Pool play in the second annual Tournament 12 does not see BC Orange meet Alberta Red.
Yet, those semi-final slots are blank … for the moment.
Which means there is a chance outfielder Jordan Dray of B.C. Orange could step into the batter’s box to look out and see an Alberta pitcher who is a classmate at the Vauxhall Academy.
Dray is from White Rock, B.C., while Vauxhall teammate, lefty Jared Kennedy, will pitch for Alberta.
Like right-hander Josh Burgmann of Nanaimo, B.C., Dray chose Les McTavish’s Vauxhall Academy. Before arriving last month. Dray explained McTavish called his Whalley Chiefs coach John Parker to ask for permission to talk, then spoke to his father, Doug Dray, and then Jordan got on the phone.
“I like Vauxhall a lot,” said Dray, who attends school until 1 PM, and then heads across the street to hit at Jets Stadium. “It takes maybe 15 seconds. Then when we’re done, I have time for homework. This has been a really good experience for me.”
Upon arriving in Alberta, he ran a personal best 6.82, 60-yard dash. His speed should come as no surprise since his father attended Montana State on a track scholarship. He ran the 1,500 metres and held high school track records. Dray used to run track in elementary school, but “it became too much.”
The 6-foot-2, 170-pound, right-handed hitter impressed Whalley coach Parker, who has been coaching the Chiefs, the Langley Blaze or Cloverdale since 1985.
“Going to Vauxhall was best for him and his baseball career, if you have a passion and a goal that’s the place to be,” Parker said. “He has a high ceiling with unlimited power potential.”
Parker says Dray’s best game with the Chiefs was an 8-6 win over the Abbotsford Cardinals when he had three hits including a homer and a double, knocking in three runs. He hit .263 with six doubles, a homer and 13 RBIs in 30 Premier League games.
As a grade 10 student playing in the B.C. Premier League last spring, Dray was an outfielder, but he hopes to move to third base. Eventually.
Now entering grade 11, he’s eligible for the 2016 draft.
This will be the first time Dray has ever walked though the doors of the Rogers Centre, although he made it close, representing B.C. at the 2012 Canadian bantam championships in Vaughan. Coach Todd Mundle’s B.C. team took home the silver medal, losing to Ontario.
All Dray, who played for the Vancouver Mounties, did at the nationals was hit .778 (7-for-9) with a double, four RBIs and a 1.616 OPS in five games.
His favourite players to watch hit are Miguel Cabrera, Giancarlo Stanton,Justin Morneau and Joey Votto.
Besides Burgmann and Dray, the other Vauxhall Jets to make the Alberta team are outfielder Zack Kunkel, infielder Nolan Rattai, infielder Tyler Scott, catcher Shawn Robbins and Kennedy.
On Wednesday, B.C. meets Atlantic Grey with current Jets right-handersReilly O’Rourke, Jake Cook and infielder Blake Gallagher, along with former Jet Luc Hebert, now at the Prairie Baseball Academy, outfielder Anthony McKinley and infielder JJ Oram.
Vauxhall pitchers Brady Moxham, Brandon Hatley and Brody Burnett, catchers Ben Komonosky and Jordan Malainey, infielder Brett Resch and outfielder Luxon Glor are with the Prairies Purple.
“Almost everyone here is going,” said Dray.
Since he was home schooled, the Drays, father and son, would head to Crescent Park in White Rock “which was open all the time,” once homework was done.
What has Dray done to say thanks to his father for all those hours of throwing batting practice and chasing balls?
“He enjoys it,” said Dray, “but eventually … hopefully I can go somewhere, play pro ball and pay him back properly.”