By Jean-Gilles Larocque
Despite some challenging weather in Sault Ste. Marie on the weekend, Team North hosted its 2016 Ontario Summer Games tryouts.
It has become challenging to host tryouts for baseball in Northern Ontario this time of year. Weather is almost as unpredictable as the Blue Jays’ pitching staff lately, field availability is also an issue. The cities of North Bay and Sault Ste. Marie opened their baseball diamonds last week, while the City of Greater Sudbury opens up field use after every May long weekend.
Besides the June deadline to enter Team North into the Ontario Summer Games, you also run into team schedules. Players trying out for this team also play for their local associations that are playing in tournaments frequently on weekends. With several hurdles to jump over a team was selected.
With heavy winds, snow and rain whipping the diamond, young men and women came from all over the North to try out regardless. Thanks to Sault Ste. Marie’s wonderful indoor facility, the Northern Community Centre, the coaching staff was able to conduct several fitness tests to evaluate the players.
In case some of you are not aware of the Northern Community Centre in Saul Ste. Marie, here are some facility’s features: Two 100 foot-by-200 foot indoor turf fields; Retractable dividing curtain between fields; Three row bleachers for each field; Four change rooms/washrooms/showers; Full service concession; Sault Ste. Marie Public Library - Korah Branch; WiFi. This indoor facility is definitely something the City of Sault Ste. Marie should be proud of.
During the fitness testing, the coaching staff made sure to emphasise they were looking for athletes, not just baseball players. Players went through the following fitness tests: Tandem Balance Test; Hand Grip; Overhead Squat (with no weight to check player mobility); Pro Agility 5-10-5; Standing Long Jump; Vertical Jump; Rotational Medicine Ball Toss; 10/30 yard run; 60 yard run. Once the players went to the field they were evaluated on arm strength, bat speed and general baseball athleticism and knowledge.
The tryouts wrapped up Sunday with an exhibition game with the Sault Ste. Marie Midget Black Sox.
Good luck to the following 16 young men who will be representing Northern Ontario at the 2016 Ontario Summer Games in Mississauga on Aug. 11-14.
Chris Benoit (Garson), Caleb Cain-Plante (North Bay), Cameron Docking (Lively), Braeden Dube (Hanmer), Nicholas Durkac (Sudbury), Braedan Gobbo (Garson), Joe Guzzo (Sudbury), Burke Houle (North Bay), Jonathan Mackin (Sault Ste. Marie), Carter Magee-Marenger (Sault Ste. Marie), Patrick Maille (North Bay), Tanner Morrison (Dowling), Ben Phillips (Lively), Cody Stevens (North Bay), Justin Vaillancourt (Sudbury), Devin Yaroshuk (Thunder Bay).
The baseball portion of the 2016 Ontario Summer Games will be contested from Aug. 12 to 14.