Tag: 15U

Canadians’ Red team takes title at 15U division of the CPBL

Heading into the postseason of the Canadian Premier Baseball League’s 15U level, the Great Lake Canadians were looking to repeat the success they’d had last year — seeing both their Red and Black teams in the championship final battling it out to see who might have bragging rights for another year.

As the 15U playoffs dwindled down to the circuit’s final two teams this season, Great Lake replicated that success, with the Canadians’ Red squad — led by manager Brendan Saville — taking down the Black team — led by last year’s championship manager Derek Bloomfield — to secure the trophy for the program.

“It was an awesome experience,” Saville said. “It was really cool because it was my first year managing, so obviously these guys had a special place in my heart and I was so ecstatic for them. Earlier in the season, we lost to GLC Black in our tournament by one run in the last inning, and it was a tough way to lose and everyone was a little heartbroken. It certainly left a bad taste in my mouth.

“So it was really nice to see all the guys rise to the occasion to play, to beat an outstanding baseball team coached by an outstanding manager in Derek. I was really excited for those guys. It was a really cool visceral experience of happiness and joy. It’s always exciting to watch a bunch of young guys have the opportunity to experience success on the baseball field who have been working really hard all year.”

When Saville got his first glimpse of the squad he would be at the helm of for the 2019 season, he was excited about the potential it had, but didn’t know how far it would come in such a short time together.

“I originally thought the team was made up of a lot of really sound baseball players and that we had an opportunity to do something with the talent we started with, we were just really young,” Saville said. “I thought it was going to take a lot of work in terms of being able to specifically beat the Black team.

“We didn’t have the same size or physical ability and physical talent they had, and we were going to have to play a lot of small ball throughout the season to be successful. As the season progressed, things continued to grow and we started to thrive on ourselves. We were able to really show up when we needed to, in big games, and played some really sound baseball, especially on the defensive end. That most likely won us the championship and got us to where we were.”

Great Lake began its playoff weekend against the Fieldhouse Pirates, before a win led to a matchup against the Tri-City Giants, which helped propel the squad further into the tournament in more ways than one.

“Tri-City had really taken it to us all year pretty much,” Saville said. “For some reason, we weren’t playing well against them. It was probably our biggest win of the season in terms of momentum, winning that game. It was a good all-around team effort win, riding on the momentum of Fieldhouse and battling and battling…

“We had only won once against Tri-City all season and they had been the team we just couldn’t figure out, so obviously we wanted our guys to create the opportunity to unlock the lock with the key.”

Among the qualities his squad brought to the table throughout the season, there was one that stood out the most for Saville.

“The biggest thing that we talked about all year was trying to make sure not to give up and to really keep the energy alive,” he said. “We may not have had the same energy levels for every game, but when it came to a big opportunity or a tournament, the guys really rose to the occasion and specifically they played as a unit and as a team.

“It’s rare to find a group of 15-year-olds that comes together and is cohesive enough to actually play as a team and put all egos aside to win. These guys definitely did that and it was really fun to coach them.”

The championship was one of four for the Canadians program among the five levels of the CPBL, also winning at the 14U, 16U and 17U age groups, with the Ontario Blue Jays taking home the trophy from the 18U division.

“It cements itself as one of the top development organizations in the country,” Saville said of Great Lake. “To play in a league like that and to be able to walk away with four out of five is unheard of. If that’s not domination, I don’t know what is. Chris [Robinson] and Adam [Stern] and Shane [Davis] and everyone have done a really good job of piecing the puzzle together and we’re all ecstatic to be a part of that organization.

“There’s a really big sense of pride in being part of something that is clearly working and does it the right way…and then seeing those kind of results happen. The organization is flourishing and it’s cool to be a part of something so great.”

15U, 16U and 17U Canadian Premier Baseball League playoffs set to start

Following championships at the youngest and oldest levels of the Canadian Premier Baseball League, with the Ontario Blue Jays taking the 18U crown and the Great Lake Canadians Black 14U squad earning a trophy, the league will see its next winners crowned at the 15U, 16U and 17U levels at the end of this week and over the upcoming weekend.

The 17U event is set to begin on Thursday and run until Saturday, with Sunday to be utilized if a rain date is needed. All 17U games will take place between the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in St. Marys and the Field of Dreams in Dorchester. Six teams will face a double-elimination format to see who will leave champions of the 2019 season after the Ontario Blue Jays Travers squad finished atop the regular season leaderboard.

The league’s 16U postseason play will take place over the same set of days, between Rivergrove Park in Mississauga and Stuart Burnett Field in Aurora, hosted by the Ontario Astros and the Ontario Blue Jays. At the 16U level, eight teams will battle through the double-elimination format to find a champion, after the Great Lake Canadians finished atop the standings at the end of the regular season.

At the 15U level, playoffs will begin on Wednesday and run through to Friday, with Saturday as an alternate date if necessary because of weather. Games will also be played at the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame as well as at the Field of Dreams, in addition to Citywide Sports Complex in London. The 15U champion will be crowned out of eight teams at the level, with the Great Lake Canadians Black squad coming out on top of the regular season standings.

As a reminder, the CPBL bylaws will be followed for all games. Matchups will be seven innings in length, and limited to two-and-a-half hours, with extra innings permitted within the time limitations. The higher seeded squad in the league standings will be the home team throughout the playoffs. The run rule remains in effect for the entire tournament.

If a game is tied as time expires, the international tie-breaker rule will come into effect. Each team will start their half of the inning with the previous two batters from the inning prior on first and second base with none out.

Games will run ahead of schedule when and wherever possible, and we wish the best of luck to all players and teams participating in the upcoming event.

15U CPBL championship won by the Great Lake Canadians Red team

For the second straight Canadian Premier Baseball League season, the Great Lake Canadians secured the title at the 15U level, with the organization’s Red squad coming out on top in the championship in the circuit’s third year. 

By the final day of the 15U championship tournament, only two teams remained, and with the pools down to just the GLC Red and Black teams, it was certain that the Canadians would hold on for back-to-back wins. After the Black squad breezed through the early part of the final weekend, Red had to beat its counterpart twice in order to take home the trophy. 

“That was real tough,” GLC 15U Red manager Derek Bloomfield said. “Those kids are more physical than our team, as far as stature and strength, and they’ve got a few pieces on their team where it’s a threat with them every time. Riley Silva is the first one who comes to mind, and every time he comes to the plate, it’s a pressure situation for the opposition, and we felt that way. We felt that if we could keep him off the base paths, we could win a baseball game. It happened in two out of three games, and it’s unfortunate that he got hurt in the last game, but he did a great job up until that point.

“With our team, a few times in the year I had to give them a kick in the butt because there was no life on the bench, no energy, but they fought, they scratched and clawed when they needed to, and they showed well that way and over that last weekend, that’s for sure.” 

Bloomfield’s squad finished the regular season just behind the GLC Black squad in the standings, finishing two games back and in second place. After battling through the regular season, the team brought everything it had to the playoffs to find success and hoist the CPBL trophy.

“This was a young team,” GLC’s 15U Red manager said. “I knew there would probably be some growing pains, and the season kind of went how I thought it would go – we would have to battle on the mound and we would have to battle basically every single game, and if our pitching and defence held up and kept teams to a minimum, we had a shot in every game because these kids could hit a little bit. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a 15-year-old team like them when they go on a run or get on a roll, but they can bang the ball around with the best of them at that age.” 

Incredibly excited at the outcome, Bloomfield and his team had a lot of fun throughout the playoff weekend, highlighted by a walk-off win against the Tri-City Giants in a tough battle early on. 

“I’m super proud of the team,” the manager said. “I’ve won championships before at other levels, and I’ve seen some good things happen, but to have a big walk-off win against Tri-City and to see exciting moments like that, I’m pretty proud of these kids. Sometimes at that age, you don’t really know what you’re getting into, but I’m really proud of the kids.” 

With an off-season of bragging rights on the line along with the CPBL championship trophy, the GLC Red squad was incredibly excited at the way the season ended, and Bloomfield couldn’t have been happier for them. 

“It was absolutely exciting,” he said. “I try to preach that to the 15-year-olds – to act like you’ve been there before, but you don’t want to hold them down. They’re kids, and it’s part of the game and it’s about having fun. I’m not real big on the hooting and hollering against the opposition, and things like that, but be as professional as you can at 15, have a lot of fun with it, and run with it. And they did.” 

GLC 15U Black squad tops division leaderboard with strong season

The Canadian Premier Baseball League season has officially come to an end, and as the regular-season champions are crowned for their accomplishments throughout the year, the Great Lake Canadians 15U Black squad is among those recognized, topping its division’s leaderboard with an 18-4 season. 

The regular-season champion team is among the best that 15U Black skipper Shane Davis has managed in the Great Lake organization, making the successful season even more enjoyable than it already was. 

“We have guys who throw a lot of strikes on the mound, compete pretty well, and they’re aggressive in the strike zone,” Davis said. “And then our defence is pretty solid. Last year, the team we had really struggled defensively early in the season, and got better as the season went on. 

“This team, basically right from the get-go was really solid defensively. This is the best outfield we’ve ever had, by far. Basically any ball that is hit to the outfield, you can just close your eyes and you know that it’s going to be caught. So it gives the pitchers a lot of confidence to be able to throw strikes and not worry about how hard the other team hits the ball.” 

Among the squad’s strengths, Davis was most impressed with the camaraderie it built along the way, and the confidence it had in its ability on the field day in and day out. 

“It was incredibly how well they got along,” the 15U manager said. “Most of our teams get along really well, but I find with this team not only do they get along really well, but it doesn’t cross the line into goofing around. They do a pretty good job of locking it in when they need to. That is impressive, and nothing really seems to faze them. 

“We could be down – not that this has happened too often – but we could be down by three runs in late innings and they find a way to just stay calm and find a way to come back, because we know we have the power to be able to come back when it come back to our offence. We can put a lot of runs up. So their confidence is impressive in general.” 

Finishing first in the standings among a total of eight teams in the 15U division, with the GLC 15U Red squad just behind them, and the Tri-City Giants team finishing in third place on the leaderboard, the Black team will look to take its successes and continue them into the post-season. 

“When we show up and decide we want to win, it pretty much happens,” Davis said. “This is probably the best overall team we’ve had, as far as defence, pitching and hitting. If everything takes care of itself, there are not too many teams that can compete with us day after day. We obviously will lose the odd game here and there, but when we decide we want to win, we can, and it’s a pretty impressive group that way.”

Tri-City Giants look for repeated success in CPBL

A staple at the youngest level of the Canadian Premier Baseball League through its first two seasons, the Tri-City Giants have added to the fold throughout the off-season are excited for what more is to come in the third year of the circuit. 

Winning two championships in the inaugural season of the CPBL and continuing to embrace everything it has to offer, the Giants are proud to be a part of the league and have been happy with everything it has provided their program so far. 

“It’s been great,” Giants president Jeff Young said. “We’ve obviously seen a better level of competition, which is what we wanted when we started the Giants program. We’re entering our fourth season now, and when we started the program that was the whole idea, to expose the kids to a better level of competition day in and day out. 

“The CPBL has definitely been able to provide that. That’s the biggest benefit. The league has done a great job of being organized and keeping everybody on the same page, and looking out for the best interests of all the kids. It’s been refreshing to see a league developed to help the kids pursue their baseball dreams, whatever they may be, collegiately, professionally, OUA, and they’ve provided that conduit for them so that’s been great to see.” 

During the most recent winter, the Giants organization expanded to bring additional teams into the fold, and will head into the third CPBL season with squads playing at both the 14U and 15U levels. During the off-season, the program also utilized a brand new facility in the Waterloo Region to help its players get ready for the upcoming season. 

“We’ve grown this off-season,” Young said. “We were a single team back in 2015 and now in our fourth year, we’ve grown to field teams ranging from 11U team all the way up to 17U. We have two teams in the CPBL. 

“And we’ve had the benefit this off-season of moving into a new facility here in Kitchener, The Athlete Factory, and that’s been phenomenal. It’s really been a benefit for the development of our players. It allows them access to the batting tunnels, pitching mounds, gymnasium space, and workout centre, year round. It’s provided the flexibility for our players to get their work in while continuing with their winter sports or activities outside of baseball.”

Excited to get its teams out on the field to show what they can do and how they use everything they gained throughout the winter, the Giants program looks forward to more of the same of what they’ve experienced in the CPBL. 

“We just want to continue to build on the success that we’ve had with the program over the years,” Young said. “We’ve been fortunate, whether it’s the CPBL or other leagues, or tournaments we’ve been in, to be successful on the field. We certainly want to continue those successes, and we want to continue to develop the players.”

As Tri-City continues to expand its program and help build futures for its players, Young is hoping the league is a conduit for success both on the field and off. 

“We recognize that for a lot of these kids it’s not just about their baseball dreams,” he said. “We certainly want to encourage them and give them the opportunity to continue to pursue those baseball dreams but at the same time provide an environment for them to be successful in other sports, other interests they may have, and most importantly their academic pursuits that will stay with them throughout their lives long after baseball.”

Canadians win first 15U championship in CPBL’s second season

Utilizing the strengths they built throughout the year, the Great Lake Canadians 15U squad bid farewell to the second season of the Canadian Premier Baseball League with the first championship of the circuit at the 15U level, using their defensive improvements and strong pitching to secure a 1-0 win in the final.

“The biggest difference from the start of the season to the end of the season was defensively, at the start of the year, we would come out in the start of an inning and find a way to make an error,” said GLC 15U manager Shane Davis. “That would lead to three or four runs, and we’d be in a hole early.

“By the end of the season, especially in playoffs, we started cleaning that up a lot. I don’t remember an error in the playoffs. That allowed us to stay in the games longer and get leads and put them away earlier. The biggest thing was with our pitching, we didn’t have a lot of guys with swing-and-miss stuff, so they really relied on the defence to work effectively. That’s what ultimately allowed us to win.”

Great Lake’s 15U manager not only enjoyed seeing his team tighten up its game as the year progressed, but it also made a strong impression with its confidence and demeanour on the field.

“What impressed me the most was how calm they would stay and how professionally they would handle themselves,” Davis said. “Early in the season, we got behind early in games and gave them two or three runs in the first two innings, but there was really no panic, or trying to do too much to try to make themselves come back. They were confident in the fact that even though they might not get to the pitcher right away, eventually it was going to happen. I was impressed by their ability, no matter what the score was, to stay in the game.”

After taking down the Toronto Mets and Fieldhouse Pirates on the final day of the 15U season to earn their berth in the championship game, the Canadians took on the Pirates once more in the final and secured the shutout victory to cap off a successful year.

“It was a really good game,” Davis said. “Their pitcher was really good, and it was a seven-inning game that finished in an hour and five minutes, so both pitchers were throwing strikes. We got a run in the third inning, and other than that, there wasn’t a lot of offence. They had some chances to score, we had some chances to score, but both pitchers threw really well.

“Throughout the entire game there were some really nice defensive plays made by a bunch of our guys. I could go through each position and think of a play they made where if they don’t make that play, the result in the game could be completely different.”

The complete-team effort leading to victory was a part of a whole-organization dynasty through the second season of the CPBL for Great Lake, which also took home crowns at the 18U and 14U levels to finish the summer. The league’s champions were rounded out by a 16U victory for the Ontario Blue Jays Travers squad.

“The season was definitely exciting,” Davis said. “I coach at the younger levels, so I see them when they first get into the program. So just to see in a season how quickly someone can grow, especially at a younger age, it’s really impressive. Like Brad [McElroy’s 14U Red] team – if anybody had told us his team was going to win the league, we wouldn’t have put money on that at all at the start of the season, because they were the youngest team in the league. To see that team grow so quickly and become so fundamentally sound in the game is a big thing, and shows how good a job Brad does at the younger level.

“At the 15U level, it’s exciting to see some of the players stay together as they move up, and it’s exciting to see how well they advance through our system and how they become better baseball players and better people. As far as the future goes, it’s really exciting for us and the program, and especially with the younger ages. We have some kids who could be pretty impressive down the road, and we kind of get to see them before anybody else does, and hopefully help them pursue their dreams in baseball, whatever they are.”