By Adam Morissette
OTTAWA – Baseball Canada has selected 31 players invited to the Junior National Team’s (18U) annual Fall Instructional League Camp in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. from Oct. 2-12.
Fresh off a bronze medal performance at the recent 18U Pan American Championship in La Paz, Mex., the Junior National Team program will now focus its attention on the 2015 IBAF 18U World Cup in Nishinomiya, Japan.
“Now that we have qualified for next year’s world championship the work towards preparing for Japan begins with the Fall Instructional League Camp,” said coach and Baseball Canada’s Director of National Teams, Greg Hamilton.
The camp includes daily practices and a nine-game exhibition schedule against Major League Baseball Fall Instructional League clubs from the Atlanta Braves, Houston Astros, Washington Nationals and Toronto Blue Jays.
On Sunday, Oct. 5, the team will face Lake Sumter Junior College followed by Stetson University Hatters in a day/night double header.
All games and practices will take place at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports with the exception of the game on Oct. 5th against Stetson which will be played on the Stetson campus in Deland, Fla. and the Oct. 8 game against the Toronto Blue Jays that will see the team travel to Dunedin to play at the Bobby Mattick Complex.
The roster features five players — JF Garon, Josh Naylor, Demi Orimoloye, Darren Shred and Mike Soroka — that recently took part in the COPABE 18U Pan American Championship in La Paz, Mexico where Canada won bronze.
Other players who have previously experience with the Junior National Team program include: Royce Ando, Isaac Anesty, RJ Freure, Peter Hutzal, MattIanni, Alexis Lavergne, Kristjan Storrie, Jackson Wark and Andrew Yerzy.
The 17 other players named to the Fall Instructional League roster will be participating with the Junior National Team program for the first time, all were scouted at the recent Tournament 12 as neither sleet, nor snow nor Hurricane can keep coach Greg Hamilton from making his rounds:
Added from Tournament 12 champs Quebec are: LHP Vincent Beauregard (Laval), Montreal Orioles, RHP Mathieu Deneault-Gauthier (Candiac), Patriote Rive Sud and OF Isaac Deveaux (Montréal) Upstate Mavericks.
From Ontario: RHP Michael Brettell (Fonthill), OF Miles Gordon (Oakville), RHP Tyler Whitbread (Camlachie) and Adam Hall (London) from the Great Lake Canadians, OF Tristan Pompey (Mississauga) and Nicholas Virdo (Brampton) Toronto Mets, INF Cooper Lamb (Burlington), Ontario Blue Jays, RHP Austin Shields (Dundas), Stoney Creek Blue Jays.
From BC: RHP Josh Burgmann (Nanaimo), Vauxhall Academy, RHP Will McAffer (North Vancouver), North Shore Twins and C-3B TannerRempel (Abbotsford), Abbotsford Cardinals.
From Saskatchewan: C Ben Komonosky (Regina), Vauxhall and RHP BJ Moen (Swift Current), Swift Current Indians.
From Alberta: INF Kobe Hyland (Spruce Grove) Prospects Academy.
Hamilton leads the coaching staff, while coaches Shawn Bowman (Port Moody, BC) and Mike Johnson (Sherwood Park, Alta.) return to the staff. Former National Team players Adam Stern (Deleware, Ont.) and Chris Robinson (Dorchester, Ont.) will join the staff as guest coaches, while former Junior National Team pitcher Jeff Duda (Surrey, BC) will join the staff as a guest coach.
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.