* A look around the Sandlots: the Atlanta Braves sign C Robert Tavone, Jr. (Whitby, Ont.), Tony Handley (Whitby, Ont.) has a an all-star summer in New England and Brendan Malloy an eight-RBI weekend for Etobicoke. .... 2014 Canadians in the Minors ... Canadians drafted ... Canadians in College 2015 Canadian draft list Letters of Intent
By Bob Elliott
It doesn’t matter where you go to school.
As the scouts say ... “If you can play you will be found.”
Robert Tavone, Jr. caught four years for the Urbanna University Blue Knights, a NCAA Division II school in Ohio and spent the summer of 2013 playing for the West Virginia Miners at Beckley, W.V. in the Prospect League, a summer college loop.
And earlier this month the Atlanta Braves came calling ... signing Tavone (Whitby, Ont.) to a 2015 contract and he has been working out with the rookie-class Gulf Coast Braves at Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
He’s the third free-agent to sign: RHP Zak Miller (Surrey, BC) of Arizona State signed with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and C Jamie Mitchell (Calgary, Alta.) of Northwest Nazerene signed with the Tampa Bay Rays.
Meanwhile Tavone played for Urbana against West Virginia Wesleyan, Virginia-Wise, Findlay, Glenville State, Wright State-Lake, Concord, Wheeling Jesuit, West Virginia State, West Liberty, Fairmont State, Charleston, Wittenberg, Cedarville, Shepherd, Indianapolis and Notre Dame College.
A re-season All-Atlantic Region selection heading into his senior season, he lost time due injury. After 39 starts with the Blue Knights in 2013, he had just 20 behind the plate, made 19 starts, hitting .279 with 16 more doubles, 23 RBIs. His 40 career doubles are third all-time at Urbana ... Also top five all-time in fielding chances and putouts.
Tavone was Mountain East Offensive Player of the Year as a junior hitting .387 with three home runs, a school-record 19 doubles, and 30 RBIs and an on-base percentage of .451. He finished fifth in NCAA Division II in doubles per game (0.49). Over the final 27 games that season, hit .463 with 17 doubles, 20 RBIs, collecting at least one hit in 26 of the final 27 games.
Handley sure can: OF Toby Handley (Whitby, Ont.) had an outstanding summer with the Mystic Schooners of the New England Collegiate League. In 33 games Handley finished third in the with a. 351 batting average. He had 47 hits (second), 28 runs scored (first), 11 doubles (first), 15 stolen bases and 16 RBIs. He hit a homer and started the All- Star game.
In his final game of the summer the Ontario Terriers grad was 3-for-4 with a double, two singles an RBI and was named Player of the Game.
In his three year career with the Terriers Handley was an excellent lead off hitter excelled in the field and gained a scholarship to Stony Brook along with playing for Canada’s Junior National Team.
Long Gone Malloy: Brendan Malloy had eight RBIs for coach Matt Ferreira Etobicoke to win the TBA midget division title, including going 3-for-3 in the final, an 8-4 win over West Toronto.
Malloy knocked in four runs in the final with a run-scoring single, a two-run double and a solo homer, in support of Eric Thrower, who pitched 6 2/3 innings
Julian Tymochko hit a two run homer in a 7-2 win over North Toronto.
Heard about this Javier Baez? He’s the real deal now that the youngster is with the Chicago Cubs, but John Palumbo (Georgetown, Ont.) now at Davenport knew Baez was a pure hitter a few springs back when he gave up two tape measure homers to Baez.