OTTAWA (ISN) – Twenty-nine players, including Victoria’s Jesse Hodges, have been named to the Junior National Team roster that will compete at ESPN Wide World of Sports in Orlando, Florida April 12th – April 22nd.

The annual Spring Training Camp will feature daily practices along with seven exhibition contests against MLB extended spring training clubs and one game against Lake Sumter Junior College.

Included on the schedule is a match-up against the extended spring training club of the Toronto Blue Jays on April 17th at the Bobby Mattick Complex in Dunedin, Florida.

“This camp will allow our coaching staff the opportunity to evaluate all players in a highly competitive environment,” says Greg Hamilton, Baseball Canada’s Director of National Teams and Head Coach of the Junior National Team. “The strides taken at this camp will better prepare our team for success going forward and leading to the IBAF 18U World Championship in September.”

Five players will be making the first appearance with the Junior National Team in Orlando as RHP Dylan Brooks (Dorchester, ON), Brock Dykxhoorn (Goderich, ON), Jake Marks (Brights Grove, ON), Sean Ratcliffe (Ajax, ON) and Mitchell Robinson (Surrey, BC) have been named to the Spring Training roster.

Hodges, 18, is a 6’1″ infielder who plays for the Victoria Mariners in the BC Premier Baseball League and will graduate from Lambrick High School in Victoria this spring. Hodges has had a successful minor baseball career in Victoria, that has included, among others, a win at the Mosquito A Provincial Championships in 2004 as a 9 year old, a Silver Medal at the Pee Wee Nationals in 2006, and a gold at the Bantam AAA Nationals in 2008.  Hodges recent stint with the National Junior squad began March 4th when he ventured to Tampa Bay to begin the selection camp process. 

For the players, the training camp will not only offer them the chance to represent their country while improving their skills but will also provide plenty of exposure, as several college and professional scouts will use the training camp as an opportunity for talent evaluation.

The Spring Training Camp is an important step in the process as the JNT prepares for the IBAF 18U World Championship August 30th-September 8th in Seoul, South Korea.