Tag: Sean Travers

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.

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.

Ontario Blue Jays Steed named regular-season champs of inaugural 17U season

With the third Canadian Premier Baseball League season in the books, the calibre of competition continues to grow and accomplishments within the circuit continue to gain the utmost significance. 

After a tight race for the top of the leaderboard at the newly-implemented 17U level in its inaugural year, the Ontario Blue Jays squad led by manager Mike Steed edged out the rest with a 19-7 season, just one game ahead of its closest opponent – and organizational counterpart, the Ontario Blue Jays 17U team led by Sean Travers – and is recognized as the regular-season champion of its division. 

“Basically what led to our success was our starting pitching, led by Lukas Barry and Brandon Deans,” Steed said. “Those two guys anchored the staff for the whole year, and we had a bunch of guys who just pulled their weight. 

“And with that, it just let our offence have the chance to relax a little bit, and hitters like Blake Buckle, Ashton Feijo, Arthur Kowara, and David Coleman, who travelled with us in the fall and are a little bit more mature, it allowed them to do their thing.” 

Among an array of impressive numbers from the squad across the board, the skipper of the Blue Jays believes the season was highlighted by some of the moments it had at the plate. 

“They’re young, they’re physical, and the most impressive thing was what they did offensively,” Steed said. “As well as we pitched it, we put a lot of pressure on some of the teams and the games we won, we got out early, and in between, we had a good combination of speed and power. The kids utilized that to the best of their ability.” 

Spending a busy summer back and forth between the CPBL and across the border at a number of tournaments, Steed was excited to see the competition in the league continue to grow and help his team get better along the way. Just beyond the OBJ Travers team, not far behind in the standings at 16-6, was the Great Lake Canadians 17U team, finishing the regular season with a 15-8-1 record. 

“Overall, the competition was good,” he said. “We had great series against Great Lake, and all our games were good. They took us in the four-game series but in the midweek games, we took them from them, which was great. And then the Toronto Mets Blue was another good series. 

“The league allowed us to do what we needed to do as a team. Obviously at this age, winning the leagues are great for teams and players, but they also needed to keep playing and keep working on some things and it allowed them to do that.” 

Currently on the road in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Steed’s squad has a busy schedule remaining before it wraps up for the summer and looks ahead to another year.

“We’re [at] the Marucci World Series, which we are affiliated with through the Founders Club,” Steed said. “We have opening ceremonies Wednesday, and then Thursday we start tournament play with some great competition. We open up with CBG out of California, and then the Dallas Tigers, and then we finish with the East Coast Sox out of Mississippi. So it’s going to be a very good test.”

Helping the Blue Jays prepare for that test was the successful season they had in the CPBL, and they can’t wait to see what more is in store for the future of the league. 

“There are quality players through every organization,” Steed said. “Whether its’ a guy on the mound that we’re facing that day, or the middle of the order for most clubs, it’s a good test for our guys leading up to come down and playing some of the better, competitive teams in the States. It prepared us in a great way.” 

Noah Naylor enters final summer with Blue Jays and Team Canada

The final countdown is on for Noah Naylor.

Entering his last summer with the Ontario Blue Jays and Canadian Junior National Team programs, the country’s top high school position-playing prospect is grateful for everything he’s been afforded through the process and is excited about what more lay ahead. 

“I’m very thankful to have been part of such a special team,” Naylor said. “I have been gifted with some amazing coaches and amazing players as teammates to play with, so I’m definitely going to miss that, whichever way I go. I’m going to take the time I have with them and make the most of it and play every day like it’s my last with these guys. 

“As of now, I’m just playing my game, working hard, and trying to make the best future I can possibly make for myself. Whichever way I go, whatever happens after the draft, I know it’s going to be a positive decision on my part so I’m just looking forward to it. I’m not trying to put too much pressure on myself. I’m looking forward to the process.” 

It’s been multiple years – and a variety of high-profile showcase tournaments and games – since the 18-year-old got his start with Team Canada, and since he made his collegiate commitment to the Texas A&M Aggies, and now that the last few months before this year’s draft process, and next season’s college recruits report to their respective schools are here, it seems as though it’s gone by in a flash. 

“Looking back at it now, it’s definitely gone pretty quick,” the Mississauga native said. “But I’ve done a pretty good job of taking everything I can from all those showcases and just doing what I can to have fun. That’s something I like to do with my game, just make sure I’m having fun with it. So although it’s gone pretty fast, I’m thankful I got these opportunities and I’m glad I’m moving forward.” 

Three years ago, another Naylor was in the same position, when Noah’s older brother Josh was preparing for Major League Baseball’s selection process as Canada’s top high school position player. Before Josh was made the 12th overall pick in the draft by the Miami Marlins, however, the process was a painstakingly slow one for the older Naylor. 

“Honestly it was really slow; it wasn’t fast at all,” Josh said. “It was really slow and I wish every day was quicker than what it was, because I would think about it all day and night. That’s anything thing I would change. 

“I should have not – not necessarily not cared but – paid as much attention to it, and maybe paid more attention to being with my family or doing something else to take the time to get out of my head, because it will eat you away and kill you inside if you think about it too much.” 

This time around, time is flying for Josh as he watches every move his brother makes, from near when he can and from afar as he continues his journey up the minor league ladder, currently with the Double-A San Antonio Missions in the San Diego Padres organization. 

“It’s going very fast watching Noah, especially because I’m not in it,” Josh said. “It’s going very fast and I think he realizes that too, so he feels a lot of pressure. When I’m with him, I try not to take about anything baseball-related because I don’t want him to go down the wrong road and start thinking too much and then his baseball game goes bad, but it is going extremely fast with him.” 

Noah is grateful for the experiences his brother has had, and everything he has shared in an attempt to make things easier for the younger Naylor as he goes through a similar process. 

“My brother Josh always tells me to have fun with it; it’s the most important part of it all,” Noah said. “Just stick to your game and whatever happens, happens. You can’t control everything that goes on with your career, so the stuff that you can control, just make sure you’re doing whatever you can to make your game better on and off the field.” 

Added Josh: “I’m extremely excited for him. I don’t want to think about it too much or talk to him about it too much or bring it up in family conversations because I don’t want him to feel any pressure. I just want him, on the day of [the draft] to relax and not get too anxious or worry too much about the things that can happen and can’t happen, because you can only control what you can control. It’s all about relaxing and if he goes where he should, then he does, and if he doesn’t, it’s not the end of the world.” 

A mainstay in the Canadian Junior National Team lineup both behind the dish and at the hot corner, the catcher and infielder has left a strong impression on his teammates and coaches, who can’t wait to see what more is in store for the young Naylor. 

“He’s really ready,” Baseball Canada’s director of national teams Greg Hamilton said. “He plays the game with an ease to it, he doesn’t get too high and he doesn’t get too low…He plays very consistent and very determined and very level. There is a fire in there, it’s just not necessarily extroverted, but it’s there. 

“He’s got everything that you’re looking for – he slows the game down offensively and defensively, he’s a special hitter, he’s a different hitter than his brother, but he’s going to be a really good hitter and a really good player.” 

Spending time both with and around the Ontario Blue Jays program for the majority of his life, the staff and players within Naylor’s local organization are also patiently waiting for the upcoming season to unfold. 

“It’s been a long time, and probably the last four or five yeas have been kind of just waiting for this year,” OBJ president and director of player development Sean Travers said. “He’s always been a special player and a special kid, and nothing has changed. He works his butt off, he’s still a really humble and great kid, and it’s fun to watch him do all of these things. 

“I’m sure he feels pressure, but to be able to go out there with a smile on his face and compete and just be Noah, he hasn’t changed. I’ve known him for 10 or 11 years and he hasn’t changed at all; he’s the same Noah as when we started. He’s always been super confident but also super humble, and the hardest worker in the building.” 

With his time as a Blue Jay and junior team member coming to a close, Naylor is looking forward to making his mark and helping the next group of players as they move forward and into his shoes. 

“We’ve got a younger group of guys now, so I’m going to try to help guide them to be the best that they can be,” he said. “Obviously me being with the Junior National Team for quite some time now, I’ve definitely learned a lot of things, so passing that down to the next generation is definitely something I’m going to do, just try to make everybody better and understand that Baseball Canada is a very unique program, so it’s a gift to be a part of this whole process. Have fun with it and take whatever you can away from that experience.” 

Ontario Blue Jays excited for the summer ahead

Excited about what they’ve already been able to accomplish in the first two years of the Canadian Premier Baseball League – with championships at three levels – the Ontario Blue Jays are looking forward to much more of the same success they’ve found, and are hoping to improve as they move into their third year with the loop. 

“The CPBL has been everything that I expected it to be,” OBJ president and director of player development Sean Travers said. “The competition is good, and the playoff format has been cool, and it’s definitely provided everything that our program has been looking for.

“We have the best organizations in the province, and we go out and compete on the weekends. We’re trying to do a better job of showcases and stuff like that, and last year was tough just because of the weather, and we battled through that weather, but for us and our program, it’s getting us ready to go down and compete in the tournaments that we play in, in the States, and it does a really good job of that.” 

During the most recent off-season, the Blue Jays made some changes to their staff and programming, and are excited about how they’ve already seen the differences pay dividends. 

“We really took our strength and conditioning to another level this off-season,” Travers said. “We brought in a testing group to do some testing, and we got a new guy to do our programming, Ben Brewster. He’s out of Atlanta and he did the programming, and that seems to be going really well. We’ve had a good winter. 

“With our pitching program, we’ve seen the velocities all go up, and overall, our scout day was really good. Guys came out and their metrics were a lot better than they were going into the wintertime, so it showed that we had a good winter in the weight room, and a good winter of training, and now we’re just ready to get out and use it all on the field.” 

Travers believes the Blue Jays have a lot to look forward to in the upcoming months and can’t wait to get his players out on the field and see what happens as they move into the summer. 

“Obviously we’re excited for Noah [Naylor, Canada’s top high school position player heading into the spring] and what’s going on with him and hopefully his draft status in June,” Travers said. “We’re excited that we have seven guys playing for Team Canada right now, and we’re exited for them to continue to improve and hopefully help Canada qualify for the next world championship. 

“We’re excited about our college players who are signed and getting ready to go to school, and our summer for our 18-year-olds is a lot less travel now, and a lot more training and preparing for college, so we’re excited to see those guys go off into school. We’re excited to compete for a national championship – we’re taking three teams to the Marucci World Series in Baton Rouge, Louisiana at the end of July, so we’re excited about that, and then obviously we’re really excited to compete in the CPBL.” 

With Naylor in the spotlight for several seasons already, Travers and the rest of the organization are proud and excited to share in the steps he’s taken so far and follow along as he takes his next steps. 

“It’s been a long time, and probably the last four or five years have been kind of just waiting for this year,” Travers said of Naylor. “He’s always been a special player and a special kid, and nothing has changed. He works his butt off, he’s still a really humble and great kid, and it’s fun to watch him do all of these things. 

“I’m sure he feels pressure, but to be able to go out there with a smile on his face and compete and just be Noah, he hasn’t changed. I’ve known him for 10 or 11 years and he hasn’t changed at all; he’s the same Noah as when we started. He’s always been super confident but also super humble, and the hardest worker in the building.” 

With opportunities to continue their baseball careers while pursuing post-secondary education, the Ontario Blue Jays have12 committed to college for the 2018 season, with Jaden Brown committed to the University of Kentucky for the following year. 

Naylor is committed to Texas A&M, Chris Bowles to Clarendon College, Diego Dominguez and Dimitri Stamatopoulos are heading to Paris Junior College, Thomas Grilli to Panola College, Jacob Kush is committed to Northwest Florida State College, Kyle Kush to Canisius College, and Dawson Walters is heading to Eastern Oklahoma State College, with Jake Ervin, Ryan Santos, Tyler Small and Colton Tyler all committed to Northeastern Oklahoma A&M.

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.”