By Bob Elliott
Canadian Baseball Network
When we first began tracking where Canadians headed south of the border in 1999 the answer was usually border states.
The best Canucks would go to schools in the border states of Washington, North Dakota, Minnesota, Michigan, New York and Maine.
No more do the best do their cross-border schooling at schools like Washington, Washington State, North Dakota State, Minot State, Mary, Jamestown, Dickinson State, Jamestown, Minnesota, Bemidji State, Minnesota State, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Michigan, Michigan State, Saginaw Valley State, Wayne State, Northwood, Concordia Ann Arbor, Davenport, Macomb, St. Clair, Canisius, Niagara, Buffalo, St. Bonaventure, Albany, Binghamton, SUNY Canton, Monroe, Erie, Jefferson, Niagara County and Maine.
Now, top 25-ranked teams like Oregon State, Texas A@M, North Carolina, Texas Tech, Mississippi State and Vanderbilt, plus power houses such as Missouri, Auburn, West Virginia, South Carolina, Sacramento State, Hawaii, Alabama, Louisiana Tech, University of California Santa Barbara, Oklahoma and Maryland recruit north of the border.
The Oregon State Beavers struck gold earlier by landing INF Cesar Valero (Calgary, Alta.) of the Okotoks Dawgs for the fall of 2019 in May and now LHP Justin Thorsteinson (Richmond, BC) has committed to the Beavers when he graduates high school in 2020.
Now, he will make the 6 1/2 hour trip south from BC to Corvallis, Oregon. Thorsteinson’s first choice was Oregon State and he and his father Jordan -- who pitched for BC at the 1987 nationals -- met with associate head coach Pat Bailey. Justin's uncle, 1B Jason Thorsteinson, was drafted in the 46th round, by the 1991 Montreal Expos. Jason played with the rookie-class Florida Gulf Coast Expos and was a teammate of 2B Jose Vidro.
Growing up Justin was a Justin Morneau fan and on a trip to Arizona met the Colorado Rockies first baseman. The next day Morneau showed up and there was Justin in the dugout selected by a member of the Rockies staff to be a guest bat boy.
The hard-throwing Langley Blaze newcomer will be attending Tournament 12 and playing for the Futures team Sept. 14-17.