Tag: 16U

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.

Toronto Mets 16U Orange team caps off successful season with CPBL title

After going on an unbelievable regular-season run – including 20 straight victories – the Toronto Mets 16U Orange squad kept its success going into playoffs and came out on top as the champion of the 16U level of the Canadian Premier Baseball League. 

The Orange team opened CPBL post-season play with a matchup against its Blue organizational counterpart. After a win to start the tournament, the squad suffered its second loss of the entire season to the same team that defeated it earlier in the summer, the Ontario Nationals. A win against the Great Lake Canadians sent Orange into the finals, but in the double-elimination formatted event, it had to win two straight games against the Nationals to take home the trophy. 

“We started with our Blue team and they were up on us 5-2 in the fifth inning, and it didn’t look good,” Mets 16U Orange manager Darryl Reid said. “We looked like we were going to lose Game 1 and then we got a rhythm going and put together four or five hits in a row to win that game. Then we played the Nationals and they played really well…We couldn’t do anything. They caught everything, made all the plays, and they were really good that day.

“Then we finally got our [first] game against GLC. We didn’t want it to be in that spot but we had Drew Howard throw that game and he had nine strikeouts over five innings and was really good. He led us in that one. Then we were down 5-3 and came back in the next game against the Nationals, and had to beat them twice in the final…It was pretty exciting and pretty tense, and I didn’t think we were going to come back. It didn’t feel like that. 

“But the guys, I don’t know if they thought they were going to win, but they were very calm. It was a different vibe that I hadn’t seen from them throughout the year. Looking at it now, it was probably the confidence that they could come back.”

The second-to-last game of the year was the one that really sparked the Mets and gave them some momentum heading into the championship final. 

“The big game was the walkoff,”  Reid said. “Any time you walk off, it’s exciting, but they were really excited. This group, I don’t know if they’ll all play together next year and I think they all realized that and they wanted to win that championship. They were pretty excited. Listening to them talk about it afterward, that was one of their main goals. 

“We had our last practice the Wednesday before, and we told them that in our minds, they had a successful season, and it was up to them what they wanted. So I didn’t have one single pre-game speech for them, and it was one of those weekends where we gave it to them and let them do what they wanted with it.” 

Reid was especially excited about the way his team performed as an entire unit, giving him a chance to get everybody on the field and allowing each man on the roster to make a contribution in that final weekend of CPBL play. 

“I kept saying to them that everybody would be involved and we were,” the Orange manager said. “We had five games and five completely different lineups, and we completely unloaded our bench in the final game with guys pinch running and pinch hitting. It sounds cliche, but literally everybody had an impact on the final, and it showed the flexibility that we had with them, and being able to move guys everywhere. 

“It was kind of cool to say that it was a team game, and mean it, and then have it actually happen. It was a cool way to win it.”

The Mets manager was very proud to see his team work together and want to succeed and share in the successes of their teammates as well as accomplish their own goals along the way. 

“In a new era of kids, where it can be a little bit individually driven for the success of where they are going to school or to what showcase and that stuff, this group – at least the way they act – they like each other and work together,” Reid said. “It was refreshing and as close to the old school team-first mentality as you can get now.

“These guys are kind of a hybrid, where they are all individually driven, which they should be, but they really wanted to win for each other, so that part was pretty cool.” 

OBJ Travers squad wins second 16U crown in two years

For the second straight Canadian Premier Baseball League season, the Ontario Blue Jays Travers squad will reign as champions at the 16U level.

Made up of a new set of players than the one that won the inaugural circuit’s crown last year, Sean Travers’ team this season impressed him right out of the gate. The 16U manager understood that his current Blue Jays had the ability to win it all from the beginning, but needed to embrace and overcome some growing pains on the field along the way.

“We knew we had lots of young talent,” Travers said. “But we also knew we were young and immature, and had a lot of growing to do. The trick is to get the talent to mature and start playing baseball differently than they’ve experienced before, and learn to compete a little bit differently. In our regular season, we lost something like 14 games because of rain, which slowed the growing-up process.

“When we hit the road to play in the States, there was still growing to do because of the time we missed on the field at home, and when we were on the road we had a lot of ups and downs. By the end of it, they started understanding how to compete at a higher level, and it really helped us coming back into the playoffs, because we got put into a couple situations where we had to really compete our butts off to get to the next round.”

Playoff weekend was a hard-fought battle for the Blue Jays, who took a seven-run round-robin loss that meant they needed to make up the deficit in a later matchup in order to move forward. The squad also had to face its organizational rival, the Ontario Blue Jays Ellison 16U team, twice over the weekend, eventually matching up against the players managed by Joey Ellison in the final contest.

“The second game, we played Ellison’s team and it was really the one time all year where our pitchers struggled,” Travers said of round-robin play. “Our hitters just couldn’t pick them up. We had a bad game, and Joey’s team – to their credit – earned their walks, and when they had runners on, they would get extra-base hits to drive them in. We didn’t lose that game – they beat us. And they won 13-6, so in our final round-robin game we had to beat the Fieldhouse Pirates by seven.

“In the first inning, Fieldhouse went out and put up three runs against one of our best pitchers and I thought we were in trouble. To the players’ credit, they finally picked up the pitchers. They went out and put up 10 runs in the bottom and we went up 10-3. We had our seven, and it went back and forth a little bit. Sometimes in blowouts guys give away at-bats, but they didn’t do that. They kept building. We ended up winning 16-6 and that put us in the next round.

“We were the second seed and had to play the Great Lake Canadians in the semifinals. You know whenever you’re going to play GLC it’s going to be a battle. They have really good pitchers, really good players, really good coaching. Luckily for us, we had one of our best pitchers, Nick Fraser, ready to go. He went out there and really grew up on the mound and kept us in the game. Going into extra innings, it was 2-2 and both runs for both teams were unearned. It was a grind for both teams, and we ended up winning 3-2.

“In the finals we got to play Joey’s team again, and they were the hot team, they were excited, lots of energy. Their pitcher, Nick Saldias, was unbelievable for three innings. We went up 3-0 and right away they came back and made it 3-3. It was a battle for seven innings. They kept pressing and our guys kept responding.”

The championship victory was one that Travers believes came at an opportune time for his team, after they’d had a chance to move out of their comfort zone playing south of the border, and being forced to elevate their performance when they returned home for the battle to end the season on top.

“Early in the year, we would have lost,” the 16U manager said. “We weren’t mentally tough enough to withstand those situations. That’s where the growth came in. They got mentally tough and they competed at a different level at the end of the season than they did at the beginning of the year…

“When you’re winning, it’s tough to learn because winning can hide a lot of problems. What was impressive about this group is that they started to understand that in close games, the little things mattered. They started paying attention to detail and really started to prepare for games a lot better. Instead of just showing up and playing, they were prepared to give their best effort.”

With back-to-back CPBL championships at the 16U level, and two Blue Jays teams squaring off against one another in the final, Travers is proud of what his organization accomplished this season, and looks forward to growing and keeping a winning tradition as his program heads into its future in the league.

“For most of our season it’s all about development,” Travers said. “You can develop individually, but it’s really tough to develop as a team and develop a winning attitude if you never win. So with this group, it was really important for them to see the fruits of their labour. I’m so glad they got to win a championship, and when the final out was made, I was really happy to see how excited they were about it.

“With these guys, you could see that it was everything coming together and they got to celebrate it. It was awesome to see both of our teams make it to the final. Both teams getting there is incredible. In the championship game, no matter who won, we were going to win. And for my players, it was their championship to win, and they went out and got it.”

OBJ Travers squad wins inaugural CPBL 16U championship

In its inaugural season, the Canadian Premier Baseball League crowned its first champions at the two highest divisions on Sunday afternoon, with the Ontario Blue Jays coming out on top of the Toronto Mets at both the 16U and 18U levels.

The Ontario Blue Jays Travers squad, one that finished atop the 16U regular-season standings with a 28-3 record, took down the Toronto Mets Orange squad 6-3 at Bond Park in North York to capture the division after continuing its strong run through the circuit’s playoffs.

“This was probably the best group of competitors that I’ve ever had, one through 19, they just competed every day,” said Sean Travers, the director of player development for the OBJ program and head coach of the championship 16U squad. “Everybody just contributed. It was a team based around starters. All 19 guys contributed and all 19 guys fought the entire game.”

During a season in which Travers saw his team go from being “guys who played baseball to baseball players,” he found that the way they clawed back in a tough final matchup against the Mets – who finished the regular season with a 17-11 record – was a fitting end to how they played their entire summer.

“It was their absolute fight that made me most proud,” Travers said. “They never gave up. For the first two weeks of our road trip, we only had 16 players, so guys were playing all the time and nobody ever quit the entire year, and then the final game was kind of like a summary of our whole season.

“We got down three to [Mets hurler, Canadian Junior National Team member and Pickering native] Landon Leach and against 16-year-olds, three runs for Landon Leach should be enough, but our guys kept fighting and fighting and fighting. They got back in the game, the little guys got on…the big guys drove them in, and that’s the way all good teams at any levels are.”

With an incredibly well-rounded lineup and staff, including Leach’s Team Canada teammate and Torontonian Harley Gollert, who threw a complete game for the OBJ squad in the win, Travers had tough decisions to make all season long, trying to get everyone out on the field as much as possible.

“As a coach, it makes it harder,” he said. “There are 13 guys who should be in that starting lineup every day. As a coach, when you can go with the hot hand it’s easy, when you just have those eight guys to choose from. But there are 12 or 13 guys every day who deserved to be in that lineup, so it makes my job hard and that’s the way I like it.”

Finishing atop the ladder in both the regular season and in post-season play in the CPBL, Travers is excited about what the new league brought to the table in its inaugural year, and is looking forward to much more as it continues its progression.

“Our record was pretty outstanding,” Travers said. “I thought the league was really good, especially in its first year. We only got to play the Great Lake Canadians four times, so playing the teams that we regularly play, I really like the fact that we actually got to compete for something in the end.

“I thought the league had an awesome first year, and there are definitely improvements we can make going forward to make this league even better. The league is already better than what we came from, but next year and the year after we’ll just keep getting better. There are baseball guys leading it and I would think they’ll make good baseball decisions.”

Seeing the OBJ Steed squad come out on top of the league at the 18U level on Sunday and completing a clean sweep for the program at both of the highest divisions made the win even better for Travers, who couldn’t be happier for the success of the CPBL and the program.

“It’s a testament to all the players and all the families, and how much work the coaches put in,” Travers said. “This is not by accident. The coaches, the families, the players all put in an incredible effort and make incredible sacrifices, and to win them is kind of the reward for that.”