Birtle, Neepawa). Those communities themselves are not big enough to ever have the opportunity to host a national tournament, but to get one game will be special. It’ll be the event of the season for those communities. I think it’ll be a lot of fun.
It also kind of takes the pressure off of Brandon a little bit because that’s four games they don’t have to worry about. On short notice, that’s a lot of help.
2. Changes to provincial championship format
KS - We’ve changed our provincial championship around a little bit. What we used to do was put together tournaments where the top four or five teams would compete for the right to go to the national championships. On the long weekend of August we’ll bring in 12 to 15 teams from various regions and try to get all of the teams into these tournaments. When you have five or six teams it’s nice, but it’s a lot more exciting when you have a dozen.
I think the games will be more exciting and we’ll be able to create a more event-like atmosphere around these tournaments. For example, if you go into a small town of about 2,000 people and you’re brining in 12 bantam teams it makes quite a difference in that community. We tried this at the midget level last year and now we’re going to do it at all levels.
My long-term goal with this is to be able to select a provincial team from each age group to go the nationals. Because this is in its infancy we’re just beginning to talk about that possibility. As opposed to just having the top four or five teams there, we might have tremendous players that we otherwise wouldn’t have had the opportunity to evaluate because their teams never got out of their region. It’ll just give everybody a little bit more exposure.
BCAN – Now that you will be bringing in all of these extra teams to those tournaments does that change the format of competition at these events?
KS – Yes. There won’t simply be two pools of teams now. We wouldn’t want to have pools of six or eight teams, especially when you get into the Bantam and Pee Wee age groups where you have restrictions on the use of your pitchers. We’re looking at going to three-pool or four-pool formats so that we aren’t completely wearing out pitchers.
3. Individual Membership Fees
KS – One of the things that we’re moving to this year that I think is really going to help us is introducing individual membership fees, and this is in response to what’s going on at Baseball Canada. It’s been a big job for our office because we used to have team fees and now we want to be able to identify every player.
Firstly, it will help direct the cost to the appropriate places and secondly it will help get away from having 18 players on one team. I think we had some teams that were a little bit bigger than what I would have liked to see. In my mind that’s just not the way to go.
We also want to make sure that when the “fee per player” system goes through at Baseball Canada that we’ll already be there and we’ll be ready for it.
4. Rally Cap Program
KS – Last year we ran our Rally Cap Program as a pilot project in a couple of places and we had really good response. This year we ordered 1,000 caps and after speaking with our executive director recently, it looks like we’re not nearly going to have enough because we have a bunch of areas that are really excited about it and are going to run the program. We hope that this is really going to add to our participation numbers. If we can run this properly and get more kids involved at the introductory level it’s going to help with our Pee-Wee numbers and beyond that.
It’s a very structured program that makes things easier on coaches because the drills are there and you only teach a certain skill set. In Manitoba, it would be nice to say that we have an abundance of coaches, but we don’t. In a lot of the smaller communities, we have parents that are basically given a group of 10 to 12 kids for the season and it can be overwhelming. They might not know where to go and what to teach them. This program tells you exactly which skills the kids need to learn and what you should do to teach them those skills. It makes things a lot easier for everybody.
Hats off to Peter Craig from Nova Scotia and the rest of his committee that came up with this because this is a program that’s going to work very well.
See http://www.baseball.ca/eng_doc.cfm?DocID=212&Related=13 for more information about Baseball Canada’s Rally Cap Program.
5. Initiation Coach Certification
KS – We’ve been getting a lot of positive feedback about the new National Coaching Certification Program initiatives, so we’re trying to push it and encourage more coaches to get that online training and acquire more knowledge.
The biggest single issue in baseball is good coaching, and we are lacking trained coaches in Manitoba. Anything we can do to make it easier for potential coaches to gain at least the basic knowledge they need to feel more comfortable on the field is great.
This program is a simple, basic, easy thing to do. It’s done online and it gives you all of the essential tools that you need to become a good coach. Furthermore, it’s driven by Baseball Canada, which is what we need. There has to be a parent organization helping us along the way, giving us the guidance that we need and coming up with drills that really help the kids. These aren’t coming out of somebody’s backyard after thinking “hey this is a good idea”. All of this just lends to the credibility of your program.
See http://www.baseball.ca/eng_news_story.cfm?NewsID=811 for more information about the new NCCP program.
Want to learn more about Baseball Manitoba? Visit their website at www.mbbaseball.ca .
That wraps up this week's edition of Play Ball 2006! Come back next week as Baseball Canada sits down with Baseball Ontario President Don McKnight.
Schedule:May 1: Play Ball 2006! Baseball OntarioMay 8: Play Ball 2006! Baseball QuébecMay 15: Play Ball 2006! Baseball New BrunswickMay 22: Play Ball 2006! Baseball Nova ScotiaMay 29: Play Ball 2006! P.E.I. Amateur Baseball AssociationJune 5: Play Ball 2006! Baseball Newfoundland
National Junior Team Prospects Wrap up Training Camp With Loss to Braves
Baseball Canada’s National Junior Team prospects lost their final spring training game 15-6 to the Atlanta Braves, Saturday, at Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida.
The Braves pounded out 22 hits en route to their victory over the young Canadians, who now set their sights on the Dominican Summer League late in May. Of the 28 players who began camp, approximately 25 will move on to the Dominican Summer League, which will serve as the third of four steps in the selection process for the National Junior Team that will compete at the World Junior Championships in September.
“We’ve been down here long enough and we’ve seen a lot of these guys in October as well at the Fall Instructional League, so we’re pretty comfortable with who we’re going to be bringing,” said National Junior Team Head Coach Greg Hamilton. “I terms of finalizing this particular group of guys, that will happen within a week to 10 days from when we get back.”
Atlanta’s attack, Saturday, was furious and constant, scoring at least two runs in each of the first five innings. After the Braves jumped out to a 7-1 lead by the end of the third inning, the Canadians mounted a comeback with a five-run fourth to cut the lead to 7-6.
Jonathan Waltenbury (Bowmanville, Ont.) doubled in Tyson Gillies (Langley, B.C.) and Matt McCarney earned an RBI-single up the middle to make it 7-3. Leslie Williams (Scarborough, Ont.) followed with a two-run triple and later scored on a single from the bat of Mark Ellis (Maple Ridge, B.C.) to make it a one run ball game. That was as close as the Canadians would get as Atlanta continued to pour it on, answering in the bottom half of the fourth with their second of three consecutive three-run innings.
McCarney and Williams were both 1-for-3 with two RBI and one run scored while Gillies was 1-for-2 with two runs scored. Waltenbury went 1-for-2 with one RBI and a run scored. Ellis was 2-for-3 and David Narodowski (Vancouver, B.C.) was 1-for-3.
The National Junior Team prospects now have one month to prepare for the Dominican Summer League, which kicks off May 25th.
Errors spoil valiant effort by Canadian Juniors in Spring Training
Baseball Canada’s National Junior Team prospects committed five errors that led to five un-earned runs in a 6-3 defeat to the Detroit Tigers, Friday, spoiling what was otherwise a virtually flawless outing.
After Canada’s bats came alive in a spring training win over Lake Sumter Community College, Thursday, it was its pitching that dominated against the Tigers. Mehdi Djebbar (Montréal, Qué), Sean Mattson (Scarborough, Ont.) and Cory Hall (Regina, Sask.) combined for only seven hits, three walks and one earned run allowed while striking out nine Detroit batters.
Djebbar, a late addition to the spring training camp, which is being used as part of the selection process for the Canadian National Junior team that will compete at the 2006 World Junior AAA Baseball Championships this September, threw the first four innings, giving up three hits, no earned runs and one walk while striking out four.
Mattson was on the mound for the next three frames, giving up three hits and one walk while striking out three. The 6’0” right-hander was on the mound for five of Detroit’s six runs, only one of which was earned.
For the second straight outing, Hall was outstanding, throwing the final two innings with only one hit, one walk and three strikeouts.
The Tigers took a 2-0 lead in the second inning behind a throwing error and a double steal.
Jonathan Waltenbury (Bowmanville, Ont.) hit a one-out double in the bottom of the fourth and later scored on a single off the bat of Shayne Willson (Surrey, B.C.). Willson then advanced to third on a botched pick-off attempt and was driven in by a double by Kyle Orr (Victoria, B.C.) to tie the game, 2-2.
Detroit regained the lead on a three-run homerun in the top of the fifth to make it 5-2.
Canada’s best opportunity to get back into the game came in the second half of the fifth inning when, with one away, singles by Jordan Wideman (Mississauga, Ont.), Chad Stang (Surrey, B.C.) and David Narodowski (Vancouver, B.C.) loaded the bases. However the fifth batter of the inning, Olivier Bertrand, (Ste-Adèle, Qué.) grounded out into an inning ending 4-6-3 double play.
The two teams exchanged one more run a piece, with Canada scoring in the sixth and Detroit adding an insurance marker in the seventh.
Waltenbury and Willson were both 1-for-3 with one RBI and one run scored while Orr went 1-for-2 with one RBI to lead Canada’s offence.
Canada’s next and final spring training match-up comes against the Atlanta Braves on Saturday morning. Game time is scheduled for 10 a.m. EST.
Canadian Bats on Track in National Junior Team Spring Training Camp
Baseball Canada’s National Junior Team Head Coach Greg Hamilton is more than pleased with the way his prospects are swinging the bat at the team’s annual spring training Camp at Disney’s Wide World of Sports complex in Orlando, Florida.
The Canadian prospects, who are vying for a spot on the national team that will compete at the 2006 World Junior AAA Championships in Cuba this September, collected 14 hits, Wednesday, in an 8-3 loss against the University of Stetson Hatters.
“We’re really swinging the bats well,” said Hamilton. “We’re physically capable of getting 10 to 12 hits per game down here against professional and Division 1 competition and that’s pretty good. I’m really happy with the way we’re handling ourselves offensively.”
Canada got off to a slow start when the Hatters jumped out to a quick 6-0 lead in the bottom half of the first inning, but cruised from then on, outscoring the hatters 3-2 over the final 8 frames.
“We’re down here to figure out a few things so once in a while you’re going to give up the big innings,” said Hamilton. “You’re not coaching the same way as you would be if you were really trying to win games. Overall we’re getting better.”
Canada first got on the board in the third inning when Tyson Gillies (Langley, B.C.) led the inning off with an infield bunt and was driven in three batters later by a single to right from Kyle Orr (Victoria, B.C.). After advancing to third base on Orr’s single, Shayne Willson (Surrey, B.C.) was cashed in by an infield single by Mark Ellis (Maple Ridge, B.C.) to make it 8-2.
The Canadians added their final run in the top of the fourth thanks to a two-out RBI single to left by Brett Lawrie (Langley, B.C.) that allowed Kyle Gilligan (Toronto, Ont.) to score.
After left-handed starter Shane Davis (Belmont, Ontario) gave up all eight runs in 1.2 innings or work, Ryan Jenson (Langley, B.C.) and Drew Parker (Surrey, B.C.) stymied Stetson the rest of the way.
Jenson went 4.1 innings, only giving up one hit, while issuing a pair of walks and striking out one batter while Parker no-hit the Hatters over the final two innings.
“Ryan Jenson threw very well,” said Hamilton. “He really settled things down, which was the key for us. If anything, he really gave us an opportunity. Then Drew Parker came in and finished things up very nicely.”
Jonathan Waltenbury (Bowmanville, Ont.) was an offensive stud once again, going 3-for-5. Ellis went 2-for-3 with an RBI, Lawrie was 2-for-5 with an RBI and Willson was 2-for-4 with a run scored.
Canada’s next spring training match-up comes against the Lake Sumter Community College Lakers, Thursday afternoon. Game time is schedule for 3 p.m. EST. Jean-Francois Ricard (Saint Eustache, Qué.), Justin Robinson (Langley, B.C.) and Pierre Miville-Deschenes are expected to take to the mound for Canada.
Lawrie, Waltenbury lift Canadian Juniors to Spring Training Win
16-year-old Brett Lawrie (Langley, B.C.) belted a sixth inning homerun to deep centre field and drove in his second run of the game in the eighth to be the difference maker in Canada’s 5-3 comeback win over the Lake Sumter Community College Lakers, Thursday, at Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida.
Lawrie, the youngest player in Canada’s National Junior Team prospects spring training camp, was 3-for-4 on the day with two RBI and two runs scored. Jonathan Waltenbury (Bowmanville, Ont.), meanwhile, was just as impressive, going 1-for 3 with a three-run bomb to left-centre field in the fourth inning to account for Canada’s other three runs.
Together, the Canadian Junior Team’s version of the Bash Brothers, are hitting .439 with six runs scored and nine RBI over their last five spring training games.
After trailing 3-0 early, Cody Stang (Surrey, B.C.) got Canada’s three-run fourth inning started with a leadoff single. Lawrie followed with a single of his own, setting up the Waltenbury blast to tie the game.
Lawrie then hit a solo shot for the winning run in the sixth. With two away in the eighth inning, outfielder Matt McCarney (Kanata, Ont.) stole second base to get into scoring position and scored the insurance marker on a single from Lawrie.
Designated hitter Shayne Willson (Surrey, B.C.) was a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate for Canada.
Left-hander Justin Robinson (Langley, B.C.) and right-hander Pierre Miville-Deschesne (Candiac, Qué.) combined for six shutout innings in relief to preserve Canada’s win. Robinson, who threw the final three innings gave up three hits and struck out one while Miville-Deschesne no-hit the Lakers from the fourth to the sixth and struck out three.
Lake Sumter took the early lead against Canadian starting pitcher Jean-Francois Ricard (Saint Eustache, Qué.) thanks to a timely two-out RBI double in the first and a two-run triple in the second.
Canada’s next spring training match-up comes Friday afternoon against the Detroit Tigers. Game time is schedule for 1 p.m. EST.
Junior Team Prospects Showing Improvement With Every Spring Training Game
While most people were hunting for Easter eggs, devouring chocolate bunnies and feasting on turkey over the long weekend, Baseball Canada’s National Junior Team prospects were hungry to show they were good enough to make the squad that will represent Canada at the 2006 World Junior Baseball Championship.
Of the 28 players that kicked off the camp at Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida, 18 will eventually be selected for the World Championships.
The prospects played three games against professional instructional teams over the weekend, and have improved dramatically each time out.
In their first match-up against the Atlanta Braves, Saturday, the Canadians struck out 15 times in a 9-0 loss. However, with the experience of having played against professional players under their belts, Canada bounced back with a strong offensive effort against the Cleveland Indians.
Mark Ellis (Maple Ridge, B.C.) was a catalyst, leading the Canadians by going 3-for-4 at the plate including hitting a lead-off double in the bottom of the fifth. Ellis was then scored by a single from Matt McCarney (Kanata, Ont.), who was perfect 2-for-2 at the plate.
Jonathan Waltenbury (Bowmanville, Ont.) was 2-for-4 while, Leslie Williams (Scarborough, Ont.), Brett Lawrie (Langley, B.C.), Chris Dennis (Windsor, Ont.), Shayne Willson (Surrey, B.C.) and David Narodowski (Vancouver, B.C.) all collected one hit each.
Despite losing the game 17-1, Canadian head coach Greg Hamilton was pleased with his team’s effort with the bats.
“Any time you get 11 hits against pro pitching, you have to be happy about that,” said Hamilton.
Canada’s bats stayed hot in Monday’s 15-8 loss against the Houston Astros.
Waltenbury and Lawrie were once again right in the thick of things to lead the Canadian offence. Waltenbury was 2-for-4 with 2 RBI and 1 run scored while Lawrie was 2-for-5 with 2 runs scored and 1 RBI.
“For a kid that’s only 16 year of age and that has two years of eligibility left before being drafted he’s swinging the bat at a very advanced level thus far,” said Hamilton of Lawrie’s accomplishments early in camp. “He’s got some things to learn, obviously, because he’s so young, but he’s showing that he’s going to be a very good player."
Canada jumped out to an impressive 6-0 lead on the Astros thanks to a six-run third inning. With the bases loaded, Tyson Gillies (Langley, B.C.) knocked a single to left field that scored Kyle Gilligan (Toronto, Ont.) and Williams. Lawrie then singled in Narodowski and Waltenbury doubled to score Gillies to set up a two-run single from Kyle Orr (Victoria, B.C.) to make it 6-0.
Houston scored 3, 4 and 2 runs respectively in the next three innings and added a six-run inning of their own in the 8th, putting the game out of reach for Canada despite an RBI single by Waltenbury in the seventh and a homerun from Dennis in the eighth – The first for Canada in spring training.
Canada’s next spring training game comes Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. EST against the Cleveland Indians in a game, which will mark the halfway point in this year’s spring training.
Battling Injuries and Ailments
Baseball Canada’s National Junior Team prospects have had to battle more than professional players this long weekend as a series of injuries and ailments has come to cut into the team’s depth at camp.
Steve Anderson (Markham, Ont.) had to return home with the Chicken Pox while Dan Welch (Sidney, B.C.) has a mild ankle sprain. Gillies also suffered a minor ankle strain.
Play Ball 2006! Saskatchewan Baseball
In the third of 10 provincial association profiles, Baseball Canada speaks with Saskatchewan Baseball President Ken Hamilton about the upcoming 2006 season.
BASEBALL CANADA (BCAN) – In no particular order, what five events or initiatives are you looking forward to the most as you are in the midst of kicking off the 2006 baseball season?
1. Western Canada Championships Hat Trick
KEN HAMILTON (KH) – 1. We’re going to be hosting three Western Canada Baseball Championships this summer in Saskatchewan. The first will be the Western Canada AAA Midget Championships, which will be held in Regina from August 24 to 28. The Second will be the Western Canada AA Senior Championship in Saskatoon from August 17 to 21 and the third will be the Western Canada AA Minor Championship (Pee-Wee, Bantam, Midget), which will take place in Yorkton from August 17 to the 21.
BCAN – Obviously it has to be exciting to have three of the Western Canada Championships in Saskatchewan. What kinds of challenges arise from hosting that many events of such magnitude and how do you see overcoming those hurdles?
KH – It’s a big thing for us to have that many tournaments going on in one summer. It’s a big challenge for our volunteer base because we are stretched fairly thin as a small province. However, if you look at Yorkton, it has been a real hotbed for baseball in Saskatchewan. They’ve got great facilities and great support from the city. They are also hosting the championship for the second year in a row now. They did a fantastic job last year and we expect them to be fine again this year.
We also expect to see the same from the other two cities. Regina and Saskatoon are both cities with good facilities and a lot of backing from their communities. Thanks to that, despite being a small province, the volunteer base we do have is very strong and should be able to handle this workload. We’ve hosted big events in the past so I don’t see why we can do this without too much strain.
2 & 3. Rally Cap Program & Winterball
KH – This is the second year now that we’ve been involved in the Rally Cap program. This year, it’s being run in conjunction with the Mosquito division of the Saskatoon Baseball Council. We don’t have any numbers yet, but it does sound like the volunteers and everybody involved are extremely enthusiastic about it, which is what you want to hear. We’re really looking forward to seeing the numbers when they’re available.
KH – Last year we had a number of Winterball Clinics, which were focused on Saskatoon and the northern part of the province. They went over extremely well and exceeded our expectations, so Baseball Canada gave us some extra kits, which was a great thing for us.
The feedback we’re getting from the schools is extremely positive. As a result, this year we have already booked over 40 clinics, mainly focusing in the southern part of the province (Regina and South).
We’re just like all of the other baseball organizations in Canada. We need our grassroots system to be strong and we really believe that Winterball is a great program for young people to develop an interest in the sport, start playing the game and have fun at the same time.
See http://www.baseball.ca/eng_doc.cfm?DocID=212&Related=13 for more information about Baseball Canada’s Rally Cap Program.
See http://www.baseball.ca/eng_doc.cfm?DocID=69&Related=13 to learn more about Baseball Canada’s Winterball Program.
4. North American Indigenous Games
KH – As you know, in our province here in Saskatchewan we have a very high number of aboriginal people, and we’ve been trying for a number of years to get more participation in that sector. This year, the North American Indigenous Games are being held in Denver, Colorado from July 2nd to the 9th.
They’ve got tournaments for baseball in a number of age categories including Boys 13 & 14, boys 14 & 15, boys 17 to 19, and an over 20 age group.
Consequently, Saskatchewan Baseball has been working very closely with the North American Indigenous Games Committee in the province, helping with coaching clinics, player selection and so on. We think it’s going well and hopefully we’ll have some pretty competitive teams coming out of Saskatchewan.
BCAN – Is Saskatchewan trying to field a team for each and every one of those age categories?
KH – I think they would like to, but I’m not sure they’ll be able to. There may not be enough players. Greg Brons, our technical director here at Saskatchewan Baseball has been very active in trying to get it off the ground. Thus far we’ve gotten good support from the North American Indigenous Games Committee.
We’ll get at least one team down there for sure. I’m thinking at this point that it will be in the 15 to 16-year-old category.
BCAN – What’s the process for training, recruiting and selecting potential players and/or coaches for Saskatchewan’s representation at the North American Indigenous Games?
KH – First we set up a coaching clinic, which is schedule for Saturday, May 6 in Saskatoon. Secondly, we’ll have a mission staff meeting on May 7 at the same hotel.
Greg has also been involved with player camps and player selection, so we’ve got a fair level of involvement. The Aboriginal Community in Saskatchewan is a very large one with a lot of young people, so we’d like to get them playing ball.
See http://www.teamsask.fsin.com/ for more information about Team Saskatchewan and the North American Indigenous Games
5. Girls Baseball
KH – Because of our size as a province, we’ve had some problems fielding teams for the girls’ programs and have had difficulty dealing with the cost of sending them long distances or out of province, so this year we’ve changed our focus a little bit.
Prior to this year we were allowing girls who were fastball players to simply come to try out camps where we would form our provincial baseball team. Basically this year we’ve gone to the same format that’s being applied to boys’ baseball. The girls will have to register with Saskatchewan Baseball. If we have enough players for more than one team then we would hold a provincial play-off to determine a provincial team.
In the past we’d simply host the try-out camps and outside of that we don’t think that there was enough awareness about girls baseball. That being said, last year we hosted the pee-wee championships in Estevan and from that, some of the parents became more interested and more active in the sport. We’re now moving in a direction where the girls program has more exposure and that’s what we need. Once the girls start playing, they find out they love to play baseball. We just have to get them into the game.
Want to learn more about Saskatchewan Baseball? Visit their website at www.saskbaseball.ca.
That wraps up this week's edition of Play Ball 2006! Come back next week as Baseball Canada sits down with Baseball Manitoba’s Ken Sharpe.
Schedule:April 24: Play Ball 2006! Manitoba Baseball AssociationMay 1: Play Ball 2006! Baseball OntarioMay 8: Play Ball 2006! Baseball QuébecMay 15: Play Ball 2006! Baseball New BrunswickMay 22: Play Ball 2006! Baseball Nova ScotiaMay 29: Play Ball 2006! P.E.I. Amateur Baseball AssociationJune 5: Play Ball 2006! Baseball Newfoundland
Waltenbury stays hot, Willson homers for National Junior Team Prospects in Spring Training
Jonathan Waltenbury (Bowmanville, Ont.) continued his hot spring training campaign with Baseball Canada’s National Junior Team prospects, Tuesday, going 2-for-3 an 11-1 loss to the Cleveland Indians at Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida.
Waltenbury is now 6-for-11 with one run scored and two RBI in his last three spring training games against the Indians and the Houston Astros.
“He’s a good hitter. He’s a guy that projects to be a good power hitter down the road,” said National Junior Team Head Coach Greg Hamilton. “He’s got real good bat speed, generates a lot of extension on his swing and has very good plate discipline.”
Canada’s lone run came in the bottom of the ninth when Shayne Willson (Surrey B.C.) pulled a solo shot to left field in a game where Canadian hits were sparse. Leslie Williams (Scarborough, Ont.) and Tyson Gillies (Langley, B.C.) were the only two other Canadian prospects to record a hit.
After committing nine errors in their first two spring training games, the Canadians now seem to have settled in defensively, playing two consecutive games without a miscue in the field.
“That’s the benefit of being down here and having access to facilities where you can work on these things,” said Hamilton. “When you have some young guys like we do you have to get them to slow the game down a little bit as opposed to speeding up when the game is faster. We’ve managed to understand that concept a little bit better over the last two games and we’re not forcing things. As a result we’re improving, which is what you want to see.”
Canadian starter Sheldon McDonald (Spruce Grove, Alta.) threw three good innings for the Canadians, striking out two batters while giving up three runs on five hits. After David Francis (Mississauga, Ont.) gave up eight runs behind five walks and six hits over the next 2.1 innings, Cory Hall (Regina, Sask.) shut down the Indians the rest of the way to close the game. Hall, the only Saskatchewan-born player at spring training was spectacular, striking out three batters and allowing only one hit over 3.2 innings of work.
“He’s a strike thrower that has a solid, heavy fastball and he pounds the strike zone,” said Hamilton of the 6’2” right-hander. “He’s a competitive kid, he’s not afraid to go after people and he’s willing to attack hitters. He really simplifies the process.”
Canada’s next spring training match-up comes Wednesday evening against Stetson University. Game time is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. EST.
Baseball Canada names Gatineau host of 2006 Women’s Nationals
Baseball Canada announced, today, that Gatineau, Qué has been named as the host city for its 2006 National Women’s Invitational Championship.
The tournament, which will be held July 20 to 23 at Sancscartier Park in Gatineau, will feature the best female baseball players in the country, representing six teams from Ontario (2), Québec, Alberta, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.
“The Outaouais is one of the best regions for the development of women’s baseball in Québec,” says André Lachance, Baseball Canada’s Manager of Baseball Operations and Head Coach of the Canadian Women’s National Team. “Gatineau’s amateur baseball association has solid base of quality volunteers who will make sure this tournament is a big success.”
The championship will also be used to select its 18-person roster for the Canadian National Women’s Team, which will compete at the 2nd Baseball World Cup in Taipei, Taiwan August 1 to 6, 2006.
“This Championship is, for all intents and purposes, one of the only opportunities these athletes have to show us what they’ve got and try to earn a spot the team that will compete at the World cup, where our goal is to win a gold medal,” says Lachance. “The level of competition we’re going to see in Gatineau is very high and will turn some heads. A lot of baseball fans are going to discover that baseball can also be played very well by Women.”
Baseball Canada National Junior Team Prospects Prepare for Spring Training
OTTAWA – Baseball Canada’s 2006 national junior team prospects will continue the selection process for this year’s club when they take part in a spring training camp April 14-24 at Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Fla.
A total of 28 players aged 16 and 17 years have been invited to participate in the training camp. Players will conduct practices daily beginning April 14 and will also play a total of eight exhibition games against extended spring teams of the Atlanta Braves, Cleveland Indians, Detroit Tigers, Houston Astros as well as U.S. college programs.
The selection process for Baseball Canada’s 2006 national junior team, which will compete at the World Junior AAA Championship in Sancti Spiritus, Cuba in September, began last October with a fall instructional league camp.
The selection process will continue later this year with a May training camp in the Dominican Republic before a summer exhibition series in Atlanta, Ga., against the American national junior team, which will serve as a tune-up for the World Championship.
Exhibition Game Schedule:
Saturday April 15 – Canada vs. Atlanta Braves, 10 a.m. ESTSunday April 16 – Canada vs. Cleveland Indians, 1 p.m. ESTMonday April 17 – Canada vs. Houston Astros, 1 p.m. ESTTuesday April 18 – Canada vs. Cleveland Indians, 1 p.m. ESTWednesday April 19 – Canada vs. Stetson University, 7 p.m. ESTThursday April 20 – Canada vs. Lake Sumter Community College, 3 p.m. ESTFriday April 21 – Canada vs. Detroit Tigers, 1 p.m. ESTSaturday April 22 – Canada vs. Atlanta Braves, 10 a.m. EST
RosterPitching Rotation2005-2006 Junior Team Schedule