Tag: Fieldhouse Pirates

GLC comes out on top of CPBL’s 16U division

When the winner was crowned at the 16U level of the Canadian Premier Baseball League for the 2019 season, the circuit saw a new champion, with the Great Lake Canadians taking the trophy.

From the beginning of the off-season last year, Great Lake’s 16U manager Jeff Helps saw flashes of what could be from his team, and hoped that they could put it all together so that he and the Canadians staff might see what their potential could do on the field.

“We had a good fall and you could start to see little glimpses of this group being pretty special, whether it was offensively or on the mound,” Helps said. “It started off early with a bang and the boys kept rolling all summer.

“They went down and had some tough games against some older teams in some of our US tournaments but they kept the ball rolling and especially for the championship tournament. It was one of those things where it was in our hands and the boys played good baseball.”

Great Lake started its postseason weekend with a win over the Ontario Astros, before taking on the Toronto Mets and Ontario Blue Jays to secure two more victories. In the final, the Canadians squared off against the Mets and took them down to secure the trophy.

“The most impressive thing about this group is probably the offence,” Helps said. “One through nine or 10, all the guys in the lineup that day. It was a pretty scary offence, and that showed in the last few games where we won by mercying the other teams. It was really electric, where one inning you’d all of a sudden see an extra-base hit, extra-base hit, homer, extra-base hit — it was a really explosive offence that was our staple for most of the year.”

Some of the players who joined Helps were winners before the year even began, with several securing the 15U championship with Great Lake during the 2018 season and others from the team that topped the regular-season standings last year, with a few new additions to round out the trophy-winning squad.

“There were a few from Derek [Bloomfield]’s team and some of that group of kids stayed together, but there were also a few from Shane [Davis]’s team as well,” Helps said. “It’s one of those things where you combine two really good teams and make them into one and usually you end up with a pretty special group, with the pieces we added from the outside as well.”

When the playoff weekend came to an end with the final win of the year for the championship squad, seeing his team hoist the trophy and celebrate was a special moment for Helps and the rest of the Great Lake staff.

“It was pretty cool,” Helps said. “It was one of those things where this group had the ability to do it, but you never know in the game of baseball. You can play whoever you want and sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. With this group though you knew they were smelling it. They were feeling it. It was pretty cool. These guys were so offensive and so explosive that they just took it down.”

The win at the 16U level for the Canadians was one of four championships the program won at the end of the 2019 season, with Great Lake also securing trophies at the 14U, 15U and 17U divisions, and the Ontario Blue Jays winning at the 18U level.

“It shows the strength as a whole, as an entire program,” Helps said. “And from top to bottom, the quality that these kids are performing at. It’s pretty cool as a whole, as a group, as a program, to see that success.

“It’s one of those things where you feel like you’re doing things the right way. Winning isn’t necessarily everything, but sometimes it’s a little feather in your cap where you’re doing things right and it’s being proven on the field.”

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.”

Great Lake’s Black squad secures championship at CPBL’s 14U level

From the start of the season, Matt Bowden, the manager of the Great Lake Canadians 14U Black squad, believed that if his squad played to the best of its ability throughout the year, it could be poised to secure another championship at the youngest level of the Canadian Premier Baseball League.

“At the beginning of the year, I thought for sure we would be a good team, especially having a lot of guys who were returning at 14U within the program,” Bowden said. “Looking at our team from the start, I thought we would have the pitching to definitely get deep into tournaments and to keep us in a lot of games and that was definitely something that came through throughout the season for us.”

Great Lake’s 14U Black team performed on all sides of the ball during the year, helping the squad to the top of the regular season leaderboard before capturing the trophy to cap it off.

“Offensively, we improved throughout the year, put together a lot of good at-bats and really grinded out at-bats and were able to push runs across that way,” the Canadians manager said. “Defensively we were solid, made the plays that we needed to, and it allowed us to stay in games and eventually come out on top.”

In Great Lake’s first game of the 14U postseason, it took on the Ontario Nationals team, securing a victory before matching up against Team Ontario for its second win. For the Canadians’ third win of the playoff tournament and for the championship, they played the Fieldhouse Pirates in back-to-back games, beating them twice.

“In the semi-finals against Fieldhouse, Trevor Syer pitched probably one of the best 14U games I’ve seen in the last couple of years,” Bowden said. “He used three pitches and was able to mow down a good-hitting lineup. Our offence was steady throughout, a lot of good at-bats finding ways to cash runners when we had them in scoring position.

“In the last game against Fieldhouse again, it was a complete team effort. All 14 guys on the team found a way to get in and contribute. I was really impressed by Ashton Graff-Rowe at the top of our order. He’s always finding a way to set the tone and really kickstart our offence there for the guys in the middle to do some damage. The bottom of our order also grinded out good at-bats, finding ways to get on base to roll that lineup over to the top again.”

Sealing the deal in the last win of the season, the elation of Bowden’s team spread to its coaching staff and was enjoyable for all involved.

“It was awesome,” he said. “Throughout the year they experienced a lot of success and they hadn’t really been rewarded with the kind of championships they were looking for, so to come through at the end and see it come to fruition and finish out on top was awesome to see. The group really bonded well together and you could tell they wanted to win not only for themselves but for each other.”

Among the characteristics that most impressed the skipper of Great Lake’s 14U Black team, there were two things that really stood out as the season progressed.

“Our pitching was something that we definitely really leaned on,” Bowden said. “Our starters were really able to give us good innings, get deep into their starts and keep us in games that way. Whether our bats were on or they were struggling a little bit, we felt we could lean on our arms to keep us close and keep us in games.

“The other thing that at least toward the end of the year that started to show up a little bit was the hitters starting to play selfless baseball, finding ways to move runners over or cash runners when we needed them. They really bought into the team game and didn’t care as much about the individual accolades, which was nice to see.”

The championship at the 14U level was one of four trophies the Great Lake program secured among the five total CPBL championships, also winning at the 15U, 16U and 17U levels, with the Ontario Blue Jays coming out on top of the 18U division.

“It just cements that this is one of the top programs, not only for development but as a perennial program throughout the country and throughout the province that is here to compete, here to win,” Bowden said. “At the end of the day, those weekends where we had four of five championships really showed the strength that we have in our program.”

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.

14U Canadian Premier Baseball League playoffs set to get underway

As the summer continues and various age groups complete their seasons, the Canadian Premier Baseball League will see its next winner crowned at the 14U level.

The playoffs at the youngest age group in the circuit follow a win at the highest level of the CPBL by the Ontario Blue Jays, taking the 18U championship earlier this year.

Atop the 14U leaderboard to finish out the regular season sits the Great Lake Canadians Black squad, one that lost only three games all season long. Not far behind are two OBJ squads, with Collymore sitting at the No. 2 seed in the standings and Naylor in third place. All standings are based upon winning percentage, with ties taken into account.

The postseason for all 14U teams is set to begin this Thursday and finish on Saturday, with all games played between the Field of Dreams in Dorchester and the Rotary Field at the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in St. Marys, hosted by the GLC organization. Eight teams will face a double-elimination format to see who will leave champions of the 2019 season. Sunday will be utilized as a rain date for any 14U games that may be postponed throughout the postseason.

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.

18U playoffs set to get underway this weekend

With many regular season games left to play at the younger levels, the Canadian Premier Baseball League is set to head into postseason play at the highest age group in the circuit, with 18U playoff games getting underway beginning on Friday.

Games on Friday are set to begin at both the Field of Dreams in Dorchester and at the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in St. Marys, with matchups continuing throughout the weekend in Dorchester and hosted by the Great Lake Canadians. Six teams will be represented at the 18U level, one from each of the Fieldhouse Pirates, Great Lake Canadians, Ontario Astros, Ontario Blue Jays, Ontario Nationals and Toronto Mets organizations. Playoffs will be played in a double-elimination format.

The regular season saw the Toronto Mets finish atop the 18U leaderboard with an 18-4 record and a late surge, with the Mets winning 10 straight games to finish the regular season and head into playoffs with some momentum. Last year’s regular season and playoff champion at the 18U level, the Great Lake Canadians, finished second in regular-season standings at 16-5 — one-and-a-half games out of first place — and were followed by the Ontario Blue Jays, at 13-10 and five-and-a-half games behind the leaders.

CPBL bylaws will be followed for all games, and each matchup will be seven innings in length. The higher seed in the league standings from the regular season will be the home team throughout the championship. Run rules remain in effect for the entire tournament. Each game has a two-and-a-half-hour time limit, and regular extra innings are permitted during that time. If there is still a tie game at that mark, the international tie breaker procedure will come into effect, and each team will start with the previous two batters on first and second base with none out.

Games will run ahead of schedule where and whenever possible.

Fourth CPBL season underway and thriving

The fourth season of the Canadian Premier Baseball League got off to another rain-hindered start, with postponements, rain delays, field issues, and the like, but most teams have finally had a chance to hit the field and take on their circuit opponents ahead of another successful summer, and the excitement is only building.

Just a couple of weeks away from Major League Baseball’s upcoming draft, the league’s 18U teams have all been on the field for at least two games apiece, with statistical leaders already emerging and names changing atop the leaderboard. While the same can be said at the 17U level, the highest number of games played so far are at the 16U age group, with the Great Lake Canadians leading the charge, with a 5-1 record.

As the league looks ahead to the bulk of the schedule, there’s no better time for a reminder of the alterations to the CPBL bylaws and changes made throughout the off-season. One change was the move to BBCOR bats at all levels, and another was the move to having no mercy rule at the three highest age groups. Player ejection and suspension rule updates are also outlined within the bylaws.

After last year’s five CPBL crowns were split between the Toronto Mets and GLC organizations, with the former winning championships at the 16U and 17U age groups, and the latter taking home the trophies at the 14U, 15U and 18U levels, every organization is excited to embrace what this season has to hold and fight for the 2019 titles.

CPBL announces 2019 regular-season schedule

With spring just around the corner, and the summer months ahead, the Canadian Premier Baseball League is excited to share the schedule for the fourth season of the circuit. Schedules are separated by age group, and times and locations of games have yet to be determined.

2019 CPBL 14U schedule

2019 CPBL 15U schedule

2019 CPBL 16U schedule

2019 CPBL 17U schedule

2019 CPBL 18U schedule

2019 CPBL showcase tournament

We look forward to the season ahead, and as the locations are obtained and the times for games are set, they will be released.

Fieldhouse Pirates enter fourth CPBL season hungry for more

The Fieldhouse Pirates came just close enough to the top of the leaderboard and to the championship trophy to leave the last Canadian Premier Baseball League season hungry for more, and they can’t wait to get the fourth year of the circuit underway to start their quest for just that.

With a successful 2018 campaign under their belts, the Pirates are looking to keep taking steps forward in the organization’s progression as they move into another year in the competitive league.

“Overall, the entire organization did well last year,” Fieldhouse director of baseball operations Jimmy Richardson said. “We could have done better. At the older age groups – at the 18U level – we finished second place in the regular season and lost to a good Great Lake Canadians team in a tight game in the finals, but from a motivation standpoint, all the guys seeing how we performed last year – we want to do better going forward into this year.

“And from a talent perspective, and the top guys in the league, it just seems like the talent keeps getting better and better every year. So we need to make sure we’re ready to go and can compete against those guys for this year.”

Among the season’s highlights, Richardson most enjoyed getting a chance to see some of the hard work that several long-time members of the program have put in over the years come to fruition in their final season with the organization.

“Last year with our 18U group, we had a core group of guys – five or six guys who came up and were with us from the time they were 13,” he said. “Some of those guys played underage at our 18U level for two or three years, and we took some lumps, and then last year they put it all together and we had a really good season. So seeing those guys have the success that they did and being able to have that pay off in their grad year was really fulfilling.”

As the off-season got underway for the Pirates, the organization made some additions and changes in order to maintain it’s progress and keep getting better in preparation for the fourth year of the CPBL.

“From a programming perspective, practice-wise we’ve really put an emphasis on developing our pitchers this off-season, and putting together a comprehensive program that will allow us to have more success in developing higher-end arms,” Richardson said. “Last year, we spent a lot of time working hitting, so we’ve taken that hitting program and built on it from last year, and this year we are building on our pitching program.

“We’ve brought in George Halim as the director of player development to come in and work with all different aspects of our hitters and our infielders, and he’s been a big help in that regard. Our new pitching coordinator Ian Harvey is doing really good work with our pitchers, but those are our two main focuses.”

In the midst of the winter months, Richardson and the Pirates can’t wait to get out on the field and see how the work they have put in and will continue to do throughout the off-season can help them build as they nove forward.

“I’m looking forward to seeing the programming we’ve got in place now and how that’s going to impact the athletes we have in the program,” he said. “We’ve done a good job of going out and getting a bunch of high-end athletes who want to compete in our program and get better, and being able to put that into action on the field against the top programs in our league is something you always want to use as a measuring stick.”

With an eye on the future beyond the next CPBL season, several Fieldhouse players have also made commitments for the upcoming year, with Matt Nolin heading to Oakland University, Zach Cameron and Stephan Hospital to Niagara University, Ian Evans off to Elon University, Stefan Mielzynski going to Otero College, Kenny DiClemente to Crowder College, Lucas Gilbert and Franco Barbiero off to NIACC, Eric Van Bassel going to Niagara County College, Tanner Hodgson off to Mars Hill, Matt McEachern and Josh Hare to Lourdes University, Bryce Arnold heading to Campbell University and Owen Caissie off to the University of Kentucky.

 

CPBL to use BBCOR bats at all levels

As the Canadian Premier Baseball League prepares to head into its fourth year of play, the circuit would like to announce that as the nation’s top college development league, it will be using BBCOR bats at all levels of play, beginning in the 2019 season. 

BBCOR bats are utilized at every level of college baseball across the United States, and this exciting transition for the CPBL will better aid the transition for the league’s players as they prepare for the next level of their baseball careers. Not only will hitters be able to gain comfort in the use of aluminum bats, pitchers will have easier adjustments to the game at the next level, and it will aid in the defensive transition for all players heading to the next level. 

As the most progressive league in development for the future college baseball player, the CPBL  is proud to pioneer this transition. 

“We at the CPBL consider ourselves the leading US college development league in the province of Ontario,” said Rich Leitch, director of baseball for the Toronto Mets and a CPBL league executive. “The switch to BBCOR bats, coupled with the elite level of competition our league offers, will give our players another added advantage over our counterparts.

“Players will now be evaluated on a level playing field with their American competition, while at the same time providing the opportunity for our players to decrease the learning curve they may experience when arriving on campus as freshmen, by using the same equipment they will be using when competing in collegiate baseball.” 

This change will not only help the players in the CPBL as they move on, but it will add to the recruitment process for colleges. 

“The recent decision made by the CPBL to transition to BBCOR bats gives Canadian high school players a significant advantage when pursuing US schools,” said Indiana State University recruiting coordinator Jordan Tiegs. “Not only does this allow for them to be evaluated on the same level as American players throughout the recruiting process but this will also allow for players who do receive scholarships to be that much more prepared to compete on campus their first fall.”

Added Joey Hawkins, current assistant coach at St. Louis University and former Ontario Blue Jays and Missouri State University shortstop: “Switching to BBCOR will help hitters potentially find their offensive identity a little earlier and prepare them for a typical calendar year of work at an American college where you swing metal bats nine months out of the year. It will also help the pitchers learn how to attack and pitch to hitters with a BBCOR bat in their hands prior to heading to school.”

With the advantages provided by the use of BBCOR bats, the decision for the progressive league to transition was simple. 

“As much as I don’t like the sound, I believe going back to the aluminum bat at the high school level here in Canada is a common-sense move that needed to happen,” University of British Columbia head coach Chris Pritchett said. “Besides the obvious cost savings to families, the fact of the matter is that most of our athletes are developing their skillset to compete at the college level, where the aluminum bat is used. From a recruiting standpoint, it will also put both the Canadian hitters and pitchers on an even playing field with their American counterparts, who already use the aluminum bat at the high school level.”