ISN Pre-Season Baseball Preview Part II
Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart – ISN
Welcome to Island Sports News’ second installment in our 2012 Baseball Preview, this time featuring a pre-season review of the Victoria Eagles Premier squad.
The Eagles are looking forward to a 2012 season that will first and foremost focus on player development, although following their opening weekend sweep of a double-header against the Parksville Royals last weekend, it is entirely possible that the Eagles could enjoy a great deal of success this season in the 2012 BC Premier Baseball League (BCPBL). The team is definitely hoping to improve on its 16-32 record in 2011 and are hoping to make the BCPBL playoffs for the first time in their young, going on three-year history.
Hoping to lead them to that goal will be Manager Gautam Srivastava, who takes over the leadership of the team this season from Ken Lamberton. Srivistava will be assisted by hitting coach Dave Auger, pitching coach Shawn Loglisci, defensive coach Jay Longpre, and practice coach Marty Hall.
While 2012 Eagles Manager Gautam Srivistava would love a number one finish, his priority this year is player development and a goal to make it into the BCPBL playoffs for the first time (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN).
The Eagles boast a pitching staff that any elite high school basketball coach, let alone baseball coach, would drool over, as six of their seven key hurlers top the charts at 6″4″ or more. Anchoring what will be a strong staff are BC Selects member Brett Hull and Brendan Miller. They will be supported by third season PBL players Thomas Koop, Daniel Bednarski and the 6’8″ Mackenzie Catto, who will use their experience to guide the staff.
Brendan Miller (left) and Brett Hull (right) will be familiar faces for the Eagles on the mound in 2012 (Photos by Christian J. Stewart – ISN).
Thomas Koop (left), Daniel Bednarski (centre) and Mackenzie Catto (right) will all use their height to intimidate batters this season (Photos by Christian J. Stewart – ISN).
Together, these five league veterans will help mentor Senior Eagle rookies Riley Edmonds and Baseball Canada Mizuno Camp invitee Kurt Horne – a member of the 2011 Victoria Eagles Bantam AAA Provincial Championship team – throughout the team’s demanding schedule.
Riley Edmonds (left) joins the Eagles from the Junior Premier squad, while rookie Kurt Horne (right), with the Bantam AAA Eagles in 2011, has looked impressive so far in 2012 (Photos by Christian J. Stewart – ISN).
This year will see a lot of time spent on developing two catchers, Gobind Sall and grade 10 standout Sam Stevenson. In addition to supporting the pitching staff behind the plate, both will also see time in the infield and outfield, respectively.
In addition to his catching duties, Gobind Sall (left) will provide some pop with his bat, while Sam Stevenson (right) will see his fair share of innings behind the plate (Photos by Christian J. Stewart – ISN).
The infield will consist of 40 Man Selects Camp invitee Vinnie Martin, as well as Brandon Feldman, Jesse Thomson, and Mitch Hawkins. All the infielders have experience playing different positions, providing the Eagles with great versatility. Jackson Allabarton will see the majority of the innings at first base so that his bat is in the lineup on a consistent basis.
Vinnie Martin (left) and Jackson Allabarton will provide stability on the corners for the Eagles, with Martin at 3B and Allabarton at 1B for most games (Photos by Christian J. Stewart – ISN).
Jesse Thomson (left) should see the bulk of playing time at short, while Brandon Feldman (centre) and Mitch Hawkins (right) will platoon at second (Photos by Christian J. Stewart – ISN).
Grade 10 rookie Alex Hendra-Brown will play centre field. His speed and athleticism will help him anchor the outfield alongside Brad Van Wyk and Will Wild. The team’s spark plug, as he has been for the past 3 seasons, continues to be RJ Forbes, who will see time in both the infield and the outfield. His gritty style of play will guide our offense throughout the season.
Rookie Alex Hendra-Brown (left) and veteran RJ Forbes (right) will provide speed for the Eagles both on the bases and in the outfield (Photos by Christian J. Stewart – ISN).
Will Wild (left) and Brad Van Wyk will share time in the Eagles outfield in 2012 (Photos by Christian J. Stewart – ISN).
The Eagles could surprise some teams this season with their offence, with Forbes contributing both speed and power, while Feldman – who had a clutch last inning triple last week – and Allabarton – with a pre-season grand slam against Sherwood Park – have already contributed big hits in key situations. Rookie Hendra-Brown, smooth swinging Martin and Thomson can also be threats on the bases when they get there, and Stevenson, Horne and Hawkins are reliable contact hitters who can move them around as needed.
Brandon Feldman (left) and Jackson Allabarton (right) have already sparked the Eagles to early season victories and will provide the Eagles with just two of a number of offensive threats (Photos by Christian J. Stewart – ISN).
The Eagles will play a 48-game league schedule against the other teams in the BCPBL, beginning April 7th. In addition to league play, the Eagles will also compete in 3 tournaments this season: the Parksville Tournament as well as two college showcase tournaments in Washington State.