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Girls’ Baseball Growing in Hammonds Plains

  • June 30, 2008

OTTAWA, ON – When people think of women’s baseball, most people think of players like Lauren Bay and Danielle Lawrie who are members of the Canadian Women’s Softball Team. But women’s baseball in Canada is continually growing and there is no better example of that than what is happening in Hammonds Plains, Nova Scotia.

This small community outside of Halifax has grown the girl’s game at an outstanding rate. In the last year alone, the Hammonds Plains Baseball Association has gone from 36 girls registered to 81.  The association was able to put together a girl’s t-ball team, two rookie level teams and two mosquito level teams.

Holly Lapierre, the association’s President, has put it to herself and has worked tirelessly to improve the women’s game in her community.

“Last year I had six girls in mosquito, this year I have 33 and a lot of it is because they would go back to school and tell their friends,” says Lapierre.

When Lapierre took over as the President of the Hammonds Plains association four years ago, there were 186 kids registered. This season that number has grown to 416.  A major reason why she has been able to grow her registration numbers in such a fashion is her focus on getting more girls involved in baseball.

“Last year, of the 36 girls we had registered, 22 were at the rookie level.  So we decided to make an experimental all-girls team that played with the boys,” says Lapierre.  “The girls had such an amazing time and some of the parents came up to me and asked if I would do this again next year and I said ‘why wouldn’t I?’”

“We wanted to make sure however that we gave them a choice,” adds Lapierre.  “We didn’t want to tell these girls that they had to play here or they had to play there and a lot of parents contacted me and said thanks for letting my daughter decide.”

Girls make up for nearly 20 percent of registered players in Hammonds Plains while the national average is at approximately 10 percent.  Lapierre credits the fact that she gave parents an alternative option.

“You need to have a girls program to keep them involved,” says Lapierre.  “If associations don’t say yes we’re going to have a girls program, then you lose people right at registration.”

Lapierre’s emphasis on girls’ baseball in her region can be summed up in the upcoming All-Girls Day in Baseball where they plan on having exhibition games involving all the girls in the Hammonds Plains association as well as clinics, possibly featuring members of the Canadian Women’s National Team.

The girls’ program has also been embraced by the parents just by way of their involvement.

“Usually I give the coaches a gray t-shirt that says coach on the back, but I had a girls’ t-ball team that had hot pink shirts and the coaches insisted that they have the same colour as the girls.  So now I have two grown men in hot pink t-shirts along with the girls.”

But the parents’ involvement is more than just matching the girls’ wardrobe, mosquito AAA and pee-wee AAA coaches have offered their services to help with practices and Lapierre has hired two summer students as a resource for parents to work with the girls.  The association’s president sees the fruits of her labour on a daily basis.

“Last year we handed out pink A’s hats for the girls and I see them with it all the time.  I’ll be at the grocery store and I’ll them with their hat on.  Then what will happen is other girls will see that and want to know how to get one and they’ll come and register.  I had four girls register late because their friends were telling them what they were doing this summer (playing baseball).”

At the end of the day, it’s all about growing the girls’ game and the Hammonds Plains Baseball Association is setting a fine example for the rest of the country.

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Aumont Heading to Futures Game

  • June 26, 2008

OTTAWA, ON – Olympic hopeful Phillippe Aumont has added another honor to his already impressive young career, as he has been selected to the World Team for the XM All-Star Futures Game, to be played July 13 at Yankee Stadium in New York as part of Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game festivities.

Aumont, who hails from Gatineau, Québec, has gone 4-4 in his first professional season with a 2.62 ERA in 12 games (6 starts) for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, the Seattle Mariners’ Class-A affiliate.

“Obviously it’s an honour to be named for such an event,” says Aumont.  “I always thought that it was meant more for Double-A and Triple-A players, so this is a big thing for me and I hope I can go there and do well.”

The 6’7”, 220 lbs right-hander stands a strong chance of being named to Baseball Canada’s 2008 Olympic Team, which will be announced in mid-July.

“Not many people can say that they’ve gone to the Olympics.  When I was a kid I always thought the Olympics were for runners, but over the last year it’s been on my mind and it would be a dream come true to be a part of the world’s biggest sporting event.”

The All-Star Futures Game will feature two 25-man rosters featuring the top American and international prospects from all 30 Major League organizations.

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Baseball Canada Announces Junior Summer Roster & Canadian Tour Schedule

  • June 19, 2008

OTTAWA, ON – Baseball Canada announces today the Junior National Team summer roster for the final camp and Canadian tour in preparation for the World Junior Baseball Championship in Edmonton from July 25-August 3.

The 25-man roster for the Canadian tour, which will take place from July 13-23, has no shortage of prospects.  Leading the way is Brett Lawrie (Langley, BC) who became the highest Canadian position player (fourth player overall) to be selected in the MLB First Year Player Draft.  The 18-year-old catcher/infielder was chosen 16th overall by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 2008 draft.

“Throughout the year, all of these athletes have proven they can compete at a very high level and that’s why they’ve been invited to this camp,” says Baseball Canada’s Head Coach and Director of National Teams, Greg Hamilton.

The Canadian tour will begin in Thunder Bay, Ontario where Canada will play three exhibition games against Chinese Taipei and a Thunder Bay All-Star team on July 15 and 16.

From there, the Canadians along with Chinese Taipei make there way to Manitoba for three more exhibition games from July 17-19 with two games in Brandon on July 17 and 18 and one in Winnipeg at Can West Global Park on July 19.

The trek west continues for a final exhibition series in the Okotoks in Alberta.  Canada and Chinese Taipei will be joined by the United States and the Okotoks Dawgs where Canada will play three games from July 21-23 at Seamon Stadium.

At the end of the tour, the Junior National Team will reduce its roster to 18 for the World Junior Baseball Championship.

“We’re going to have to make some tough decisions to set our final roster for the World Championships, but Canada will be well represented,” elaborates Hamilton.

Canada will be one of 12 countries vying for World Junior supremacy in Edmonton.   The last time the Juniors were on top of the podium was in 1991, the only gold medal for Canada in international baseball competition.

“We feel we’re a strong medal contender and we hope to capture the gold on home soil against some of the best baseball nations in the world,” says Hamilton.

For the complete roster and schedules, click on one of the following links:

Summer Roster
Canadian Tour Schedule
World Junior Baseball Championship Schedule

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A Baseball Revolution in Sherbrooke

  • June 12, 2008

OTTAWA, ON – Mike Goyette has one goal, to get more kids involved in baseball in the Sherbrooke region.  So he took it upon himself to get the ball rolling.

Registration numbers have dropped dramatically over the last few years in the Sherbrooke area.  This has caused the local midget AAA team to fold five years ago, force kids to play baseball in other regions like Trois-Rivières and has caused the promotion of the game in the area to be virtually non-existent.

In order to get baseball back in the consciousness of the area, Mike Goyette quit his job so he could dedicate himself full-time to baseball and create his website “Baseball Action Mike Goyette”.

“It’s certainly a big risk on my part to take this on, especially with three kids, but I’m very passionate about baseball,” says Goyette in a phone interview.  “The impression people have about baseball is something I want to change.”

Goyette has been a coach in the region for 25 years and has begun offering his services for private clinics as to create a one-on-one atmosphere with the kids.  He also offers baseball schools through his own endeavour, Mike Goyette’s Baseball School.  This summer he is offering four four-day sessions, two are for general techniques and two are hitter specific.

Furthermore, the Philadelphia Phillies Regional Assistant Scout has been speaking to elementary schools about baseball, offering extra curricular, and lunch hour and gym class sessions.

Goyette has used the Winterball program as a tool when he goes to schools, considering he used to organize sessions on the program when he was with Baseball Québec.

“What I do in the school is very similar to what Winterball does.  In fact, more often than not, I get calls from schools that already have the Winterball kit and are looking for new ideas on how to use it.  So I go in and basically give a second tutorial about the program.”

It has only been a few months since Goyette started his website and there are already have been some fantastic results.

During one of his school sessions with mostly underprivileged kids, he worked with some youngsters who had never held a bat before to even kids who did not know anything about baseball.  Over the following weeks, two kids in those sessions registered to play for the first time.

“That’s a great example of what a full-time baseball guy can do in this area,” explains Goyette.

Another success was the re-establishment of the midget AAA team in Sherbrooke for the 2008 season and coming this fall, kids in the region will have their very own baseball academy at l’école secondaire Du Triolet.

Goyette will act as coordinator and head coach of the program for the first year and figures this should help to stop kids from migrating to different regions.

“Kids who wanted to specialize in baseball were forced to go to Trois-Rivières.  Now, we can offer a quality program for kids who want to pursue their development in the sport with a team of certified coaches with experience and knowledge with youth.”

Goyette tackled this challenge head-on and has the ultimate goal of seeing more kids on the ball diamond, but mostly, he want to change people’s attitude towards the game.

“The most important thing is the kids, not winning.  I feel people put too much emphasis on winning, which goes against the development of the player.  My role is that of a coach, but it’s also to change people’s perceptions.”

For more information regarding any of the programs offered by Mike Goyette, visit his website at www.baseballamg.com, or contact him directly at 819-835-1321 or by e-mail at mgoyette@axion.ca.

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Baseball Canada Announces New Executive and Board

  • June 09, 2008

TORONTO, ON - Baseball Canada elected its new executive and board of directors at its annual general meeting June 6-7.

The three-member executive that will serve a two-year term for Baseball Canada consists of three incumbent members.

Ray Carter will return as president, being acclaimed in this year's election. Carter has served the association in his current capacity since 2000.

“I’m honoured to lead Baseball Canada and that the people here have continued faith in me for the last 10 years,” says Carter after his acclamation.

Vice-president Linda Lewis was also re-elected without opposition and will continue a role she has served since 2002.

“I feel great to get that support from the board,” explained Lewis.  “We still have a lot of things to get started, Ray and I and the treasurer that we would really want to see through.”

Al Fitzsimmons, treasurer since June 2007, was also acclaimed in this year’s election.

The 10-member board of directors comprising one representative from each province was elected as follows:

Alberta: Carl Linden
British Columbia: John Berry
Manitoba: Ken Sharpe
New Brunswick: David Watling
Newfoundland: Tom Devine
Nova Scotia: Jody Frowley
Ontario: Don McKnight
Prince Edward Island: Don LeClaire
Quebec: Benoit Lavigne
Saskatchewan: Larry Orth

Updates and reports were also shared by various organization committees, including high performance, coaching, umpires, championships and sport development.

One contentious issue during this year’s meetings was the implementation of the participant fee.  There were several strides made, but there is still work to be done and Baseball Canada’s President sees a light at the end of the tunnel.

“We need to set up the participation fee structure so that everyone can settle down and focus on the business of baseball,” says Carter.

The next Baseball Canada general assembly will take place at this fall's convention November 13-16, which will once again be in Toronto.

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31 Canadians Picked in Second Day of MLB Draft

  • June 07, 2008

OTTAWA, ON - The first day of the Major League Baseball First Year Player Draft saw ONE Canadian selected, that being Brett Lawrie of Langley, BC who was selected 16th overall by the Milwaukee Brewers.

On the second day of the MLB draft, 31 Canadians were selected.  A total of 32 Canadians were selected over the two day event.  Here are the Canadians selected on the second day of the draft:

  • Andrew Albers; North Battleford, SK (10th round, 315th/Padres), LHP
  • Brad Furdal; Ancaster, ON. (11th round, 323rd/Rays), RHP
  • David Francis; Mississauga, ON (12th round, 370th/Braves), RHP
  • Marcel Champagnie; Bolton, ON (15th round, 469th/Angels), SS/OF
  • Carter Morrison; Langley, BC (16th round, 479th/Reds), CF
  • Stosh Wawrzasek; Langley, BC (16th round, 488th/Brewers), RHP
  • Michael Crouse; Port Moody, BC (16th round, 489th/Blue Jays), OF
  • Nick Bucci; Sarnia, ON (18th round, 548th/Brewers), RHP
  • Jordan Meaker; Burlington, ON (20th round, 618th/Diamondbacks), RHP
  • Mathieu Poirier; Montreal, QC (21st round, 634th/Athletics), RHP
  • Mitch Delaney; LaSalle, ON (21st round, 650th/Yankees), 1B
  • Carter Bell; Courtenay, BC (22nd round, 657th/Giants), INF
  • Marcus Knecht; Toronto, ON (23rd round, 698th/Brewers), OF
  • Michael Gosse; Pitt Meadows, BC (23rd round, 703rd/Tigers), 2B
  • Lionel Morrill; Edmonton, AB (24th round, 726th/Twins), OF
  • Brad McElroy; St. Thomas, ON (25th round, 759th/Blue Jays), OF
  • J.R. Robinson; Burnaby, BC (31st round, 939th/Blue Jays), LHP
  • Jordan Lennerton; Surrey, BC (33rd round, 1003rd/Tigers), 1B
  • François Lafreniere; St-Bruno, QC (34th round, 1017th/Giants), RHP
  • Ruddy Rio-Nunez; Montreal, QC (35th round, 1066th/Phillies), OF
  • Nick Purdy; Grafton, ON (36th round, 1075th/Royals), RHP/OF
  • Clay Caufield; Toronto, ON (38th round, 1160th/Yankees), RHP
  • Nick Fogarty; Richmond Hill, ON (40th round, 1208th/Brewers), LHP
  • Benson Merritt; Smithville, ON (42nd round, 1259th/Reds), RHP
  • George Agyapong-Mensah; Mississauga, ON (44th round, 1329th/Blue Jays), RF
  • Jean-François Ricard; Montreal, QC (44th round, 1334th/Mets), LHP
  • David Cooper, Edmonton, AB. (44th round, 1337th/Diamondbacks), SS
  • James Kottaras; Markham, ON (45th round, 1357th/Brewers), 2B
  • Ashton Florko; Trail, BC (45th round, 1359th/Cubs), LHP
  • Nathan Linseman; Ariss, ON (45th round, 1361st/Tigers), LHP
  • Leonardo Ochoa; Longeuil, QC (48th round, 1428th/Giants), SS

Baseball Canada would like to congratulate all the Canadians selected during the two days of the Major League Baseball First Year Player Draft.

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Brett Lawrie Selected 16th Overall in MLB Draft

  • June 05, 2008

OTTAWA, ON – The Milwaukee Brewers made Brett Lawrie (Langley, BC) the 16th overall pick of the 2008 MLB First Year Player Draft, and thus making him the fourth highest Canadian selected in the history of the event.

When Commissioner Bud Selig uttered the 18-year-old’s name as the 16th pick, his reaction to the moment was one that would be expected.

“I was really overwhelmed by the whole situation,” says a very excited Lawrie. “It was great to have all my family and friends behind me and it’s been a fun day.”

When asked who he hugged first upon hearing his name called, Lawrie couldn’t really say.

“It was a little bit of everybody I guess. Everyone came at me so it was a little bit of everyone, it was funny. It was a really great moment in my life and I’ll cherish it forever.”

Only Adam Loewen (4th – 2002), Jeff Francis (9th – 2002) and Phillippe Aumont (11th – 2007) were selected higher than Lawrie in the first round as he now joins an exclusive group of Canadians.

“That part hasn’t really sunk in yet,” says Lawrie. “It’s definitely a great accomplishment and it’s been fun and all I can say is that I enjoy playing for Canada and I hope to make it with the Brewers in the big leagues someday.”

Lawrie’s stock skyrocketed this spring with his on-field performance. Just over the last few months he has been tearing the cover off the ball. He hit .700 (21-for-30) at the Junior National Team’s Spring Training camp this past April and was even better in the Dominican Summer League camp just last week where he hit .500 (17-for-34) with eight home runs (five in a doubleheader) with 24 RBI in only eight games.

“We are extremely happy for Brett and his family. It’s a deserving accomplishment for an exceptional talent and he’s earned everything he got today,” says Greg Hamilton, Director of National Teams for Baseball Canada.

Lawrie now goes to a Brewers organization with strong Canadian ties, starting from the very top with a Canadian General Manager, Doug Melvin and a Canadian Assistant GM, Gord Ash.

The draft will continue until tomorrow after a maximum of 50 rounds. Canadians have been eligible for the MLB Draft since 1985 and last season, 33 Canadians were drafted by 15 MLB clubs.

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2008 Provincial Preview: Saskatchewan

  • June 04, 2008

One province that keeps ascending the national ranks is Saskatchewan.  The 2007 season was a huge success for the province and the association is looking to keep the momentum for 2008.

At the Baseball Canada Fall Convention last November, Saskatchewan was awarded the Province of the Year award and was ranked first in the governance category.

The province was also ranked fourth in the player registration category and Sask Baseball Executive Director Mike Ramage says that the numbers should be better again this year.

“In terms of registration, we had our first increase in 12 years, two years ago and those numbers were stable last year which has been great.”

Ramage gives credit to the Winterball and Rally Cap programs for the increase in membership the last few years.  The association has focused its attention to the rural areas of the province and the response has been extraordinary.  In fact, the demand for these programs has been somewhat overwhelming.

“We just pitched it to a few school districts around the province and they’re all over it,” explains Ramage.  “It’s like candy for them.”

Another category where the province ranked well was with the National Championships.  Despite not winning a medal last year, the province ranked fifth.

A reason for the high ranking is the increase in high level competition.  For example, the association sends their Canada Games team’s prospect to the United States to play some exhibition games against some American clubs, with encouraging results.

“It was a good trip for them and they did really well down there,” says Ramage.  “We were able to get some good evaluations done and get an idea of what we’re looking at for the games in 2009.”

The coaching the players receive can point to the improvement in results for the provincial teams as well.  The number of coaches who register with NCCP continues to increase in the province, while in the case of the Canada Games and the Baseball Canada Cup teams, they have the Baseball Canada Coach of the Year at the helm, Roger Anholt.

If the 2008 season becomes a mirror image of the 2007 season for Saskatchewan in term of governance and National Championships, then the province will enjoy an enviable year.

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Portugal is Looking for National Team Players

  • June 04, 2008

OTTAWA, ON – The Portuguese Baseball and Softball Federation is on the look out for baseball players with a Portuguese passport or are of Portuguese decent to participate in a European baseball tournament.

The city of Abrantes, Portugal is hosting the European Championship Qualifying Tournament where four nations will take part.  Portugal will take on the national teams from Russia, Ireland and Greece.

The Portuguese Senior National Team is looking for players who have played at a university level or higher.  They are specifically looking for, but not limited to, pitchers, catchers, middle infielders and a center fielder.  Tryout dates are July 2-13 in Portugal.

For those who meet the demanded criteria and are interested or for those looking for more information please contact the Portuguese National Team coach Nus Jurgens at jurgens@menontheroof.nl, or the President of the Portuguese Baseball and Softball Federation Sandra Monteiro at sandra@pureid.com.

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MLB Canadians

Mike Soroka

Current MLB Team: Atlanta Braves
Hometown: Calgary, AB

Umpire of the Week

Week of May 28, 2018

Ada (NS)

Shaped by our Game

Baseball Canada is pleased to introduce Shaped by Our Game, a new initiative on baseball.ca that will profile people who have used our sport to achieve success later in life. Baseball is a sport that provides great life lessons and teaches skills that are applicable for future success in life whether on the baseball field or not.

 Dominic Therrien

 Isabelle Higgins

Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD)

What is LTAD?

Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD) is a systemic approach being developed and adopted by Baseball Canada to maximize a participant's potential and involvement in our sport. The LTAD framework aims to define optimal training, competition and recovery throughout an athlete's career to enable him / her to reach his / her full potential in baseball and as an athlete.