Baseball Canada announces roster for inaugural Premier12
By Adam Morissette
Baseball Canada announced the names of 25 players that will represent Canada at the first-ever WBSC Premier12 that will take place Nov. 8-21 in Taiwan and Japan. The event brings together the top 12 ranked nations in the baseball world according to the WBSC ranking system. Canada is currently ranked No. 7 in the world.
Canada’s roster features 17 players that won a gold medal in July at the Pan American Games in Toronto including Andrew Albers, Phillippe Aumont, Kellin Deglan, Tyson Gillies, Shawn Hill, Sean Jamieson, Brock Kjeldgaard, Jordan Lennerton, Chris Leroux, Kyle Lotzkar, Jared Mortensen, Tyler O’Neill, Pete Orr, Jasvir Rakkar, Scott Richmond, Skyler Stromsmoe and Rene Tosoni.
Taylor Green and Dustin Molleken who each represented Canada at the 2013 World Baseball Classic were also named to the Premier12 roster, while Scott Diamond who wore the red and white at the 2009 WBC was named to the squad.
Five Junior National Team alumni will make their Senior National Team debuts at Premier12 in Justin Atkinson, Ethan Elias, Dustin Houle, Gareth Morgan and Ethan Stewart.
After guiding Canada to a gold medal at the Pan Am Games, Ernie Whitt will manage the Senior National Team for the 13th time at Premier12. Also returning to the coaching staff from the Pan Am Games are Larry Walker, Denis Boucher, Paul Quantrill and Greg Hamilton. Former Major Leaguer and 2004 Olympian, Rob Ducey returns to the coaching staff after a stint as coach in 2008 at the Olympic Qualifier and the Beijing Olympic Games.
Canada will compete in Group A at Premier12 along with Chinese Taipei, Cuba, Italy, Netherlands and Puerto Rico, and open the event on Nov. 10 against Cuba at Intercontinental Stadium in Taichung, Taiwan. Canada’s preliminary round games and potential quarter final game will take place in Taichung, while semi-final and medal games will be played at the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan.
Group B consists of the Dominican Republic, Japan, Mexico, South Korea, USA and Venezuela.
From Oct. 31-Nov. 3, Canada will hold a brief training camp in Phoenix, Az. at the spring home of the Milwaukee Brewers where they will play Team USA in a three-game exhibition series.
After arriving in Taiwan on Nov. 5, Canada will play tune-up games against Mexico (Nov. 6) and Venezuela (Nov. 7) before the opener against Cuba.