By Adam Morissette
OTTAWA- Baseball Canada is pleased to announce the names of 24 athletes invited to the Junior National Team’s (U-18) Selection Camp that will determine the 20-player roster that will represent Canada at the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup in Thunder Bay, Ont., from September 1 to 10.
Selection Camp will take place in Ajax, Ont., at the Pan Am Ballparks from August 18 to 28 and include a seven-game exhibition series against the Australian U-18 National Team. The first game of the series is set for August 21 (7 p.m. E.T.) and will conclude on August 27 (1 pm E.T.). All games are open to the public.
“The selection camp will allow the coaching staff an opportunity to evaluate players before making final roster decisions,” said Team Canada manager Greg Hamilton. “The U-18 Baseball World Cup is the culmination of two years of hard work for our Junior National Team program. Our coaches and players are looking forward to this opportunity to represent Canada and being a competitive club in Thunder Bay.”
Twenty-three of the 24 players invited to camp have previous experience with the Junior National Team program, while outfielder Marc-Antoine Lebreux (Sainte-Anne-des-Plaines, Que.) will be making his debut with the program in Ajax.
Eight players named to the Selection Camp roster were taken in the 2017 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft in June, including Dondrae Bremner (31st Rd./Reds), Rhys Cratty (40th Rd./Tigers), Adam Hall (2nd Rd./Orioles), Edouard Julien (37th Rd./Phillies), Clayton Keyes (15th Rd./Diamondbacks), RHP Landon Leach (2nd Rd./Twins), RHP Cade Smith (16th Rd./Twins) and INF Jason Willow (24th Rd./Orioles). Hall and Leach signed professional contracts with their respective clubs and will join Team Canada following selection camp.
Hamilton leads the coaching staff that includes former big leaguer Mike Johnson (Sherwood Park, Alta.) as pitching coach along with former National Team players Chris Begg (Uxbridge, Ont.) and Hyung Cho (Scraborough, Ont.) as coaches.
Following roster selection, Team Canada will depart for Thunder Bay on August 29 before opening the 12-team event on September 1st against Chinese Taipei (6:30 pm E.T.) at Port Arthur Stadium.