Tag: Team Ontario

Ontario Astros look ahead to fourth season of the CPBL

As we get closer to spring and approach the fourth season of the Canadian Premier Baseball League, the Ontario Astros are looking forward to what lay ahead for the circuit and for the program.

The Astros have been impressed and challenged by the competition the league has consistently brought to the table, and are excited for more of the same, as well as having a chance to build on the successes they found last year.

“The league is doing really well,” Team Ontario director of baseball operations Jason Booth said. “It’s starting to establish a history and we’re starting to see that we are the best league with college commitments in the province, and the CPBL houses the best players in the province – that’s been proven.

“As far as our program goes, there’s never an easy weekend in the league, it’s a tough schedule and quality competition across the board. Our program is moving in an upward swing. We had a five-year plan to make some changes and this will be Year 3 of that plan and we’re getting there. We’ll be competitive at all age groups, and we’re really excited for our 15U team this year. They were our 14U group last year and had a really good year so we’re looking for them to continue that success. And our college placement has been going very well.”

Through the duration of the 2018 season, the most memorable moment for Booth came at the circuit’s close, when the youngest of the organization’s teams made a solid run for a trophy.

“Our 14U team last year – I’m proud of how they battled through the season and battled through some injuries and into the finals,” the director of baseball operations said. “They lost to the Great Lake Canadians in the championship. They did a good job and we think that team is even stronger this year. We are looking forward to seeing what they can do in 2019.”

Throughout the off-season months, the Astros have made some additions and changes to their programming and can’t wait to get out on the field for spring training ahead of the upcoming CPBL season.

“We’ve added a new weight program into our mix, we’ve changed some dynamics with how we’re doing our winter workouts, we have different positional methods, and we’ve had some US coaches and college guys come in and help us through the winter,” Booth said. “We’re taking 44 kids to Florida on March Break to West Palm Beach, which we’re excited about. We’ll have three teams there.”

And beyond the spring, Team Ontario is excited for what’s next in the CPBL, and for its graduating players.

“I like that the 18U playoff weekend has been moved up so those players get an opportunity to have a season and play, and then they get a chance to focus on school starting at the beginning of July,” Booth said. “For our 18U team, it’s a little different because it gives our guys an opportunity to go to the four US tournaments we go to.

“We’re looking forward to having our 2019 class together and playing their final season before they head off to school. Most of those guys have been in the program for three or four years now and it’s exciting to see them end their careers in a positive environment and help them move on.”

As the commitment dominoes continue to fall, the Astros are excited to see where a number of their players land, and they are also looking forward to seeing what their 18U captain Riley McErlean can do as he fulfills his commitment at the College of Wooster in Toledo.

“Wooster is the pre-season No. 1 Division-III program in the nation and he committed in November,” Booth said. “Riley going there is a big thing for us. He’s our team captain this year and he’s been with the program the longest. He’s a leader and really what Team O represents and a great opportunity for him, fitting his needs academically and athletically. And it’s still early, so we look forward to seeing where our other players commit.”

CPBL set to open third season with prospect showcase and tournament

The third season of the Canadian Premier Baseball League is upon us, and the Ontario Blue Jays, Great Lake Canadians, Toronto Mets, Fieldhouse Pirates, Ontario Nationals and Team Ontario Astros are set to start in a big way with the circuit-opening showcase and tournament in Dorchester and St. Marys over the first weekend of May. 

Beginning on Thursday, May 3 at the Field of Dreams in Dorchester, 27 of the league’s top draft prospects – selected by the team in conjunction with a number of area and national scouts – will run the 60-yard dash, throw from their respective catching, infield, and outfield positions, and then take batting practice before the first of three games on the opening day of the event. 

“When we first started the CPBL, we thought a way to kick off the season would be showcasing the top talent in an atmosphere where players eligible for the draft would be able to showcase themselves right before the draft,” CPBL executive Adam Stern said. “And it’s a chance for them to square off against each other and to see the teams play, with some of the best talent in Canada. That was the whole premise behind it, the ability to group some of the best Ontario talent and showcase it in an exciting atmosphere at the beginning of the season.”

The same event was set to be held last year, but because of inclement weather in the area, the showcase had to moved indoors and all of the games in the opening weekend’s tournament had to be cancelled. 

“We had so much interest in that opening weekend [last year], so I’m hoping that we can generate the same interest level,” CPBL executive Chris Robinson said. “Obviously with some of the draft-eligible guys from throughout the league, we should be able to make it a weekend where people are coming up to watch. 

“I’m starting to hear from scouts and schools that they’re going to be here, so that’s exciting for us because it’s one event that we have really wanted to develop.”

Coming off of tours with the Canadian Junior National Team, CPBL position players Dasan Brown, Jaden Brown, Blake Buckle, Daniel Carinci, Denzel Clarke, Ryan Faragher, Joel McKnight, Noah Naylor and TJ Schofield-Sam are the invitees who will headline the morning showcase. 

Also invited to the morning event to kick off the tournament are 2018 draft-eligible players Jordan Babcock, Tyler Black, Brandon Clarke, Brett Graham, Spencer Marcus, David Mccabe, Justin Raspanti, Cam Sanderson, Ryan Santos and Austin Wilkie. From the 2019 class, invited participants include Zach Cameron, Kenny Diclemente, Owen Diodati, Simon Grinberg, Tyler Hinrikus, Noah Hull, Ryan Leitch, and Eric Martin.

The first game of the tournament is set to get underway at one o’clock on Thursday afternoon with the 18U Great Lake Canadians taking on the Ontario Blue Jays 18U squad at the Field of Dreams in Dorchester. The 18U teams from the GLC, OBJ, Nationals, Pirates and Mets organizations will all play at least one game before the conclusion of the first day of the tournament. 

All 17U and 18U squads in the CPBL will play four games throughout the course of the weekend event, splitting time between the Field of Dreams in Dorchester and the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in St. Marys. Games will run ahead of schedule when possible, with matchups on Friday, Saturday and Sunday on a two-and-a-half-hour time limit. There will be no extra innings, and infields will be taken by teams when time allows. A coin toss will designate the home team in each contest.

Team Ontario Astros looking forward to program upgrades for third year of CPBL

Ready to embrace the third season of the Canadian Premier Baseball League, the Team Ontario Astros are excited about the teams they’ve added to the program, the idea of playing baseball outside after a long winter, and an off-season that the organization believes will lead to success this year. 

Through the first two years of the circuit, Team Ontario has enjoyed being a part of the CPBL because of the level of play it provides, the chances it gives its players – on and off the field – and the excitement it brings for baseball in Ontario. 

“The CPBL is the best league in the province,” said Jason Booth, the Astros director of baseball operations. “It brings quality competition week in and week out. It provides a stage for our kids to be able to be showcased, and to have collegiate and professional opportunities. The league has created an identity for itself that sets a standard for those opportunities, and I can only see that continuing for as long as we keep the CPBL.” 

Through the most recent off-season, the Astros made several changes and upgrades to the organization, and are looking forward to seeing how the changes translate on the field when the season begins. 

“Our program is growing,” Booth said. “We’re now five teams from the 14U to 18U divisions, with one team at each level. We’ve Brough in some new coaches, and there have been some changes within The Dugout Baseball and Softball Academy, which is our facility. We’ve made some cage additions and training additions there, and the program works out there three days a week per team. 

“As far as staff goes, we’re excited about the opportunity to bring in hitting coordinator Eric Owens, who played in the major leagues and is the former assistant hitting coach for the Toronto Blue Jays. We’ve done some things and are excited for the program and the direction we’re going in.”

The off-season alterations the Astros have made have helped to add excitement for the third CPBL season, and they can’t wait to see it all out on the field. 

“We’ve been able to get stronger and more physical,” Booth said. “Our kids have been able to make changes to swings, and we’ve had a lot of highlights with some of the arms that we’ve brought in. We’re really excited about all of our teams, but I think a highlight for us will be our 18U and 16U teams, and our 14U team should be very different than it was a year ago. Our kids are older now, and they’re ready to come in and compete. We brought back a lot of 14U players, so they’ve had a year of experience in the league and we’re going to see some of those benefits.”

With the season set to begin, Team Ontario is looking forward to all of the benefits the CPBL has to offer, from the calibre of competition to the opportunities it can provide. 

“We’ve all excited to get outside first of all,” Booth said. “But for the upcoming season for our program I’m excited to get our kids out and see how they’ve progressed over the winter. We’re excited to see our 2019 and 2020 classes, and to get them out and to see where they are as they go through the recruiting process. For us, it’s all about getting our kids to the next level of college baseball. There’s a lot of talent there.” 

Great Lake Canadians look ahead to third year of CPBL

Excited about the success of the Canadian Premier Baseball League in its first two seasons and the way the circuit has aided in the development and expansion of their program – in addition to winning three of four championships last year – the Great Lake Canadians are looking forward to even more in the third season of the loop.

“We had a pretty good year last year as a program, and the product of seeing our guys go off to school and have success because they’re playing against the top talent in the country in our league,” GLC director of baseball operations and CPBL executive Chris Robinson said. “That’s in and of itself the reason that we started this. 

“So it’s exciting to see not only our guys, but guys across the CPBL from different programs go down to college, be prepared, step in, and early in their careers have success and be big parts of their teams. When it’s all said and done, that’s what we were aiming for, so it seems to be really effective that way.” 

During the most recent winter, the Canadians added a squad to the fold, and made multiple changes to their staff, with some additions and some movement, and they can’t wait to see how the differences translate to the field. 

“We added one team this year, so now we have two 15U clubs,” Robinson said. “Our young 14U team last year pushed the envelope a little bit because of how successful they were [winning the CPBL 14U championship] and because of how quickly they developed. So we’re excited to add that piece, and we adjusted some of the staff, putting guys in positions where they’re going to be successful and dealing with players that are the best fit for them. 

“Jeff Helps is going to manage the 16U team, Brock Kjeldgaard is going to jump up to the 17U team, and Derek Bloomfield, who’s been a long-time rover and jack of all trades for us, and knows the program inside and out, he’s going to take over the 15U Red team. 

“We’ve added Jon Fitzsimmons on the pitching side, and we’re really excited about that, and to have Brendan Saville and Ryan Zimmer, guys we’ve been able to add who are local and tremendous coaches to add to the stable we already have here. It’s exciting and it continues to grow, but we’re also able to grow as a staff with it and add guys with the calibre of coaching that we have.” 

Another piece added to the Great Lake puzzle this off-season was the announcement of several organizational awards as the Canadians made an effort to recognize the accomplishments of current and former players with bigger plans for the accolades in the fold for the future. 

“The awards were neat, and something that [director of player development Adam] Stern has wanted to do forever,” Robinson said. “It’s a great idea, and recognizes some guys within the program, and some of our alumni. It’s neat to see our organizational MVP Noah Myers is down in college doing what he’s doing and having a tremendous amount of success there. 

“And then for guys within the program it’s nice to acknowledge what they’ve done throughout the whole year on the field and off the field. Hopefully the kids look at it as something they want to shoot for. Going into this year, we’re planning a big banquet, and it would be neat to put everything together and bring the family in all at once and celebrate the year in that banquet-type setting.” 

After an incredibly successful second season of the CPBL in which Great Lake teams won championships at the 14U, 15U and 18U age groups, the organization believes there is still much more to accomplish as it moves forward. 

“I don’t think we ever evaluate the development process on wins and losses, but it’s good for the kids to see the hard work paying off and buying into the process,” Robinson said. “Our 14U Red team was a perfect example of that, where they really bought in, developed so quickly, and they were a tight group so it was neat to see them have the success that they had. Our 17U team was great, winning the championship at the 18U age group, and our 15U team was great, winning the championship there, but our teams that didn’t win were very successful too, so we were lucky to have really strong baseball clubs from top to bottom. 

“That’s the expectation for us and we expect our guys to show up to the field and have that desire to win and the instinct to win baseball games. That’s what it has to be at the next level, so if we can prepare our guys for that, then we’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing.” 

Robinson is looking forward to getting the CPBL going to not only see how the Canadians fare on the field, but also in the hopes of having a successful opening weekend showcase and tournament, with eyes on a midsummer classic as well, after bad weather interrupted a variety of the league’s plans over the first two seasons. 

“We had so much interest in that opening weekend [last year], so I’m hoping that we can generate the same interest level,” Robinson said. “Obviously with some of the draft-eligible guys from throughout the league, we should be able to make it a weekend where people are coming up to watch. I’m starting to hear from scouts and schools that they’re going to be here, so that’s exciting for us because it’s one event that we have really wanted to develop. 

“The all-star game is still a swing and miss and we want to make a couple adjustments to it. We didn’t figure it out last year but hopefully this year we can do it in a way where it becomes a recruiting event for some of the younger guys in the league, and to recognize some of the guys in the older age groups who have had good seasons. That’s the goal, but we continue to build the product, play games that are competitive, and continue to separate ourselves as the best league in the country. That’s what we’re looking to do.”

Among the players who will see their CPBL tenures come to an end this summer, the Great Lake Canadians are sending Eric Cerantola to Mississippi State University, Matt Jenkins is committed to Harvard University, Kian Bukala to the University of Indianapolis, Jacob Schuurman is heading to Calvin College, Ian Jordan will be going to Cuyahoga Community College, Cam Sanderson will be attending the University of British Columbia, Kyle Maves is off to Quinnipiac University, and Cal Theal will be heading to Niagara University. For the 2019 season, Eric Martin is committed to Indiana State University, Brian Zapp will be heading to Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and Owen Diodati is committed to Xavier University. 

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.

Fieldhouse Pirates take development focus into third CPBL season

Growing throughout the first two seasons of the Canadian Premier Baseball League, the Fieldhouse Pirates have continued to make the developmental strides they have been aiming for as the program moves forward. 

The organization has thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the league and competing against some of the best teams in the country, with each program pushing the others to continue to grow and get better. 

“The biggest takeaway so far has been the level of competition,” Pirates director of player development Jimmy Richardson said. “Between all the teams in the league, with everybody pushing each other on the development side and the level of play just continuing to rise every year from where we were in the first year to where we were last year, and then you could see it through the fall this year and the winter. 

“All the programs are pushing the envelope of development with their players, and I’m excited to see the step forward that everybody takes on the field this year.” 

Throughout the most recent off-season, the Fieldhouse organization has made forward strides in continuing to aid its players’ development with some changes on the staffing side that it is very excited about. 

“We brought in [former fifth-round pick of the Toronto Blue Jays] Lee Delfino and Nick Weglarz [a third-round pick of the Cleveland Indians in 2005] and had those guys work with our hitters during the winter,” Richardson said. “So we put a big emphasis on our hitting program and let those two guys spearhead it with our 16U coach Paul Howarth. 

“You couldn’t ask for two better guys, who came up in the Canadian system and have professional experience, to be working with our hitters. We’re excited to see how that translates onto the field once we start playing.” 

With the work the organization saw its players put in throughout the winter months, the director of player development couldn’t be more excited for what lay ahead for the upcoming season. 

“We got after it right away after fall ball,” Richardson said. “We ended with our fall trip for our older guys at the end of October and we were right back inside in the facility right away. We’ve been doing our skill work all the way through, and our older guys have been in the weight room getting stronger, getting bigger, getting faster. The guys are chomping at the bit to get outside. It’s a long winter, so they’re ready to face some competition that isn’t wearing a black-and-yellow jersey.” 

Ready to take on the entire field of competition in the CPBL, Richardson can’t wait to see what the Pirates can do. 

“We’ve got a really special group of younger players and the guys have taken a big step forward this winter,” he said. “I’m excited to see how that’s going to translate for the guys on the field. They’ve bought in, they put the work in, and I’m excited to see where their games are going to end up, and how that’s going to make us a lot more competitive and keep up with the big boys in the league.”

Securing spots for when the CPBL season comes to an end, the Pirates are sending Aidan Safar and Jack Moncur to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, Alex Pallottini to Lourdes University, Brett Graham to Brian and Stratton College, Casey Gillis to Southeastern College, and Chris Tani to San Joaquin Delta. 

Toronto Mets focus on future with third year of CPBL

Excited at what the Canadian Premier Baseball League offered in its first two years, the Toronto Mets are looking ahead to a season filled with even higher expectations, additions, and improvements to the already-successful program. 

“For us as an organization, the real benefit comes from playing against high-level competition,” Mets director of baseball Rich Leitch said. “It’s the best possible competition we can get at this level, which is obviously extremely important to us. 

“We’re preparing our guys to go on to the next level, whatever level that may be for them – collegiate baseball in the US, collegiate baseball in Canada, or professional baseball – so that’s pretty important. And it’s always good for us to be aligned with other likeminded organizations like Great Lake and Ontario Blue Jays and Fieldhouse Pirates and everyone. They all do a great job.” 

Throughout the most recent off-season, the Mets have made tweaks and improvements to the program and are excited about what they mean for the program moving forward. 

“From a developmental standpoint, we like to leverage our relationship with the [American Baseball Coaches Association], because a lot of our coaches are members, so we send our coaches to the national coaches’ convention every year,” Leitch said. “We want to try to mimic what is happening from a US college standpoint. We want to bring that home to our guys and we ant to give them the best tools to be successful when they move on. 

“We have a pro guy here and there, and we’ve been fortunate the last couple of years with [2016 second-round pick] Andrew Yerzy and [2017 second-rounder] Landon Leach, but for the most part, 99 per cent of our guys are going to move onto play collegiate baseball. So if we can mirror what they do at those levels, then we feel like we give our kids an advantage so they can hit the ground running. It gives them an opportunity to be successful very early on in their collegiate careers.” 

As the organization continues to grow and refine everything it provides to its players, Leitch and the rest of the Mets staff are looking forward to what another season in the CPBL might bring. 

“Obviously we’re looking forward to the competition,” he said. “The talent level is obviously really high and it’s always really high in the CPBL. I think it’s really spread out, which is going to make for some competitive games. There are some really high-end players, obviously a kid like [Ontario Blue Jays catcher] Noah Naylor is going to be a high draft pick this year, and it’s exciting to see guys like that. 

“With the CPBL moving into more age groups and for us having teams at the younger levels, it’s always fun to see these kids that we saw four or five years ago as little kids basically and how they’ve developed now that they’re seniors in high school, and moving onto bigger and better things once they leave us.” 

Committed to playing post-secondary baseball after the CPBL season comes to an end are 11 of the current Mets players, with Thomas Murphy heading to East Tennessee State, Leo Markotic and Adam Parker committed to Jefferson College, Tyler Black going to Wright State University, Daniel Carinci off to Indian Hills Community College, Anthony Vavaroutsos committed to Shippensburg University, Ben Jones to Clarion University, Denzel Clarke off to Cal State Northridge, Ryan Capuano heading to Marshall University, Matthew Dean to Castleton State, and Ben Mitchell to the University of British Columbia.  

Ontario Nationals look forward to the third year of the CPBL

With two years under their belts in the Canadian Premier Baseball League, the Ontario Nationals are excited for what the future holds, the growth of their program throughout another off-season, and they are eager to head into a new year in the circuit. 

Heading into the third season, Nationals director of baseball operations Jeremy Jayaweera has found a lot to like within the league and is happy that the program has aligned with a group of likeminded organizations within it. 

“We’ve really enjoyed the competition,” Jayaweera said. “Players coming from minor ball teams and playing in this league, they get better by playing, and especially against competition like the OBJ, Mets, GLC, it’s not easy…The coaches from every organization are high-end coaches and training staffs, and they are actually trying to help kids move onto the next level. 

“The end goal for these kids is to go play college baseball, to get an education and play baseball at the same time. What I really like about this league is we’re trying to help kids move on to where they’ll be successful. That’s where the league separates themselves the most.” 

Throughout the recent off-season, the Nationals made several changes within the program’s staff, and hopes that the work everyone added through the winter will make a difference when the players get out on the the field. 

“We added a new catching instructor Ben Tinklin, he played down south and went to school there, and played for the [Intercounty Baseball League] Panthers down here and has been around the game for a while,” Jayaweera said. “He’s finally settled back home in Kitchener, so we gave him an opportunity and he’s been running with it and we’ve seen a huge improvement with our catchers. 

“We hired Anita Nyp [as strength and conditioning coordinator], who works at PlayBall [Academy] where we have our indoor training. She ran the strength program for our players from 15U to 18U and we’ve seen a really big improvement. We saw a need last year and years’ past that we were lacking in that department and it’s something we’re really trying to improve on…

“We got an outfield coordinator too, Paul Ewart, who also coaches with Wilfrid Laurier in the fall. He’s coaching one of our 14U teams and he’s running the outfield coordination and he’s done a good job. He’s brought in a lot of drills to help the kids stay focused indoors and he’s a bright spot in the organization as well.” 

With five teams in the CPBL this summer, Jayaweera and the Nationals are very much looking forward to just getting out into the sunshine and on the field and seeing what their players can do.

“We’re most excited to play baseball,” the director of operations said. “Last year, we had terrible weather. We’re excited for the competition, and we just want the kids to play baseball, have fun, and see if what they’ve done indoors can translate to outdoors. A lot of the kids have done individualized training with their specific coaches and they’ve learned a lot this year in the off-season, what it takes to compete day in and day out and not just this year but moving forward. Hopefully they can take that stuff onto the field. Last year was bad with the weather, and hopefully we can kick off this season with the showcase. It will be good for the players and the league and hopefully we can play and get all the games in. We’re just excited for some baseball.” 

With the majority of their players returning to the program after this CPBL season, the Nats are ecstatic for those who have made and are in the midst of making their commitments to colleges south of the border, including Craig Carscadden who is heading to Frontier College, Jordan Bahnuk, going to Indian Hills Community College, and Nick Davies, going to Carleton University. 

Tri-City Giants look for repeated success in CPBL

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CPBL alignment brings recognition from Baseball Ontario

The Canadian Premier Baseball League, in conjunction with Baseball Ontario, is pleased to announce a partnership that will allow for its programs – including the Great Lake Canadians, Toronto Mets, Team Ontario and Ontario Nationals – to apply for recognition under Baseball Ontario’s Recognition Policy.

“Both Baseball Ontario and the CPBL will benefit from our establishing a relationship with each other,” said Baseball Ontario President David Huctwith, in a statement. “It is good for the game of baseball in Ontario.”

In July, Baseball Ontario adopted its current Recognition Policy, regarding non-Ontario Baseball Association programs in the province. Following a number of discussions between the provincial governing body and CPBL executives, the aforementioned programs have applied for, and received, recognition, paving the way for players from teams affiliated with those programs to participate on the Ontario Youth Team.

“The Great Lake Canadians are ready to take steps in the direction of unifying the game of baseball in Ontario,” said CPBL executives and Great Lake staff members Chris Robinson and Adam Stern in a statement. “We look forward to being a part of the continued growth of the game at the amateur level, and working together on a grander scale toward a set of common goals.”

Added Ryan McBride, a CPBL executive and Vice President of the Mets: “The Toronto Mets are happy to align with Baseball Ontario once again. We are excited by the opportunity to help grow the game of baseball in our province.”

An application has been received from the Ontario Blue Jays, with the hope that transitional issues can be resolved and recognition extended, and discussions with the Fieldhouse Pirates are ongoing.