Baseball Canada Announces Roster for 2006 National Junior Team Dominican Tour

  • May 19, 2006

OTTAWA – Baseball Canada announced, today, the names of the 28 National Junior Team prospects that will compete for Canada on its 2006 Dominican Republic Tour. The national junior team is slated to play eight games against Major League Baseball instructional clubs in five Dominican cities from May 24 to June 2. A total of 410 Major League Baseball players have hailed from the Caribbean nation, which may be small in size but big on baseball. On May 24, the team will first set foot on Dominican soil in the capital city of Santo Domingo, which has produced more major leaguers (92) than any other city in the country, including sluggers David Ortiz, Albert Pujols, Manny Ramirez and Adrian Beltre as well as former Blue Jays Juan Guzman and Alfredo Griffin. Upon leaving Las Americas International Airport, the team will head eastward for a one-hour drive along the southern coast of the Dominican to Juan Dolio, where it will set-up base for the week-long tour. With little time to settle in, the prospects’ opening two-game set against the Seattle Mariners begins the next day on the edge of Santo Domingo in a community called Villa Mella, starting point for seven big leaguers and where Pedro Martinez, Neifi Perez, Cecilio Guante and former Blue Jay Sandy Martinez honed their skill as youngsters. Three of their next four games will be played in Boca Chica. Twenty minutes west of the team’s home base in Juan Dolio, Boca Chica is not only known for its serene white sand beach sheltered by a massive reef in a cove off the Caribbean Sea, but also as a sports haven which produced major leaguer Andres Thomas, a right-handed hitting shortstop for the Atlanta Braves from 1985 to 1990. Boca Chica will host the Canadians against the Minnesota Twins May 25 and against the Cleveland Indians on May 27 and 28. Sandwiched between two games in Boca Chica is Canada’s lone game in the Dominican Republic’s second major baseball breeding ground. On May 26, just 15 minutes west of Juan Dolio, Canada will face the Anaheim Angels in the city of San Pedro de Macoris, which produced 69 major leaguers including Jose Offerman, Sammy Sosa, Alfonso Soriano, Robinson Cano and two former Blue Jays; Tony Fernandez and Manny Lee. On the final day in May, the Canadian contingent will head one hour inland to play the Toronto Blue Jays in Hato Mayor, the former home of six future big league players, including the ageless Julio Franco and the third youngest player in the National League in 1993, Roberto Mejia, who played four seasons with the Colorado Rockies and St. Louis Cardinals until 1997. Canada will then wrap up its Dominican tour with a game against the Philadelphia Phillies on June 1 in Guanuma, the only city to be visited on the tour void of a major league player. Twenty to 23 players will be selected from the Dominican tour to move on to the fourth and final stage of the selection process for National Junior Team that will compete at the World Junior AAA Championships in Sancti Spiritus, Cuba, September 17-27. From September 9-16, Team Canada will hold a weeklong training camp and exhibition series against the Cuban National Junior Team to determine its final 18-man roster for the World Championships. Roster - 2006 National Junior Team Dominican Tour    

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Clapp the Right Cat for the Job

  • May 09, 2006

Edmonton Cracker-Cats infielder and eight-time Baseball Canada national team member Stubby Clapp (Windsor, Ont.) has accepted an offer to act as a player/coach for the Edmonton club. Clapp, now 36 years old, says accepting the offer isn’t necessarily a sign he’s ready to put his playing days behind him just yet. “Personally I’m not thinking about it, but I obviously won’t be able to play forever,” he said, adding he will likely remain involved in baseball when his playing days are over. “I think I’d be a fool if I wouldn’t have anything to do with baseball after I’m done playing - especially when it comes to Baseball Canada. It would break my heart if I couldn’t give back to them because they’ve been the whole basis of my career.” Cracker-Cats Director of Baseball and Field Manager Terry Bevington says that although Clapp’s title has changed, his role with the team won’t be much different than last year’s – Clapp’s first year with the club. “The main thing is that Stubby definitely has the leadership abilities and attributes,” said Bevington. “He’s just a natural fit so he doesn’t need to do anything differently.” Bevington says this was also a way to reward Clapp before the Northern League outlaws player/coaches next year. Under current Northern League practice, the coaching salary portion of a player/coach’s earnings does not apply to the league’s salary cap. “We have a legitimate guy that someday will likely be a manager, so he fits into that player/ coach mold,” he said. “We’re not going to overload him with organizational stuff, because that’s not the way it works. At some point in time he’ll be able to step in somewhere and become a manager without having to have been a player coach. Regardless, Clapp says he’ll make most of his opportunity. “I’m going to get to see what happens behind the scenes a little more, see how decisions are made and gain a little bit more knowledge from that perspective,” he says. “I feel like I’m going back to school all over again.” Clapp has played 10 professional seasons. The Windsor, Ontario native has been a household name in Canada since driving home the winning run in an upset of the American powerhouse in an 11-inning round-robin thriller at the 1999 Pan-Am Games. Most recently he was named to the all-star team and voted the best defensive player at the 2005 CONCEBE Baseball Regional Olympic Qualifier. In a 15-5 win over Panama that helped Canada secure a berth at the Americas Olympic Qualifier in Cuba this August. A former major leaguer with the St. Louis Cardinals, Clapp also helped Canada win the 1991 World Youth Championship gold medal. Clapp hit .286 with 29 doubles, 5 homeruns, 42 RBI and 14 stolen bases in 87 games for the Cracker-Cats in 2005.  

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Play Ball 2006! Baseball Québec

  • May 09, 2006

In the sixth of 10 provincial association profiles, Baseball Canada speaks with Baseball Québec President Gilles Taillon about the upcoming 2006 season. BASEBALL CANADA (BCAN) – In no particular order, what five initiatives are you looking forward to the most as you are in the midst of kicking off the 2006 baseball season? 1. Rally Cap Program (GT – Gilles Taillon) – We strongly believe in the Rally Cap program. Consequently, we have hired two Kinesiology interns who will be responsible for training Rally Cap coaches in addition to helping local associations on site. We visited each of our regions in March and April in order to present the program to the various associations and the response we received was very positive. People understand that this program has been created as an answer to our need to make the game appealing to kids aged 4 to 7 years old. They realize that traditional practice methods aren’t necessarily beneficial for this age group, but the Rally Cap program is. 2. Regional Training Centres. GT – In 2005 we presented the Québec government with a new Plan of Excellence for 2005-2009. A major component of this plan is the creating of regional training centres. This year we will be identifying the proper organizations who will take on the task of setting up these centres. Ultimately, a Regional Training Centre will bring together a Sport-Etude program, a AAA midget team and various baseball schools, ensuring baseball can be practiced year round. In addition, thanks to these centres, we hope to create more professional opportunities for our coaches. 3. Introduction of new classification structure GT – In 2006 we modified the way we classify our teams, dropping the number of classes from 4 to 3 – AA, A and B. This answers our need to create a better competitive system by reducing the displacement of players and bringing baseball closer to the local associations. We believe that this new structure will bring players a certain sense of belonging to their community and their local baseball association in addition to having more fun. This new classification structure will also cut down on traveling, which was an issue that parents thought needed to be addressed. 4. Girls Baseball GT – Girls baseball continues to carry more and more importance. In 2006 we will host our first provincial Bantam Girls championship, which is an indication that we have reached a major goal because we have a sufficient number of athletes and teams in various regions to carry the championship out. In addition, in 2006 we will see the creation of a senior girls’ league. Four teams comprised of players from different regions of the province will make up the league, which will play its games in a mini-tournament format on the weekends. 5. Winterball GT - The Winterball program has been a tremendous success in Québec. This program allows us to be active in the school environment in terms of promoting active living. Last March, we kicked off a mailing campaign targeting all elementary schools in Québec in order to create awareness about the Winterball program. The response we receive surpassed any of our expectations as over 20 schools got back to us within two weeks of the start of the campaign and things haven’t slowed down since. That wrap’s up this weeks edition of Play Ball 2006! Check back next week when Baseball Canada sits down with a representative from Baseball New Brunswick . Schedule:May 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

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Play Ball 2006! Baseball Ontario

  • May 02, 2006

In the fifth of 10 provincial association profiles, Baseball Canada speaks with Baseball Ontario President Don McKnight about the upcoming 2006 season. BASEBALL CANADA (BCAN) – In no particular order, what five initiatives are you looking forward to the most as you are in the midst of kicking off the 2006 baseball season? 1. Strategic Planning DON MCKNIGHT (DM) – 1. This really has to do with the way baseball is governed in Ontario and how our executive operates. Right now we have a 14-member executive – six elected directors, two vice presidents, one president, a past president and four appointed directors. The way we more or less want to change that is that we would have 4 or 5 members on the executive and have the rest of our directors broken up into sub-committees. All of these sub-committee directors would take care of more specific areas and would, in turn, provide reports to the directors. That way they would be able to hold their own meetings rather than having to hold an entire board meeting to discuss certain issues.  One member from that sub-committee would then be able to come to an executive meeting to provide a report. We’ve met once before on this and it was a very productive weekend. We got a lot out of it. 2. Winterball Program DM – We’re really trying to push the Winterball program.  We have around 350 schools enrolled in the program right now, which is fairly significant and we’ve hardly touched on the Greater Toronto Area. We’ve had some difficulty getting into the schools in the GTA so that’s going to be one of our initiatives this year. Baseball has been growing in areas like Mississauga, but the story isn’t the same in the core of Toronto so that’s what we’d like to concentrate on in the next year. BCAN – When Baseball Ontario first drew up the plans for the Winterball Program, did you have any idea that it would blossom into what it is today? DM  - We certainly hoped that it would. The first year we ran this program, we ran it for 100 schools in outlying areas and we saw a 15 to 20 per cent increase in registration in those areas the following spring. We were able to track those numbers and really show that the program does increase the awareness of baseball. See http://www.baseball.ca/eng_doc.cfm?DocID=69&Related=13 to learn more about Baseball Canada’s Winterball Program. 3.  Rally Cap Program DM – Our past-president and Baseball Canada board member Randy Pickle has done a great job heading the program in Ontario. We ordered 5,000 hats and they were all gone rather quickly. When we were at Baseball Canada’s annual general meeting in Regina in November we were asked how many hats we wanted to order.  We really low-balled that number, I guess, because when the orders started coming in we ran out very quickly. Now that we know what kind of response we’re getting for this program, next year we’ll be quicker off the mark for the people who weren’t able to get any hats this time around. People just really like these hats. Even though it’s a program that’s run for the younger age groups there are a lot of older people that are looking in asking how they can get their hands on these hats because they like the Baseball Canada logo. See http://www.baseball.ca/eng_doc.cfm?DocID=212&Related=13 for more information about Baseball Canada’s Rally Cap Program. 4. New NCCP  Initiation Coach Program DM – Our director of coach and player development at Baseball Ontario, Wayne Parro, is doing a really good job of education people about this program, and that’s not easy because any time you introduce change to something there’s bound to be some resistance. Beforehand the biggest complaint we would get is that people just didn’t want to go out to all of these clinics. This year we’re able to considerably cut down the amount of time coaches have to spend at clinics because they can do the rest of the stuff at home – and we’ve been able to do that at a reduced cost. The program has really taken off. The coaching clinics that follow the on-line portion of the program have been over-attended and we’ve even had to reschedule some because we had too many clinics being scheduled on the same day. Our trainers and evaluators for the new program are stretched kind of thin at the moment, but that will change as more people will become qualified over the next couple of years. Everything is going remarkably well and we have a very positive outlook for the future of the program. See http://www.baseball.ca/eng_news_story.cfm?NewsID=811 for more information about the new NCCP program. 5. Province-wide League Collaboration DM – When we’re trying to run programs like Winterball and Rally Cap among others we really try to meet with the people involved at the grassroots level.  One of our initiatives is to try to get all the house leagues more in line with the rest of the Ontario Baseball Association. We’re not trying to take over anything by any means, but we’d like to provide as much help as we can at the grassroots level, even financially. That being said, I think there’s even more grant money out there that would be available to us if we were all together on certain issues. We’re really trying to be more supportive of house leagues because that’s where everything begins. If we can get stronger house leagues, all of the other leagues will flourish as well. That wrap’s up this weeks edition of Play Ball 2006! Check back next week when Baseball Canada sits down with Baseball Québec president Gilles Taillon. Schedule:May 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  

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B.C. Looks to Field Team for Women’s Nationals

  • May 02, 2006

Baseball BC is considering entering a team in the 2006 Women's National Invitational Tournament to be held in Gatineau, Qué., July 20-23. The championship will also be used to select the 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. The Team will be announced following the gold medal game on the Sunday. Last year's tournament had five teams (Ontario with 2 teams, Québec, Alberta and Nova Scotia). It would be great this year to get 1-2 additional teams in order to give all of our best players a chance to be selected for the national team. Baseball Canada’s 2006 Women’s National Team will be introduced before a July 24th game at Lynx Stadium (AAA Orioles) at 1:05 pm when the Lynx are hosting the Norfolk Tides (AAA NY Mets). Due to financial considerations, interested athletes will be responsible for a significant portion of the costs associated with this program. (i.e. airfare, accommodation, and meals). If you are interested in this program, please click here to register. This will help us determine if we will be able to put a team together. SOURCE: Baseball B.C.www.baseballbc.ca  

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Play Ball 2006! Mantioba Baseball Association

  • April 24, 2006

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  

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National Junior Team Prospects Wrap up Training Camp With Loss to Braves

  • April 22, 2006

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.

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Errors spoil valiant effort by Canadian Juniors in Spring Training

  • April 21, 2006

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.  

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Canadian Bats on Track in National Junior Team Spring Training Camp

  • April 20, 2006

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.  

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Lawrie, Waltenbury lift Canadian Juniors to Spring Training Win

  • April 20, 2006

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.

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