Local ballplayers showing their stuff at regional and national competitions
The time has come for the boys, and girls, of summer.
Tournament season has arrived for Little League baseball and many of Cape Breton’s best young ballplayers are on the diamond in hopes of progressing to national, and even international, championships.
Regional playdowns are underway in Sydney Mines for two of Little League Canada’s four divisions.
“Yep — there’s a lot more age groups than there used to be,” said longtime Glace Bay baseball coach Henry Boutilier.
Indeed there are. In addition to the original Little League division, now known as Major (ages 10-12), there are divisions called Junior (13-14), Senior (14-16), and Big League (16-18). All have regional and national championships, before the winning teams represent Canada in their respective Little League World Series.
Boutilier is busy this week with the Nova Scotia ‘Major’ Little League championship going on in Sydney Mines. Additionally, the Northside community is also hosting the ‘Junior’ championship. Teams from Sydney Mines, Glace Bay and Sydney are competing.
Meanwhile, the Cape Breton Dodgers are preparing to head to Calgary on Thursday for the 2015 Big League Canadian Championships. The winner of the seven-team competition will advance to the Big League World Series in Easley, South Carolina, at the end of July.
“The boys are excited and looking forward to a good week of baseball,” said Dodgers manager Derrick Hanna.
However, he knows the competition at the national event will be tough.
The Dodgers will be buoyed by the addition of pitcher Logan Aker, who is in his second season with the Sydney Sooners of the Nova Scotia Senior Baseball League.
The Cape Breton squad that is representing the Atlantic Region will kick off its six-game round robin schedule on Friday when they take on Alberta.
The round robin will run through July 22 and the top four teams will advance to the semifinals that will be played on Friday, July 24. The tournament wraps up the following day when the championship game will be played.
And, finally, local players falling into the Senior age category make up the roster of the Cape Breton Cubs.
The Cape Breton Dodgers are heading to Calgary, where they will represent the Atlantic Region at the Big League national baseball championships. Front row, from left: Christian Jardine, Jordan Barnes, Jordan Sampson, Taylor Slade, Robert Parsons, Austin MacIsaac. Back row: Chris Osmond (coach), Tyler Rose, Nathan Doyle, Christopher Osmond, Logan Aker, Adam MacDonald, Ryan Lawless, Derrick Hanna (manager). Missing from photo: Patrick Lahey and Blaine Sampson (coach).