By Bob Elliott
Canadian Baseball Network
A total of eight Canadians are on the rosters of the top 25 NAIA teams ranked by Perfect Game USA.
Each team hopes to reach Lewiston, Id. the NAIA World Series this spring. Yet, only one Canadian -- J.D. Osborne -- is with the No. 1 ranked Tampa Spartans.
3B Osborne (Whitby, Ont.) was hitting fifth on opening day as the Spartans blanked the Bentley Falcons 8-0. He had a pair of hits, including a double and knocked in two runs.
Next, Tampa won 8-1 over Bentley as 1B Osborne was hitless. And in the finale, 3B Osborne singled as Tampa edged Bentley 5-4 to start the season 3-0 ... doing exactly what No. 1 ranked teams are supposed to do.
Last spring Osborne led the Spartans in the power department hitting a team-best 13 home runs. He hit .363 with 17 doubles, one triple and 59 RBIs in 43 contests, with an on-base mark of .418 and slugging .668.
The season him earned Canadian Baseball Network all-Canadian Second Team honours. He also gained all-Canadian honourable Mention honours in 2014 and again in 2015 at Polk State.
Osborne finished 10th in the nation with 1.37 RBIs per game, had 69 hits in 190 at-bats and scored 52 runs. He had two home runs in a win over Lynn and had multi-hit game in 24 contests.
2017 Perfect Game Division II Preseason Top 25 Teams
Rank 2016 School ST ’16 Record
1. 3 Tampa Spartans FL 41-10
The Spartans have 3B-C J.D. Osborne (Whitby, Ont.) to count on ... just like last year when he earned Sunshine State Conference Offensive Player of the Week and earned NCAA Div. II ABCA/Rawlings South All-Region Second Team honors as an infielder, He played for Toronto Mets and the Whitby Chiefs.
6. 25* Lubbock Christian Chaparrals TX 37-19
The Chaps have LHP Ryan Johnson (Winnipeg, Man.). He pitched for Team Manitoba, College of Southern Idaho Golden Eagles and the Crowder College Roughriders.
8. 8 Colorado Mesa Mavericks CO 43-13
The Mavericks have C Tanner Rempel (Abbottsford, BC) from the Abbotsford Cardinals.
11. NR Point Loma Sea Lions CA 32-16
The Sea Lions have a pair of Canucks in C Mike Gordner (Waterloo, Ont.) and RHP Hunter Greenough (Unionville, Ont.). Gordner caught for the Ontario Nationals and the Kitchener Panthers, while Greenough is an Etobicoke Rangers grad.
19. NR Wayne State Warriors MI 28-24
The Warriors have Tecumseh Thunder grad RHP Chris Horvath (Lakeshore, Ont.).
20. NR Florida Tech Panthers FL 29-21
The Panthers have C Zac Orchard (Cambridge, Ont.) who played with the Ontario Blue Jays.
21. 20 Angelo State Rams TX 39-22
The Rams have RHP Kenton Schroter (Nanaimo, BC), a Nanaimo Pirates grad.