Sandlots Johnson, Ont. Cup, Badgers to school
* Jay Johnson (Sussex Corner, NB) impressed Boston Red Sox scouts enough to get a second look, but alas they "went in another direction." So Johnson will head north to pitch for the Quebec Capitales. ....
By Bob Elliott and Dan Haugh How much of a Boston Red Sox fan is Jay Johnson?
Johnson's loyalty to the Red Sox is akin to many from the Atlantic provinces ... after all the club flew the World Series trophy to both Moncton and Halifax after winning in 2014.
Johnson threw a bullpen session for Red Sox evaluators earlier this month in Fort Myers, Fla.
The Red Sox didn’t fall in love, but it wasn’t a case of Alvin Dark’s famous `take a hike, kid’ line.
Johnson (Sussex Corner, NB) was told he could come back in a few days for another bullpen session.
He did mention he had the opportunity to throw a bullpen for the Detroit Tigers in Lakeland, Fla.
“Go ahead, go throw for the Tigers,” a Sox official told Johnson “we might not have anything here for you.”
Johnson declined the Tiger offer, according to a scout and is now headed to pitch for the Quebec Capitales in the independent Can-Am League.
A Vauxhall Academy Jet, who played for coach Les McTavish, Johnson then pitched for Blair Kubicek at the Prairie Baseball Academy Dawgs before moving on to pitch for the Texas Tech Red Raiders. He was drafted twice: by the Baltimore Orioles in the 25th round in 2009 and the Toronto Blue Jays in the 26th round in 2010.
Kubicek phoned his lifelong pal Pat Gillick of the Philadelphia Phillies and the Hall of Fame lefty gave the young lefty a chance. Johnson pitched for class-A Lakewood in 2001 and later the rookie-class Gulf Coast Phillies, class-A Clearwater, double-A Reading and triple-A Lehigh Valley before being released last year.
Ontario Cup: Tryouts for the ever popular Ontario Cup which leads to the national championship and the Canada Cup will be held May 22-24 at the Vaughan Grove Sports Complex.
Once the coaches and evaluators have whittled down the entrants to a workable number the 40-man camp will be held July 6-7.
This summer’s Canada Cup is Aug. 5-10 in Saskatoon, Sask.
Bagder 1: London Badger catcher Troy Lofgren finishes his sixth season as a Badger this summer he will be on his way to Lake Michigan College in Benton Harbor, Mich. to play for the Red Hawks on a scholarship.
He won’t be the first Badger graduate to attend Lake Michigan College. Travis Black and Mitch Lumley have gone there before him.
Why did Lofgren chose Lake Michigan?
“Lake Michigan was the first school to contact me,” Lofgren said. “I knew right away it was perfect for me. I will be given a chance to play right away, which is something I was looking for in a school. Lake Michigan also offers the criminal justice program I am interested in taking, which makes Lake Michigan a perfect fit.”
Scott Ponegalek who is in his seventh season as Red Hawks coach says Lofgren will fill one of his team’s needs, saying: “One of my biggest needs next year is at the catching position. I am looking forward to Troy coming to Lake Michigan, and I think he will come in and contribute right away.”
“My short-term goals are to get an education and to play baseball. I would like to play my two years at Lake Michigan College and move on to a Division 1 or Division 2 school to finish off my education and college baseball career, and maybe get drafted,” said Lofgren, who believes the defensive part of his game is his greatest strength.
“The Badger organization has taught me a lot, but the two most important things would be, to never take a day off because you never know when a college recruiter or scout is watching,” says Lofgren. “You want to make sure that you show them everything you have. It is important to have commitment and dedication as a team striving for a common goal.”
Lofgren thanked coach Mike Lumley and the Badger family saying he was looking forward “to a great final season as a Badger moving forward to my first year as a college player.”
Lofgren who started in the Badger program at the Pee Wee level.
Badger 2: Outfielder Jacob Mansfield of the London Badgers heading to Saginaw Valley State University Cardinals in September on a baseball scholarship.
Saginaw Valley State University Cardinals play in the Division II Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
“I had several schools contact me from different divisions, however after visiting Saginaw it was apparent to both my parents and me that it was the perfect fit,” said Mansfield who will finish his Badger career this summer with the 18U Badger club. “Saginaw offered education, coaching, facilities, and opportunities I was looking for in a school.
“After the visit it was impossible to find a single thing about the school I did not love.”
Chris Ebright in his first full season as head coach at Saginaw Valley State is excited about what Jacob brings to his team, saying: “he brings great talent, work ethic, and power from the left side that we are looking for. My assistants and I watched a couple Badgers games last summer and Jacob stood out immediately. We are hoping to keep the Badger connection going for the future. That organization is first-class on and off the field.”
Mansfield says he will take a lot from the Badger program and that “the skills I have gained playing for the Badgers are simply too many to list, but the biggest thing has to be the importance of dedication to the game and working hard when no one is watching. It is an important skill not just in baseball but in life in general.”
Mansfield is currently in Grade 12 at Saunders Secondary School in London.
Former Badger Mitch Lumley is in his senior as a member of the Cardinals.