March 6, 2018
By Adam Morissette
OTTAWA- Baseball Canada is pleased to announce the names of 33 athletes that have been invited to the Junior National Team’s (U-18) annual Spring Training Camp taking place at the Walter Fuller Complex in St. Petersburg, Florida from March 15-24.
The camp includes daily workouts, a six-game professional schedule against minor league prospects from the Baltimore Orioles, Detroit Tigers, Philadelphia Phillies, Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays organizations, with two Intersquad games and an exhibition contest against the Fort Lauderdale Stars also planned.
This will be the seventh time in the last eight years that the Junior National Team has held its Spring Training Camp in St. Petersburg.
“We’re grateful for the relationship we have with Mayor Rick Kriseman and the City of St. Petersburg who’ve made us feel welcome since day one,” said Head Coach and Director of National Teams Greg Hamilton. “Our players are treated to a professional atmosphere that allows us to maximize training and development time for our program.”
The highlight of the week will come on March 17 when the team will travel to Dunedin Stadium in Dunedin to take on a split-squad version of the Toronto Blue Jays. This is the seventh time in eight years that the two sides have come together for a game that has become a true celebration of the Baseball Canada/Toronto Blue Jays’ partnership.
Fans in Canada will be able to watch the game on Sportsnet ONE, Sportsnet NOW and listen across the Sportsnet Radio Network live from Dunedin beginning at 1 pm E.T.
“We’re very fortunate to have the support of both the Blue Jays and Sportsnet to play this game which is broadcast live across Canada,” said Junior National Team Manager Greg Hamilton. “This game has become an event that our program and players look forward to each year and we’re extremely appreciative of the support from both our corporate partners.”
- Thirty-two of the 33 players named to the roster attended the Fall Instructional League Camp last October in Orlando, Fla. One newcomer, Toronto-born RHP Braden Halladay, will be making his Junior National Team debut during the Spring Training Camp. Halladay is the son of Roy Halladay, a two-time Cy Young Award winner that spent 12 of his 16 big league seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays.
- Also named to the roster, RHP Ben Abram, RHP Eric Cerantola, OF Denzel Clarke, RHP Griffin Hassall and C/3B Noah Naylor, all represented Canada at the 2017 WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup last September and helped Canada to a fourth-place finish.
- Greg Hamilton takes his familiar post as head coach of the club and will be joined by Baseball Hall of Famer and two-time World Series champion Roberto Alomar, who joins the staff as a guest coach. The staff will also feature a slew of former pros and National Team players including Chris Begg, TJ Burton, Jeff Francis, Pete Orr, and Adam Stern.
Coming off a fourth-place finish at the 2017 U-18 World Cup, the Junior National Team program is now focusing its efforts on player development and preparation for the 2018 COPABE U-18 Pan Am Championships in the fall that will serve as a qualifier for the 2019 WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup.