by Adam Morissette
April 4, 2014, OTTAWA (ISN) – Baseball Canada announced today 27 players that will take part in the Junior National Team’s annual spring training camp at ESPN Wide World of Sports April 11-21 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.
The team will play an eight-game exhibition schedule against extended spring training clubs from the Atlanta Braves, Detroit Tigers, Washington Nationals and Houston Astros. A game is also scheduled against Lake Sumter Junior College, and on April 15th, the team will travel to Dunedin to take-on the Toronto Blue Jays extended spring club at the Bobby Mattick Complex.
The coaching is staff consists of Head Coach and Director of National Teams, Greg Hamilton (Ottawa, ON), while Pitching Coach Chris Reitsma (Calgary, AB) along with Coaches Shawn Bowman (Port Moody, BC) and Mike Johnson (Sherwood Park, AB) return to the staff. Former National Team players Adam Stern (Port Stanley, ON) and Chris Robinson (Dorchester, ON) will join the staff as guest coaches.
The Spring Training Camp is an important step in the process as the JNT prepares for the COPABE Americas 18U World Cup Qualifier in Lagos de Moreno, Mexico September 5-14. The top four finishers in Mexico will qualify for the 2015 IBAF 18U World Cup that will be held at historic Koshien Stadium in Japan.
Following the camp in April, the team will travel to the Dominican Republic in late May for a slew of games against Dominican Summer League clubs, before travelling to Cuba in July for an exhibition series against the Cuban 18U National Team.
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 roster features 5 players (Mitchell Bigras, Gareth Morgan, Josh Naylor, Demi Orimoloye and JP Stevenson) that took part in the 2013 IBAF 18U World Cup in Taichung, Taiwan where Canada finished in seventh place.
-All 27 players named to the roster participated in the Alumni Week/Spring Camp held at Al Lang Field in St. Petersburg in March.