An intro to the 50th Canada Games

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By Adam Morissette
Baseball Canada

OTTAWA - The Canada Games baseball competition gets underway in Winnipeg on July 29th with three sites playing host to 10 provincial teams vying for a National Championship.

Some of the top 17 and under baseball players in the country will be on display for the seven-day event that culminates at Shaw Park with bronze and gold medal match-ups set for Friday, Aug. 4th. British Columbia enters the event as the defending champions after having won gold at the most recent Canada Games in 2013 in Sherbrooke, Québec. Saskatchewan is the defending champions of the 2016 Baseball Canada Cup, which is being replaced by the Canada Games baseball competition in 2017.

The format will see two pools, Pool A and Pool B, with teams in Pool A playing a double round robin and teams in Pool B playing a straight round-robin. At the end of pool play, winners of Pool A and Pool B will meet with the winner gaining direct entry into the gold medal contest. The second place team in Pool B will meet the third place club in Pool A in a quarter-final game with the winner facing the second place team in Pool A to determine the other finalist.

A team-by-team preview:

POOL A
Alberta
Coach: Dwayne Lalor
2013 Canada Games: 3rd
2016 Baseball Canada Cup: 5th
Players to Watch:
3B/SS Matthew Coutney – Will be counted on offensively. Attended Extended Spring Training Camp with Junior National Team
2B/SS Cesar Valero – Has a verbal commitment to Oregon State University

British Columbia
Coach: Cav Whitley
2013 Canada Games: 1st
2016 Baseball Canada Cup: 2nd
Players to Watch:
3B Dylan Ohlsen – Returnee from ’16 Canada Cup squad. Led BC Premier League in home runs and RBI.
RHP Travis McDougall – 6’ 6” right-hander can reach the upper 80’s with his fastball. Member of ’16 Canada Cup Team 

Québec
Coach: Robert Fatal
2013 Canada Games: 5th
2016 Baseball Canada Cup: 3rd
Players to Watch:
SS/RHP Edouard Savoie – Returnee from ’16 Canada Cup bronze medal winners
RHP Viktor Bergeron - Returnee from ’16 Canada Cup bronze medal winners

Saskatchewan
Coach: Greg Brons
2013 Canada Games: 6th
2016 Baseball Canada Cup: 1st
Players to Watch:
OF/RHP Brody Frerichs – Overage returnee won Top Offensive Player at ’16 Baseball Canada Cup
RHP Connor Sparks – 6’5” right-hander returns after helping Saskatchewan to gold medal at ’16 Baseball Canada Cup

POOL B
Manitoba

Coach: Faron Asham
2013 Canada Games: 7th
2016 Baseball Canada Cup: 8th
Players to Watch:
LHP Noah Geekie - Left-hander was a second round selection of the Calgary Hitmen in the ’15 WHL Bantam Draft
RHP/INF Tristan Peters – Returns from ’16 Canada Cup squad. Attends the Okotoks Dawgs Baseball Academy

New Brunswick
Coach: Gerry LeBlanc
2013 Canada Games: 4th
2016 Baseball Canada Cup: 9th
Players to Watch:
C Brett Mercier – Overage player recently graduated from the Vauxhall Baseball Academy and will attend a Junior College south of the border in the fall
LHP Zach Newman - Overage player recently graduated from Vauxhall and will attend a Junior College south of the border in the fall

Newfoundland & Labrador
Coach: Stephen Donahue
2013 Canada Games: 9th
2016 Baseball Canada Cup: 4th
Players to Watch:
C John Cribb – Returns from ’16 Canada Cup squad that finished fourth
SS Matthew Janes - Returns from ’16 Canada Cup squad that finished fourth

Nova Scotia
Coach: Kevin Richardson
2013 Canada Games: 8th
2016 Baseball Canada Cup: 7th
Players to Watch:
LHP Jaden Griffin – Has been a member of the Junior National Team since October 2015. Represented Nova Scotia at the ’15 and ’16 Baseball Canada Cup events
RHP/3B Zack Zinck – Will be relied upon at the plate in the field and on the mound

Ontario
Coach: Scott Robinson
2013 Canada Games: 2nd
2016 Baseball Canada Cup: 6th
Players to Watch:
RHP/OF Zachery McQuaid – Unable to participate in the ’16 Canada Cup after suffering major injuries in a devastating car accident, McQuaid is a key piece for Ontario
1B/LHP Noah Richardson – Will be a middle of the order bat and expected to log important innings on the mound. Richardson is verbally committed to the University of Northern Kentucky

Prince Edward Island
Coach: Jason Monaghan
2013 Canada Games: 10th
2016 Baseball Canada Cup 10th
Players to Watch:
RHP/SS Logan MacDougall: Two-time Baseball Canada Cup participant and PEI’s lone overage player
SS/RHP Gabriel Penalver – Returnee from ’16 Canada Cup squad also member of Team Atlantic at ’16 edition of Tournament 12 showcase

Adam Morissette

Adam Morissette was born and raised in Ottawa, Ont. where sports were always a big part of his life whether it be baseball, hockey or football, including playing two seasons as centre for coach Pat Sheahan with the Queen's University Golden Gaels in Kingston -- Canada's first capital. Morissette has always have been passionate about baseball and has fond memories of attending Montreal Expos games with his father, Mike, and listening to his recollection of watching baseball in Montreal at Jarry Park and stories about Gary Carter, Rusty Staub and Steve Rodgers. Morissette could often be found in a near empty Lynx Stadium watching Joe Siddall, Bert Heffernan, Curtis Pride and Jamie Carroll soaking in a beautiful summer night at the ballpark. He was a member of the provincial championship Orleans Red Sox Little League teams also played with the Ottawa White Sox for the late Lyle Anderson and Todd Burke in OBA Midget and American Legion play and the Capital City Crushers (NCBL), primarily as a catcher. Has also spent time coaching Little League in Orleans and South Ottawa. He wanted to turn his passion into a career and enrolled in Sport Business Management at Algonquin College in Ottawa in 2007. After working for the Ottawa 67's OHL team as the Ticket Coordinator, Morissette jumped at the opportunity to become the Media and Public Relations Coordinator with Baseball Canada in 2010. He loves watching and reading about pro, college or amateur baseball and is a long-time subscriber to Baseball America. Morissette is thrilled about the idea of writing about baseball and is interested in covering any story that his car -- and time -- will allow him to cover.