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Junior National Team Roster Announced for Fall Instructional League

  • September 26, 2008

OTTAWA - Baseball Canada announced the Junior National Team roster which will be making its way to Orlando, Florida at Disney’s Wide World of Sports complex for the Fall Instructional League Camp from October 2nd to 12th.

35 players have been invited to the fall camp, including Evan Grills (Whitby, ON) who was a member of the Junior National Team for the 2008 World Junior Championship in Edmonton, Alberta last August.

The junior team will hold daily practices while in Florida as well as play eight games against Major League Baseball affiliated teams.  Included in their schedule are games against the Atlanta Braves, Houston Astros and Washington Nationals.  Also included in the schedule is a matchup with Seminole Community College.

“This camp will allow our coaching staff the opportunity to evaluate all players in a highly competitive environment,” says Greg Hamilton, Baseball Canada’s Director of National Teams and manager of the Junior National Team. “The strides taken at this camp will better prepare our team for success internationally at future competitions.”

The Fall Instructional League camp is the first step toward establishing a club for the 2010 World Junior Championship which will take place in Thunder Bay, Ontario.

13 players included on the fall roster are from Ontario, while 11 hail from British Columbia.  Four team members reside in Québec with three hailing from Alberta and two from Saskatchewan.  Manitoba and New Brunswick each have one player attending the camp.

For the players, the training camp will not only offer them the chance to improve 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.

Roster
Schedule
Pitching Rotation

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Mizuno Camp Provides Highlights and a Chance to Give Back

  • September 23, 2008

TORONTO – Stepping on to a Major League Baseball field is a dream come true for any aspiring baseball player.  Well, over the days of September 19 to 22, that dream did come true for some of the best young baseball players across Canada.

55 of the best 15 and 16 year old players from across the country were brought to the Rogers Centre in Toronto to participate in the Mizuno Junior Elite Camp.  While in Toronto, these talented young men would be led through drills and techniques by Toronto Blue Jays coaches Brian Butterfield and Brad Arnsberg, Baseball Canada coaches Greg Hamilton and Denis Boucher and Canadian Olympic Team players Adam Stern and Chris Robinson.

On top of receiving some of the best coaching available, the players were involved in “Life Skills” sessions, where Hyung Cho, National Team alumnist and Territory Manager with Mizuno Canada discussed finding proper equipment and sizing and Jeff Krushell  of Krush Sports Performance educated the kids on proper nutrition and strength and conditioning. 

To add to the experience, the players got a chance to see some of the best baseball players in the world live and up close as they got to attend three Toronto Blue Jays games.  It was a three-game series against the Boston Red Sox that featured two Canadians in Scott Richmond (Langley, BC) of the Blue Jays and Jason Bay (Trail, BC) of the Red Sox.

Paul Schaak of Winkler, Manitoba was one of the 55 players selected for the four day camp.  His experience in Toronto can sum up the feeling among the group that attended the annual event.

“It was really good,” says Schaak.  “This was my first time seeing a Jays game and being on the field. This was probably one of the best times of my life.  I had a really good time.”

The 16-year-old left-handed pitcher took in a lot of new information while at the camp, listening to the teachings of pitching coaches Brad Arnsberg and Denis Boucher.  Of all the new information he received, one thing stuck out for 6’1”, 175 pound left-hander.

“Consistency and repetition.  You can’t get any better without doing it over and over.  That’s why the guys in the Major Leagues are so good.”

For Adam Stern and Chris Robinson, this was a chance to give back.  They know the types of situations these young men are in as they were once there themselves as up and coming Canadian ball players.

“This (camp) is so good to see,” says Stern.  “I know when I was 16 and got a chance to play here (at Rogers Centre) I was really nervous.  It’s good to see these kids and walk them through the process a little bit so they’re not so nervous and see what they can do.”

“When I was their age I wasn’t good enough to come to this exact camp,” adds Stern, “but it’s good to see the best in Canada and see where baseball is going.”

“It’s exciting to give back because they’re so willing to learn,” says Robinson.  “But also we get to see the future of Baseball Canada.  In 10-15 years, when I’m sitting on the couch watching the World Baseball Classic or, hopefully, the Olympics I can see what kind of progress these guys have made and what kind of players they turn into.”

After two days of different pitching, infielding, outfielding, hitting and baserunning drills, the kids were divided into two teams to play an inter-squad game as Team Stern would take on Team Robinson.

For the players, it was a chance to show off their talents in front of college and professional scouts.  For the managers, there was much more up for grabs.

“There’s a round of golf on the line,” says Stern.  “I’ve lost to Robbie before and he’s not a guy you want to lose to, whether it’s hopscotch or a game of horse on the basketball court.”

“I’m going to take the guys aside and walk them through what it’s all about and take it seriously.  It’s like the World Series for me,” adds Stern jokingly.

“More importantly than a round of golf, there’s bragging rights,” says Robinson.  “If I lose to Stern I’m never going to hear the end of it.  I don’t care if I have to buy a round of golf, because I’m probably going to get it all back on the golf course anyway.”

In what was a heated contest at the Rogers Centre, Team Stern came out on top of Team Robinson, but both sides had some solid performances.

Justin Atkinson (Surrey, BC) had an RBI triple while Alex Calbick (Burnaby, BC) had a pair of hits, including a double.  Kellin Deglan (Langley, BC) had a pair of hits and an RBI and Etienne Levesque (Chateauguay, QC) had an RBI single.

On the mound, Bruce Lombard (Oakville, ON) retired the side in order in his inning pitched, registering a pair of strikeouts.  Jonathan Paquet (Québec City, QC) also had two strikeouts in his one-two-three inning and Mike Ellis (Surrey, BC) registered all three outs in his inning of work via the punch out.

“We had a wonderful camp with some of the best young Canadian players here in Toronto,” says Greg Hamilton, Head Coach and Director of National Teams for Baseball Canada.  “This is a tremendous opportunity for these young players to take advantage of some Major League instruction and gain knowledge from many different professional coaches and players.  We’re very proud to have Mizuno, the Blue Jays and Major League Baseball to help make this event the success that it is.”

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Best 15-16 Year Old Players to be in Toronto for Mizuno Camp

  • September 16, 2008

OTTAWA - Major League Baseball, Baseball Canada and Mizuno Canada will host some of the top 15-16 year old baseball players in the country for the 2008 edition of the Mizuno Junior Elite Development Camp at the Rogers Center from September 19th to 22nd.

This select group of aspiring “big leaguers” from across Canada will receive on-field instruction from coaching and scouting staffs of the Toronto Blue Jays, Major League Baseball and Baseball Canada.

“The comprehensive nature of the Mizuno Junior Elite Development Camp will allow these talented young Canadian players the opportunity to refine their skills while preparing them for competition at the next level,” says Greg Hamilton, Head Coach and Director of National Teams for Baseball Canada.

During the camp, the players will sweat through fundamental skills training designed by the coaching staffs that include hitting, pitching, infielding, outfielding, catching and baserunning.  On the final day of the elite camp, participants will form two teams to compete in a Canada East vs. Canada West intra-squad game.

In addition to the on-field training, the young men will participate in a series of “Life Skills” classroom seminars.  Seminar topics include proper nutrition, career goal planning, strength and conditioning, injury prevention and rehabilitation, talent evaluation and assessment.

“Mizuno is pleased to be a part of this once in a lifetime opportunity to help these young athletes realize their dreams of playing in the Major Leagues,” said John Stacey, President of Mizuno Canada.  “Our relationship with Baseball Canada continues to flourish and Mizuno will continue to help support the development of Baseball in Canada through grassroots programs.”

Past players who have participated in the Mizuno Junior Elite Camp include current Major Leaguers Adam Loewen of the Baltimore Orioles and Russell Martin of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Instructors include from the Toronto Blue Jays, bench coach Brian Butterfield, pitching coach Brad Arnsberg, and Director of Canadian Scouting Kevin Briand.  Also, Canadian Olympic and World Baseball Classic team pitching coach Denis Boucher, along with Olympic team members Adam Stern and Chris Robinson will be included in the instructional staff.  Additional guest instructors will be represented by coaches from each province.

Mizuno Camp Roster
Mizuno Camp Itinerary

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Rally Cap On Film

  • September 10, 2008

BELOEIL - Baseball Canada’s Rally Cap program received a wonderful homage over the weekend as a film crew with Baseball Canada came to produce an educative film with some Rally Cap participants from the community of Beloeil.

The objective of the film is to show what the Rally Cap program entails, as well as show the kids’ enthusiasm and the skills and drills they practice throughout the weeks.

“The city of Beloeil has seen the most success with the Rally Cap program amongst all minor baseball associations across the country.  That’s why Baseball Canada chose to have the film done here,” explains Sylvain Poissant, Rally Cap coordinator for Baseball Québec.

“Baseball Canada’s selection of the Beloeil Minor Baseball Association (ABMB) confirms the excellent work done by our Rally Cap director Marc Hallée and his team of volunteers in the city.  In fact, in the last four years, registration has gone up 612 percent,” says Sylvain Joubert, President of the ABMB.

“After Baseball Québec recognized the results we were having in our association, thanks to Mr. Hallée attending the last provincial convention, now all of Canada will recognize the success that we’ve had,” adds Joubert.

The project, which is funded by Baseball Canada, will be made available on DVD in both English and French and will distributed along with the other Rally Cap materials at the start of the season.

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Follow Canadians with New Website

  • September 05, 2008

OTTAWA – Did you ever wonder how many Canadians are on the cusp of breaking into the Major Leagues?  Have you ever wondered how a certain player is doing with his college team?  These questions and many more can be answered with the help of this new website, the Canadian Baseball Network.

Originally launched in 1995 as a tool to promote baseball in Canada, the Canadian Baseball Network is an extension of this concept. The purpose of the site is to provide exposure for Canadians playing “America’s Pastime” to coaches, scouts and universities as well as to strengthen the future of the game in Canada. The main goal of the site is to share knowledge and information, in order to introduce more young people to the sport and grow the game in Canada.

You can join the Canadian Baseball Network and receive news updates as well as post comments on contributor blogs as well as chat with baseball fans across the country in the “Dugout Chatter” section.

To visit the Canadian Baseball Network, go to http://canadianbaseballnetwork.com/ or to the Baseball Canada Links section and see how the Canadians are doing in this great game.

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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.

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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.