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Baseball Canada Honours Its Best

HALIFAX, N.S. – Baseball Canada recognized some of its hardest working members, Saturday, at an awards Gala held in conjunction with the federation’s 2006 Fall Convention.

Ollie Schroeder (Manitoba) was named volunteer of the year, while Blair Hains (Ontario) was honoured as the top official and Jason Chee-Aloy (Ontario) as the country’s best coach. Infielder and designated hitter Amanda Asay (British Columbia) was given Baseball Canada’s women’s national team most valuable player award and British Columbia was named best provincial association.

Ollie Schroeder’s name has been synonymous with Manitoba’s Red River Sports League for over 20 years. She has been a very active, dynamic volunteer, serving as President, Secretary, Treasurer, Registrar, Baseball Convenor, Tournament Co-ordinator, Umpire Assignor, League Scheduler, and Hit-Run-Throw contact as well and Umpire and Coach Clinic Contact.

The number of teams in the Red River Valley Sports League has increased over the last two years, a trend directly attributed to Ollie’s efforts. Her fund-raising initiatives have helped reimburse umpires and coaches for their training in addition to allowing for the creation of bursaries for graduation players, maintenance on batting cages and the organizing of the league’s 25th anniversary celebrations.

On a provincial level, Ollie has helped co-ordinate a number of regional and provincial championships in addition to sitting on an extremely high number of committees dedicated to every aspect of the sport.

Blair Hains has been a tremendous asset to umpire development at the provincial and national level for over 24 years. His dedication and commitment to improve the umpiring and in particular the training of umpires has led to many improvements in Baseball Canada’s programs.

He has not only focused on improving the national program, but is also actively involved in the grassroots development of Canada’s future umpires. In the past year alone, Hains has acted as the Assistant Supervisor of Umpires for the Senior National Championships as well as Co-ordinator and Assignor for the Premiere Baseball League of Ontario.

He was also the lead instructor and co-ordinator of Baseball Ontario’s “Ontario Cup” for umpires – a weekend-long event that brought umpires from across the province to a training camp with the ultimate goal of receiving their invitations to the national program. Over 20 umpires were in attendance along with six master course conductors. It was Hains’ responsibility to ensure all members understood and implemented their roles effectively. The success of this evaluation camp is a direct result of Hains’ leadership and influence.

Jason Chee-Aloy has a broad background in baseball including a current involvement with the Major League Scouting Bureau in addition to guiding Baseball Ontario’s 2006 Youth Team to the Canada Cup Championship in Medicine Hat, Alta and managing an 18-and-under team based in Toronto, Ont.

Hundreds of players have benefited from Chee-Aloy’s experience and dedication to the craft of coaching. In 1994 he led the North York Baseball Juvenile Team to the first of back-to-back championships in the Metro Toronto Amateur Baseball Association.

In 1996 and 1997 Jason Managed the North York Juvenile team to six different tournament championships including the Ontario Summer Games before winning the Baseball Canada Junior Championship in 1998. He then moved onto manage Ontario’s 18-and-under team, winning four different championships in 2000 and 2001. Over that span 16 of his players were selected for Baseball Canada’s National Junior team, 17 were drafted and 30 accepted athletic scholarships throughout the United States and Canada.

Both on and off the field, Chee-Aloy’s most significant achievements in coaching came this season while assembling the Ontario Youth Team that captured the gold medal at the Canada Cup. He was able to select players from a plethora of different programs to unite them and mould them into a championship-calibre unit that would win Ontario its second straight Canada Cup title.

In her second season with Baseball Canada’s Women’s National Team, Amanda Asay (Prince George, B.C.) played a key role in helping Canada win the bronze medal at the 2006 Women’s World Cup in Chinese Taipei.

Boasting a .500 batting average, the first baseman and catcher was selected to the tournament all-star team at first base. Asay, who collected 9 RBI over the course of the tournament, led her team in almost every offensive category.

British Columbia won the province of the year award for the fourth time. Although they did not win and gold medals in this year’s various national championships, British Columbia had a very good year, finishing second overall in championship performance. The province won a silver medal in the Pee-Wee, Midget and Canada Cup events.

British Columbia had the top performance in the registered player category, increasing their membership by over 3,300 players. They also finished in first place for national team membership. The province had a solid performance in the Coaching and Winterball/Rally Cap categories, finishing second and third respectively in those areas.