By Adam Morissette
OTTAWA - Baseball Canada announced Tuesday 24 players that have been invited to the Junior National Team’s final selection camp that will take place on Australia’s Gold Coast from Aug. 16-24.
The camp will be used to select 20 players that will represent Canada at the WBSC U-18 World Cup in Osaka, Japan from Aug. 28-Sept 6.
In Osaka, Canada will be joined by Cuba, Korea, Chinese Taipei, Italy and South Africa in Group B, while Group A will feature two-time defending champion USA along with host Japan, Mexico, Brazil, Australia and the Czech Republic.
Canada qualified for the WBSC U-18 World Cup after winning a bronze medal at the COPABE 18U Pan American Championship last September in La Paz, Mexico.
Players, coaches and staff will depart for Australia on Aug. 13th and hold a workout in Surfer’s Paradise on Aug. 16. From Aug. 17-22, Canada will play a six game exhibition series against the Major League Baseball Australian Academy before facing the Australian U-18 National Team for a pair of games on Aug. 23-24. All games will take place at the Surfer’s Paradise Baseball Club facility.
“The selection camp will allow the coaching staff an opportunity to evaluate players before making final roster decisions,” said Junior National Team head coach, Greg Hamilton. “The U-18 World Cup is the culmination of a year of hard work for our Junior National Team program. Our coaches and players are looking forward to this opportunity to represent Canada and being a competitive club in Japan.”
- The roster features three players (JF Garon, Josh Naylor, Demi Orimoloye) who took part in the 2014 COPABE 18U Pan American Championship in La Paz, Mexico. Naylor and Orimoloye are holdovers from the 2013 Junior National Team that finished seventh at the IBAF 18U World Cup in Taichung, Taiwan. Naylor also participated in the 2012 IBAF 18U World Cup in Seoul, Korea where he helped Canada win a silver medal. He is set to become the first Canadian ever to participate in three baseball world championships at the U-18 level.
- Naylor (1st round) and Orimoloye (4th round) were selected in June’s MLB First-Year Player draft and will be loaned to Team Canada from the Miami Marlins and Milwaukee Brewers, respectively. Orimoloye will attend the selection camp in Australia, while Naylor will join the team in Japan. Other players named to the roster that were selected in the draft include Will McAffer (Reds) and Tristan Pompey (Twins).
- Three players named to the roster are OF Cooper Davis ((Mississauga, Ont.), RHP William Sierra (Montreal, Que.) and RHP Matteo Vincelli (Burnaby, BC) will be making their Junior National Team debuts in Australia. All other players named to the roster have participated in previous camps with the program.
- The coaching staff remains intact from 2014 that includes Hamilton (Ottawa, Ont.) along with pitching coach Chris Reitsma (Calgary, Alta.) and coaches Shawn Bowman (Port Moody, BC) and Mike Johnson (Sherwood Park, Alta.).