By Adam Morissette
OTTAWA- It’s that time of year again!
Action at four different Baseball Canada National Championships will begin on Thursday, August 17th and run through Sunday, August 20th, including the DQ® 13U National Western Championship in Spruce Grove, Alta., the 16U Girls Invitational heads back to Vaughan, Ont., while the 18U Championship will be staged in London, Ont. Finally, the 21U National Championship will see the National Capital region play host with games in Gatineau, Québec and Ottawa.
DQ® 13U National Western Championship
Eight teams representing Canada’s four westernmost province will descend upon Spruce Grove, Alta., for the annual DQ® 13U National Western Championships. St. Albert and Camrose will join the host Parkland club as Alberta representatives, while defending champion Abbotsford will be the lone B.C. squad. Manitoba and Saskatchewan will have two competing squads each with North Winnipeg and Carillon joining Regina and Sask Five, respectively. Sask Five returns to the field as the defending silver medalists from 2016.
Prior to the event, players and teams will have the opportunity to strut their stuff during a home run and skills contest.
16U Girls Invitational
The largest field in the history of the 16U Girls Invitational will be at the Vaughan Grove Sports Complex in Vaughan, Ont., this week with representation from nine provinces joining the host team. Defending champion Ontario will look to capture a record sixth gold medal at the event but will be in tough against familiar foes from Québec, B.C., Manitoba, Alberta and Nova Scotia – all of whom have medaled in the past five years. For the first time in event history, Prince Edward Island will send a team. Women’s National Team hurler Katie Hagen, who helped Canada to a silver medal at the 2016 WBSC Women’s Baseball World Cup, is a member of the Nova Scotia entry.
For the first time since 2010, historic Labatt Park in London, Ontario will play host to the 18U National Championships. In 2010 Tecumseh (ON) took the gold medal and they are back in London this year as the Ontario rep. All 10 provinces will be represented in London featuring some athletes that recently competed in the Canada games in Winnipeg including gold medal winner Connor Sparks off Team Saskatchewan. Following opening ceremonies (6 pm E.T.) on Thursday, host London Badgers will square off against Manitoba at Labatt Park.
For the first time since 2006, the National Capital region will play host to a national championship with Gatineau, Qué., hosting the 21U Men’s Championships. Three-time defending champions Québec headline a ten-team field that also includes the host Hull-Volant Squad. A Home Run derby at Sanscartier Park in Gatineau is on tap for Wednesday evening before the tournament begins on Thursday morning. Games will also take place in Ottawa at RCTG Park, home of the Can Am League’s Ottawa Champions.