Tag: Ontario Blue Jays

Ontario Blue Jays secure 2019 18U Canadian Premier Baseball League title

The Canadian Premier Baseball League has a new champion at the 18U level, with the Ontario Blue Jays coming out on top in the fourth season of the circuit to capture the trophy at the highest level.

After a slow start to the year, the Blue Jays surged through the end of the season. They won their final eight games of the CPBL regular season and tore through the playoff weekend, defeating the Ontario Astros, Great Lake Canadians and Toronto Mets to seal the championship victory.

“It’s always been a good group,” OBJ 18U manager Joe Ellison said. “They did well at 17U and moving ahead to us at 18U, they had a good fall. We started rough — I don’t think that’s a surprise to anybody — we were 2-8 to start off the year, but they bought into what we were preaching all year and by the end of it, they came out the team they were supposed to be at the beginning. Sometimes it just takes a little bit longer to get going.”

The biggest factor in getting the team going — on its way to the league title — was the leadership it had and the way its players rallied around it.

“We have a lot of guys who have been in our program for five years, and some for even six years in the cases of Lukas Barry and Blake Buckle,” Ellison said. “It was guys like that who the team rallied around when we were struggling.

“Buckle had a team meeting and pulled everybody aside and got us going back in the right direction. That was one of the biggest parts of it, having those senior leadership guys to be able to say, ‘This is the way we do things, and this is not how it should be, and this is how it needs to be,’ and that’s how it got done.”

The Blue Jays earned their way to the winners’ circle after defeating the Astros and Canadians in their first two games of the postseason tournament. They then played back-to-back-to-back games against the Mets, defeating the Toronto squad in their first attempt, dropping the second, and securing the trophy with an 8-5 win.

“I couldn’t be more happy,” the 18U OBJ manager said. “A lot of hard work goes into these teams, especially at the 18U level, and the 18U program has been something that we’ve really wanted to improve on the last couple of years.

“Finally to have it win a championship and get back to where it should be is really exciting for our program, and exciting for myself, the players, and the whole coaching staff.”

As the season continues south of the border for the Blue Jays this summer, the organization couldn’t be more excited about the competition and calibre of play the CPBL provided throughout the year at the 18U level.

“It’s huge for us,” Ellison said. “The addition of metal bats this year made it a little more exciting, definitely more of an offensive league this year. It challenged our pitchers and our position players to be much better and to take care of the baseball.

“For us, our next stop is to Flint, Michigan for the Connie Mack World Series qualifier, and to go in on a high note and in a really good spot as a team, I’m excited.”

Winning the league championship was the icing on the cake for a Blue Jays’ squad that showed a no-quit attitude all year long, and was truly an entire team effort come to fruition on Sunday.

“I go back to the leadership guys, the guys who have been around the block, who I really leaned on  to help right the ship with our 18U program,” Ellison said. “They did that, and I really couldn’t be any more proud of those guys and the team as a whole. Everybody contributed something throughout the year.

“Obviously when you get off to the start we did, the wheels could have come off really easily, but the guys pulled together and everybody played a role. Even though they might not have been in the championship game on Sunday, everyone did something this year to help us win and to get to where we were to give us that opportunity.”

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.

Six CPBL players selected in 2019 MLB draft

Among the 25 Canadian players selected in this year’s draft — including 12 total high schoolers — all six players selected out of Ontario high schools are representatives of the Canadian Premier Baseball League, and were chosen from the Ontario Blue Jays, Great Lake Canadians and Toronto Mets organizations.

Dasan Brown was not only the first CPBL player off the draft board, but the first Canadian of the entire class, when the Toronto Blue Jays selected the speedy Ontario Blue Jays outfielder in the third round, with the 88th overall pick.

Brown is one of the fastest players in the 2019 Draft class — if not the fastest — with 70-grade speed according to MLB Pipeline, and 80-grade speed according to Baseball America, and the athletic outfielder has been consistently ranked as the best Canadian prospect this year. He should be a plus defender, and though there is much room for improvement at the plate, he was heavily scouted facing professional competition with Team Canada, giving an easy glimpse into his future.

“Dasan is a quick-twitch athletic outfielder who has the ability to change a game with the speed he plays at,” said OBJ 18U manager Joe Ellison. “His athleticism has been something we’ve seen since he was 15 years old, but his hard work has paid off in the cages to improve his ability to hit, and hit with power, over the last three years. He’s also the type of player who doesn’t shy away from leading a team both on and off the field.”

The second CPBL player selected in the draft was another Ontario Blue Jays player — also a representative of the Canadian Junior National Team — infielder TJ Schofield-Sam, who was taken by the Oakland Athletics in the 12th round, the 374th overall selection.

“TJ is easily one of the best hitters I’ve ever coached,” Ellison said. “He is a pure hitter, no matter the count, pitcher, field or score. TJ is going to give you a great at-bat, and come through in the most clutch situations. His approach is mature, well beyond his age, and he has incredible plate coverage and discipline.

“He is a quiet leader who takes his leadership onto the field and lets his performance lead the way.”

A third OBJ player came off the board in the 40th round with the 1203rd pick of the draft, when the Washington Nationals selected shortstop Jaden Brown, a Mississauga native who is committed to the University of Kentucky.

“Jaden is an incredible athlete, who is as physical as he is athletic,” Ellison said. “He brings explosive actions to everything that he does, and contributes to every team he’s a part of. He features plus power, plus speed, and plus arm strength from shortstop. He’s a leader both on and off the field, and continues to be one of the hardest-working players in our program.”

Owen Diodati, a 6-foot-3, 210-pound left-handed-hitting backstop from Niagara Falls became the third CPBL player taken off the draft board and the third Canadian selected by the Blue Jays when Toronto called the Great Lake Canadians catcher’s name in the 29th round, with the 867th overall pick.

“He’s been one of our hardest workers,” GLC director of baseball operations Chris Robinson said of Diodati. “He’s just the type of kid you don’t bet against. He’s a really mature kid on and off the field in terms of his approach to the game. Offensively, he’s got that professional approach already.

“I know there were some questions of whether he could catch, and I was impressed with how he went about that. He went and spent his entire off-season with a little bit of a chip on his shoulder to prove that he could catch, and it’s pretty cool today getting drafted as a catcher. That’s a cool thing for Owen because I know that’s something he believes in and he really wants to fulfill.”

Added Diodati: “The Blue Jays were one of the teams that really believed in me as a catcher and thought I could do well back there and stay behind the plate regardless of what the bat is and what usually happens to guys like me in pro baseball.

“That was something I talked to [Robinson] about from the very start – I wanted to catch. For them to believe in me and to draft me as a catcher, it’s definitely special. It speaks to the hard work I put it, but also drives me and fuels me to keep working, because I know it’s possible if I really want to do it.”

Two Toronto Mets players round out the total of CPBL representatives selected in the draft. Ryan Leitch, a 6-foot-2, 205-pound catcher from Whitby with a commitment to Marshall University was taken in the 29th round of the selection process by the Cincinnati Reds.

 

“Just being selected was the most exciting part of the draft, honestly,” the 17-year-old said. “Hearing my name being called was special. I’ve always dreamed about hearing, ‘Ryan Leitch, selected by a team,’ and then to hear it finally happen, it’s just surreal. I was at a loss for words when it happened.”

Leitch was followed by fellow Toronto Mets player Keegan Pulford-Thorpe, a 6-foot-4, 205-pound left-handed pitcher, committed to Central Florida University, who was taken by the San Diego Padres in the 33rd round.

“It was really exciting,” Pulford-Thorpe said. “I was actually just sitting down working on some homework, because I have an assignment due, and I got a call from an unknown number who I didn’t have a contact for. I didn’t really think much of it, so I picked it up and it was [Canadian scout] Murray Zuk from the Padres calling me, telling me I’d been drafted. Then I went on my phone and saw different messages from people, and it was an amazing feeling.”

Ontario Blue Jays TJ Schofield-Sam and Jaden Brown selected in 2019 MLB Draft

TORONTO — After Dasan Brown became the first Canadian off the draft board on Tuesday during Major League Baseball’s annual selection process — taken in the third round by the Toronto Blue Jays — it wasn’t long before a number of familiar names were called.

The second Canadian Premier Baseball League player selected in the draft was another Ontario Blue Jays player — also a representative of the Canadian Junior National Team — infielder TJ Schofield-Sam, who was taken by the Oakland Athletics in the 12th round, the 374th overall selection.

“TJ is easily one of the best hitters I’ve ever coached,” said OBJ 18U manager Joe Ellison. “He is a pure hitter, no matter the count, pitcher, field or score. TJ is going to give you a great at-bat, and come through in the most clutch situations. His approach is mature, well beyond his age, and he has incredible plate coverage and discipline.

“He is a quiet leader who takes his leadership onto the field and lets his performance lead the way.”

Schofield-Sam is a 6-foot-1, 185-pound left-handed hitter who was drafted as a third baseman by the A’s. The 17-year-old from Brampton is committed to Chipola College in Florida and competed at the Blue Jays annual showcase for college-eligible players — Tournament 12 — on three occasions.

“The Athletics are getting a hitter, and a very talented one at that,” Ellison said. “I believe he can hit at any level you put him at. TJ will continue to offer a lineup a ton of disciplined at-bats with the ability to drive baseballs out of the park. Oakland is getting a great player with a great work ethic who loves to hit and has the ability to become a big part of their organization.”

A third OBJ player came off the board in the 40th round with the 1203rd pick of the draft, when the Washington Nationals selected shortstop Jaden Brown, a Mississauga native who is committed to the University of Kentucky.

“Jaden is an incredible athlete, who is as physical as he is athletic,” Ellison said. “He brings explosive actions to everything that he does, and contributes to every team he’s a part of. He features plus power, plus speed, and plus arm strength from shortstop. He’s a leader both on and off the field, and continues to be one of the hardest-working players in our program.”

Ellison is excited to see what Brown – also a member of Team Canada – has to offer at his next stop, wherever his baseball career takes him.

“Whether it is with Washington or the University of Kentucky, Jaden is going to give them a ton of plus tools to work with,” the 18U OBJ manager said. “His ability to hit, hit with power, run and throw will be assets to anyone’s team or program. Jaden has the tools to become an impact player at the next level, whether that be college or professional. He will continue to be the hardest worker and most determined to succeed.”

The OBJ organization couldn’t be more excited to follow its players as they take the next steps in their careers and see what the future holds.

“It’s hard to put into words exactly how proud we are of these players for achieving what they’ve always dreamed of,” Ellison said. “They’ve been with us for years and we’ve had the opportunity to watch them grow up and develop right in front of our eyes. We couldn’t be more happy for not only these extremely talented players, but for their families as well. We wish them nothing but success at the next level.”

Dasan Brown, Schofield-Sam and Jaden Brown were three of the six Canadian Premier Baseball League players selected in the 2019 draft. Great Lake Canadians catcher Owen Diodati was selected by the Blue Jays in the 29th round, while Toronto Mets catcher Ryan Leitch was taken by the Cincinnati Reds in the same round, and Mets left-hander Keegan Pulford-Thorpe was chosen by the San Diego Padres in the 33rd round of the selection process.

Dasan Brown a third-round pick of the Toronto Blue Jays

TORONTO – As the second day of Major League Baseball’s draft began on Tuesday, Dasan Brown quickly became the first Canadian taken off the board when the Toronto Blue Jays selected the speedy Ontario Blue Jays outfielder in the third round, with the 88th overall pick.

Consistently ranked atop the 2019 draft class as the selection process approached, Toronto had an inordinate amount of familiarity with Brown, a native of nearby Oakville. Not only had the Blue Jays seen him playing games in the Canadian Premier Baseball League with the OBJ program, and with the Canadian Junior National Team, but they also hosted him three times at their annual showcase for the best college-eligible players in the country, Tournament 12.

It was over those years that Brown showcased his propensity for growth, learning how to hone in on the tools that will help to carry him as he moves forward in his baseball career, as well as how to deal with the failures that baseball brings.

“When I first started playing with the Blue Jays, I just needed somewhere to play,” Brown said. “And [OBJ coaches] Sean Travers, Eddie Largy, Mike Steed, all those guys really took me in and helped me to understand it’s a game but you have to use your brain, you have to trust yourself, and trust your abilities. Once you can do that, the sky’s the limit.

“[Baseball Canada’s director of national teams] Greg Hamilton with [Team Canada] had a real calm approach with us. He really let us play and that’s what helped my development, just being about to go out there and make mistakes, go out there and struggle a little bit, so that I can bring myself up. It’s helped me.”

Witnessing Brown’s upbringing in Canadian baseball and seeing him on a plethora of occasions are the reasons the young player feels the Blue Jays believed in him enough to make him the top Canuck in the Draft.

“It helped a lot,” Brown said. “Just them knowing what kind of player they’re getting. They’ve seen the ups, they’ve seen the downs, so trying to take that neutral [look] and go to the next step of my life and potentially have the opportunity to [play professionally], I’m looking forward to it.”

Kory Lafreniere, Toronto’s coordinator of amateur scouting, was the scout who selected Brown on Tuesday, after years of seeing the young player in action.

“It was a cool moment just because he’s been with me through this entire process so just hearing that call, that’s pretty cool,” Brown said. “He basically said, ‘We’re glad to have you.’ I’ll have to make a decision, but this opportunity is something different, something special, so just being able to enjoy this and moving forward and making a decision, I’m looking forward to it.”

Brown is one of the fastest players in the 2019 Draft class — if not the fastest — with 70-grade speed according to MLB Pipeline, and 80-grade speed according to Baseball America, and the athletic outfielder has been consistently ranked as the best Canadian prospect this year. He should be a plus defender, and though there is much room for improvement at the plate, he was heavily scouted facing professional competition with Team Canada, giving an easy glimpse into his future.

“Dasan is a quick-twitch athletic outfielder who has the ability to change a game with the speed he plays at,” said OBJ 18U manager Joe Ellison. “His athleticism has been something we’ve seen since he was 15 years old, but his hard work has paid off in the cages to improve his ability to hit, and hit with power, over the last three years. He’s also the type of player who doesn’t shy away from leading a team both on and off the field.”

Brown earned his first shot at Team Canada late in ’17 and helped his country to a bronze medal at the COPABE U18 Pan Am Championships in Panama last fall. But in between, he had an eye-opening experience in his first glimpse of Minor League Spring Training, something he believes will help him as he moves forward.

“My very first Spring Training trip in 2018, we were coming out of the winter, so we were in gyms, batting cages, all that,” Brown said. “We went onto the field, and I was 16 at the time, and we were playing grown men.

“These guys had been [playing outside] for a couple weeks, and you can’t have a child’s mindset when you’re going into that environment. So it really forced me to grow up and forced me to understand that I’m not going to be the best player right now, but it just matters the progress I make.”

Brown will look to take that mindset with him as he makes his next move. The 17-year-old outfielder is committed to Texas A&M, and the Blue Jays will have to pull him away from the Aggies. The slot value for the No. 88 pick in the Draft is $678,600.

“Wherever Dasan ends up, whether it be with a professional organization or at Texas A&M, he will succeed,” Ellison said. “Dasan’s work ethic and athletic ability will carry him throughout the remainder of his baseball career, no matter the level. Wherever he ends up after this week, that organization is getting a first-class kid with incredible talent and athletic ability that could produce at the highest level as he continues to develop.”

A version of this story originally appeared on BlueJays.com.

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.

Ontario Blue Jays ready to head into fourth CPBL season

Excited about what they accomplished last year both in and outside of the Canadian Premier Baseball League, the Ontario Blue Jays are looking forward to much more of the same success they’ve found, and continued improvements as they enter the fourth year of the circuit.

Though the program didn’t get to participate in the post-season at several age groups last season – because of scheduling conflicts – it did finish atop the regular-season standings at the 17U level and near the top of the leaderboard at multiple other levels. As a result, the schedule has been altered for the upcoming year to ensure all teams are eligible to participate.

“Last season was great,” OBJ president and director of player development Sean Travers said. “It was unfortunate we didn’t get to play in the CPBL playoffs, which sucks but they’ve remedied that for this year. The season was good and the competition was good. It helped us prepare to go down to the States and have a good summer.”

The biggest success stories of the season last year for the Blue Jays were two tournament wins south of the border, bringing home championship victories from Houston and Louisiana.

“It was cool because we won the Future Stars Series tournament in Houston and that kind of propelled us into the Marucci World Series, which we won and that was huge. It was in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and that was the biggest part of the season – winning the Marucci World Series.”

Through the off-season so far, the OBJ organization has given its regular programming a new look and feel, through the use of an easy-access application, an additional way for players and users to track their progress and schedule through the winter months.

“The neat thing that we’ve started this off-season is we’re running everything through an app now,” Travers said. “So we are still doing everything we’ve done and we’re just kind of stepping it up with the use of an app. We’ve had a really good first phase of weight lifting and conditioning this winter, and practices have just started for the year.”

Looking ahead to sunnier days and warmer months, the program’s president is eager for each phase of the year, and most of all to getting things going on the field.

“The season goes in stages,” Travers said. “Right now I’m looking forward to our first practices, those are huge. Then once we get that going, we look forward to getting down to Vero Beach and having spring training for a week.

“When that’s over, we come home and we get excited about the CPBL season. When that’s over, we get excited about going down and doing our summer tour. The biggest thing will obviously be our summer tour, but it’s event by event around here and it’s all exciting.”

Beyond the start of the fourth CPBL season, and several trips across the border, Travers is also anticipating several exciting summer moments for his current and former players, and can’t wait to see how they unfold.

“It’s going to be a real interesting year in the draft, and from a former-players perspective, hopefully we’ll have a couple big leaguers this season,” Travers said. “So that stuff is pretty exciting. And every year is a different group, so every year is exciting because you get to work with new kids and see what they can do.”

With opportunities to continue their baseball careers while pursuing post-secondary education, the Ontario Blue Jays have added several commitments to the fold for the upcoming season. Lukas Barry is planning on heading to St. Louis University, Kyle Lev to Siena College, Jaden Brown to the University of Kentucky, Dasan Brown to Texas A&M University, David McCabe to the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and TJ Schofield-Sam to Chipola Junior College. Caden Griffin has also committed to the University of Missouri for the 2020 season.

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.”

CPBL well represented at the sixth-annual Tournament 12

Following a successful finish to the third Canadian Premier Baseball League season, many of the circuit’s players will continue to represent on the highest stage right at home, with 39 players and four coaches representing the loop at the sixth-annual Tournament 12. 

Heading to the prestigious Toronto Blue Jays-hosted event for his third time, Ontario Blue Jays shortstop Jaden Brown couldn’t be more excited for what his final appearance at the tournament may bring, and hopes to share what he learned from his previous experiences with those who may be less familiar. 

“I was really nervous the first time I came to T12,” the 16-year-old said. “I just didn’t want to mess up…But at the end of the day, it’s not really about that. It’s more about your attitude and how you show yourself on the field. Scouts realize you’re young and you’ll grow into it. 

“So if I could give advice to players coming in for the first time, it would be to not try too hard. Last year was easier because I was already there and I already knew how it would go, so I just went out and did my thing. And it’s still exciting for this year because this is going to be my last year and I just want to have fun with it.” 

Owen Diodati, a catcher in the Great Lake Canadians organization, is also heading into his third appearance at Tournament 12, and is grateful for everything he’s learned along the way, also looking forward to another chance to play at Rogers Centre. 

“In my first year of T12, it was the first time I really had a chance to play against good competition, and I was playing against the best kids in Canada, so in a way it was a wakeup call for me too,” Diodati said. “Obviously I struggled a little bit at the time, and it was tough the first year, but it gave me an idea of what it takes to be a good player and play at the highest level…

“This year is different because I know what to expect. The first year was kind of a whirlwind, playing at Rogers Centre and going through it all. Last year, I settled in and started to compete, and this year obviously I want to go in and dominate if I can do so.”

Beginning on September 13, Tournament 12 will take over Rogers Centre and play host to 160 of the country’s best up-and-coming college-eligible players. Among the 54 Ontario players selected to the Black, Navy and Green rosters, 39 hail from CPBL programs – representing the Fieldhouse Pirates, Great Lake Canadians, Ontario Blue Jays, Toronto Mets and Tri-City Giants organizations – in addition to four of the league’s coaches. 

The Futures Navy squad features eight CPBL players including Turner Spoljaric, Mitchell Bratt, Calvin Ziegler, Caden Shapiro, Owen Caissie, Riley Silva, Josh Niles and Cole Iantomasi. Navy also houses one CPBL coach in Brock Kjeldgaard. 

The Ontario Green roster has the highest number of players from the league with 18, including Brandon Deans, Lukas Barry, Nick Fraser, Matt Nolin, Zach Cameron, Graham MacNeil, Caleb Clark, Kieran Gagnon, Joel McKnight, Noel McGarry Doyle, Zach Gardiner, Blake Buckle, Ryan Farther, Noah Hull, TJ Schofield-Sam, Tye Imeson, Bryce Arnold and Drew Howard. Green is also home to CPBL coaches Adam Stern and Chris Robinson. 

Ontario Black is home to 13 CPBL players, with Caden Griffin, Keegan Pulford-Thorpe, Carter Seabrooke, Matt Duffy, Dasan Brown, Eric Martin, Diodati, Ryan Leitch, Brown, David McCabe, Biran Zapp, Tyler Hinrikus and Kenny Diclemente. The Black team is also host to CPBL coach Mike Steed.