ISN Pre-Season Baseball Preview – Part I
Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)
Welcome to Island Sports News’ first installment in our 2012 Baseball Preview featuring pre-season reviews of Victoria’s Junior Premier and Premier Clubs – the Eagles and the Mariners – as well as reviews of the Victoria Selects Midget AAA and Bantam AAA Eagle teams.
Part I of our series focuses on the Victoria Eagles Junior Premier squad who were in action last Sunday in a pre-season double header with Cowichan Valley. Although they lost both games of their doubleheader 5-2 and 4-1, the Eagles should be more than ready for their third season in the BC Junior Premier Baseball League (BCPBL) when they kick off their season against the Nanaimo Pirates at home on Saturday April 14th.
The Junior Eagles will be led this year by veteran head coach Bob Mabee. Mabee has been involved with baseball in Victoria for over 50 years and has experienced the game at all levels, up to and including the Nationals.
Junior Eagle Head Coach Bob Mabee will do whatever is needed – including umpiring pre-season games – to ensure his players enjoy success in 2012 (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN)
To compliment his already extensive baseball background, Mabee has surrounded himself with three young and eager coaches, Al Gibson, Kyle McQuisten and Justin Gibson. All three are former minor baseball players here in Victoria and will help the players develop their skills on and off the field. Rounding off the coaching staff will be veteran advisors Ken Lamberton, Derrick Deveson and Shane Roberts who will be helping out from time to time and will have the opportunity to pass their baseball expertise onto the young group of athletes.
On the Mound
Taking what they learned last year and working hard during the off season, the towering twosome of 6’8″ Eric Hegadoren and 6’5″ Jason Heckl, along with Tony Ebbs-Canavan will anchor this year’s pitching staff. Hegadoren got the start Saturday in Game 1 against Cowichan Valley and looked very good, having perfected some of his mechanics in the off-season.
6’8″ returnee Eric Hegadoren should mature into a key component of the Junior Eagles pitching staff this year (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN).
Tony Ebbs-Cananvan, here pitching in 2011, also returns to the Junior Eagles this year and should see significant time on the mound (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN)
Newcomer Sam Caouette, who also saw action in the first game Saturday, will be counted on to challenge hitters and master the mound. Out of the bullpen, Jack McKinnon, Zane Takhar, Zach Deol and Kyle Murai will work hard for quality innings and round out the pitching staff.
Newcomer Sam Caouette will be another regular arm in the Junior Eagle line-up (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN)
As he did here in 2011, Kyle Murai should see some innings on the mound in relief in 2012 (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN)
Behind the Plate
Lyndon Simmons presence will be counted on, not only to lead his team from behind the plate, but intimidate pitchers from the batter’s box. Supporting Simmons, Tony Ebbs-Canavan and Zane Takhar will be developing their leadership skills and learning to control their pitchers.
Lyndon Simmons should see a fair bit of time behind the plate for the Eagles and should also be a key batter in the middle of the Eagles line-up (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN).
Around the Horn
As the coaches decide on the best combination, many players on the team will see playing time in the infield. Up the middle you will likely see Graeme Chong, Zane Takhar, Noah Dalziel, and Austin Wild take regular shifts at second or short. Jason Heckl and Jack McKinnon will see time on the corners, as will Deol and Ebbs-Canavan.
Zane Takhar will no doubt anchor the middle of the Eagles infield when he is not behind the plate catching (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN).
Noah Dalziel should see a fair bit of playing time at second base this season (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN).
Jason Heckl’s 6’5″ frame will serve him well at first base this season, as well as when he is on the mound (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN).
Jack McKinnon will be a solid anchor at third base this season and should provide the Eagles with some good power at the plate (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN).
Out In The Field
In the outfield, Jordan Parmar, Zach Deol and Kyle Murai each possess exceptional speed and versatility and will be counted on to play all three outfield positions, as well as spending some time in the infield when needed. Utility roles will go to Austin Wild, Noah Dalziel, Jack McKinnon and Graeme Chong.
The eagles will rely on the speed of Kyle Murai (left), Jordan Parmar (centre) and Zach Deol (right) for the bulk of their outfield duties this season (Photos by Christian J. Stewart – ISN).
Graeme Chong (left) and Austin Wild (right) will see spot duty in both outfield and infield positions during the 2012 season (Photos by Christian J. Stewart – ISN).
The Eagles have the potential to field an offensively powerful team that will be ignited by speed on the bases, notably that of left handed hitting Jordan Parmar, right handed hitter Kyle Murai and the quick Zane Takhar. The middle of the Eagle lineup should generate a fair number of runs and should feature the likes of Deol, Ebbs-Canavan, Simmons, Caouette and McKinnon who can all hit the ball hard.
Jordan Parmar’s speed from the left side of the plate will be a definite asset for the Eagles (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN).
Kyle MUrai will also be a base-running threat for the Eagles in 2012 (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN).
Zach Deol can hit for power and should be a regular fixture in the middle of the Eagle’s line-up (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN).
Tony Ebbs-Canvan should also provide some pop in the middle of the Eagle’s batting order (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN).
The Jr Eagles will be busy with 44 league games and a few preseason exhibition games. They will also participate in 2 tournaments this season; Kelowna in May and Port Angeles in July.
Their regular season kicks off Saturday April 14th with a double-header against the Nanaimo Pirates at Lambrick Park starting at 12:00 noon. Additional home dates, most of which are all doubleheaders with 12 noon starts at Lambrick Park, include:
- Saturday April 28th – Langley Junior Blaze
- Thursday May 3rd, 6:00 pm single game – Victoria Junior Mariners
- Saturday May 12 – Whalley Junior Chiefs
- Sunday May 13 – North Delta Junior Blue Jays
- Saturday June 2 – North Shore Junior Twins
- Sunday June 3 – Abbotsford Junior Cardinals
- Saturday June 9 – Vancouver Junior Cannons
- Thursday June 21, 6:00 pm single game – Victoria Junior Mariners
- Saturday July 7 – Okanagan Junior A’s
- Sunday July 8 – Okanagan Junior A’s
- Sunday July 15 – Coquitlam Redlegs
- Saturday July 28 – White Rock Junior Tritons