By Adam Morissette
AJAX, Ontario – Baseball Canada is pleased to announce the 20-player roster that will represent Canada at the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup in Thunder Bay, Ontario from September 1 to 10.
The announcement follows an eight-game exhibition series against Australia’s U-18 side that saw Canada win five games and drop three.
Canada will open the U-18 Baseball World Cup on Friday against Chinese Taipei (6:30 p.m. E.T.) at Port Arthur Stadium.
In addition to Chinese Taipei, Canada will be joined in Group A by Australia, Korea, Italy and Nicaragua, while Group B will feature three-time defending champions USA along with Cuba, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands and South Africa.
Each group will play a round robin with the top three seeds in each side advancing to the Super Round that runs from September 7 to 9. Gold and bronze medal games are scheduled for Sunday, September 10th at Port Arthur Stadium.
Historically, Canada has won six medals at the U-18 World Cup including gold in 1991 (Brandon, Man.), silver in 2012 (Seoul, Korea) and bronze in 1983 (USA), 1987 (Windsor, Ont.), 1997 (Moncton, N.B.) and 2006 (Sancti Spiritus, Cuba). Canada is coming off a sixth-place finish at the last U-18 Baseball World Cup that was held in Osaka, Japan in 2015.
Canada’s roster features six players that were selected in the 2017 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft including INF Dondrae Bremner (31st Rd./Reds), 2B Edouard Julien (37th Rd./Phillies), OF Clayton Keyes (15th Rd./Diamondbacks), RHP Landon Leach (2nd Rd./Twins), RHP Cade Smith (16th Rd./Twins) and SS Jason Willow (24th Rd./Orioles). Leach signed with the Twins and is joining Team Canada after beginning his professional career in the Gulf Coast League.
Greg Hamilton (Peterborough, Ont.) 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 (Scarborough, Ont.) as coaches.
Canada is short two of its best players in INF Adam Hall (Dorchester, Ont.) a Great Lake Canadians alumn, who was injured after signing with the Baltimore Orioles and lead-off man OF Cooper Davis (Mississauga, Ont.) the former Ontario Blue Jay, attending classes at Valderbilt.
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