The second and third baseman plans to take general studies in his first year at Thompson Rivers
Kamloops, BC—The Thompson Rivers University WolfPack baseball team has had a contingent of players from Ontario over the last few years. When they hit the field in the fall of 2016, they will have at least three players from that province on their roster.
Pitchers Jesse Marks (London, ON) and Ryan Faubert (Sudbury, ON) are set to return for their second year under head coach Ray Chadwick.
Chadwick is pleased to announce that infielder Malik James (pronounced Mal-leek) of Whitby, Ontario has verbally agreed to join the program as well.
“I’m excited and looking forward to joining the WolfPack,” said the 5’8” James. “I’m ready to develop and learn under Coach Chadwick and the rest of the coaching staff, while at the same time furthering my educational goals.”
The second and third baseman plans to take general studies in his first year at Thompson Rivers and chose the ‘Pack over a number of schools in Ontario and the United States.
“A few of our former players living in Ontario—Duaine Bowles and Adam Arnold recommended our program to Malik,” said Chadwick. “But actually a father on his club team (Ontario Yankees) is friends with someone from here. Malik contacted me after that and he came out in April to play in the Best of the West tournament,” said Chadwick. “What a pleasant surprise. He is definitely a guy who will step in and play a lot. He has great hands at third and plus power. He will be a big help.”
James said the weekend he spent in Kamloops helped firm up his decision to come to Western Canada. “I was able to experience firsthand the campus and see Kamloops. I like the diversity of the student body and the community feel of the campus. The coaching staff and team made me feel comfortable and welcome.”
He says he is coming to TRU and Kamloops with a positive attitude. “I always come to the field to play with my best effort. I stay focused on every play and bring a positive and intense energy to the game. I consider my contributions things that always support the overall success of the team.”
James’ coach for over six seasons has been former major leaguer Nigel Wilson. “Malik has become a more confident player and leader on our team. His teammates look up to him. I think Malik will become an impact player at the University level. He still needs to continue to work hard on all aspects of the game to be successful.”
Wilson played over 15 seasons of professional ball with the Blue Jays, Indians, Marlins, Reds and in Japan.
Chadwick believes Wilsons tutelage of James will help him adjust to transition to University baseball. “I know Nigel and he has done a great job with Malik. He has been taught the game well. With his background, Malik will be able to step in and handle our practice and commitment requirements. “
“I am thankful for the opportunity to play at TRU,” James states. “I plan on making the most of the opportunity. In order for me to become a regular at the CCBC level, I’ll have to get faster and stronger. And work on some of the little things that make the game easier to play.”
He joins other recruits: Vance Fode (6’3” outfielder/infielder, Bow Island, AB-Senator Geishaw Secondary-Brooks Bandits WMBL), Marc Ashford (5’11”, infielder, Delta, BC-Vancouver College-North Delta Blue Jays BCPBL), Aaron Lemoine (6’2” infielder/pitcher, Winnipeg, MB/Kelvin High School-North Winnipeg Pirates), Adam Filman (6’4”, pitcher/infielder/outfielder, Winnipeg, MB-St. Paul’s High School/Winnipeg South Chiefs), and Joseph Siniscalchi (6’4” pitcher/outfielder, Port Coquitlam, BC-Terry Fox Secondary/Coquitlam Reds PBL).
More signings are expected throughout the summer.
EXTRA INNINGS: Wilson on James’ future: “”Thompson Rivers is getting a great player in Malik: he has a great personality, fun to be around, fun to talk with and just overall a really great kid. It’s been a pleasure to work with him and I wish him continued success.”
Chadwick on the fate of current TRU third baseman Josh Hillis (Calgary, AB) with the arrival of James and fellow recruits Ashford, Lamoine and Filman. “Josh is a natural second baseman and had to play third this year out of necessity. He will likely be back at second or maybe some short along with Blayne (CCBC 2nd team all-star Halland of Kamloops, BC). “
Chadwick adds: “We have a great competition going on next year in the infield. We have four or five guys who are really good coming in along with guys who just played for us and had good seasons. It is always good when we have our guys competing to be the best and they are competing against each other. It makes them better and in turn makes our team better.”