Num­bers

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - SPORTS - XCVSFBV!KPVSOBMQJPOFFS DPN

Jeff Ellsworth will have his eyes wide open dur­ing the Cana­dian un­der-18 boys soft­ball cham­pi­onship in O’Leary from Aug. 16 to 20.

In ad­di­tion to be­ing the host town’s recre­ation direc­tor and tour­na­ment co-or­di­na­tor, Ellsworth is coach of the na­tional ju­nior men’s soft­ball team. All but one of the 26 play­ers Soft­ball Canada in­vited to a se­lec­tion camp in O’Leary from Aug. 21 to 25 are ex­pected to com­pete for the na­tional ti­tle.

“This event is pretty spe­cial,” Ellsworth ac­knowl­edged, point­ing out the chance of mak­ing the na­tional team puts more on the line for the camp in­vi­tees.

“It makes sense for Soft­ball Canada (to have the se­lec­tion camp in the same area as the na­tional cham­pi­onship),” as­sessed Ellsworth.

A block of rooms has been re­served at Mill River Ex­pe­ri­ence for camp mem­bers. In­fras­truc­ture around both O’Leary di­a­monds – El­lis Field and Jeff Ellsworth Field – has been ex­ten­sively ren­o­vated in prepa­ra­tion for the tour­na­ment.

Ev­ery­thing has re­ceived a fresh coat of ma­roon paint, the fenc­ing has re­ceived spe­cial at­ten­tion and parched out­fields are be­ing wa­tered.

Prince Ed­ward Is­land will be rep­re­sented by a Steve Noo­nan­coached ros­ter that has been as­sem­bled for the tour­na­ment. They might be a new team, but they’re tal­ented and well­coached, Ellsworth said.

“They have a real good de­fen­sive team,” he added.

Team mem­bers are from all over the Is­land, and lo­cal West Prince play­ers on the ros­ter are out­field­ers Bray­den Han­dra­han and Daw­son Sel­lick and catcher Colin Gaudette. A pitcher from Cana­dian un­der-18 boys soft­ball cham­pi­onship: In O’Leary from Aug. 16 to 20. Two fields – El­lis and Ellsworth.

Eight prov­inces rep­re­sented. 12 teams en­tered.

49 games sched­uled. 60-plus vol­un­teers reg­is­tered. Over 200 play­ers tak­ing part. Over 250 par­tic­i­pants in­clud­ing coaches and of­fi­cials.

On­tario, Mar­shall Kulich, bol­sters the lineup.

Team P.E.I. has games sched­uled on open­ing day at 10 a.m., and 7 p.m.; 10:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 17, and 2:30 and 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 18.

Saskatchewan teams fin­ished first and fourth at last year’s na­tion­als. There are two dif­fer­ent Saskatchewan teams en­tered this year. Some mem­bers of the de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons are re­turn­ing.

The New­found­land Se­lects, who fin­ished sixth in 2016, are back.

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With the tour­na­ment help­ing to fill sev­eral lo­cal ac­com­mo­da­tions for close to a week, Ellsworth an­tic­i­pates many eco­nomic spinoffs for lo­cal busi­nesses.

The un­der-18 na­tion­als will be the fourth na­tional cham­pi­onship O’Leary has hosted in five years.

Ellsworth said fans can ex­pect to see high-cal­i­bre ball, with many of the pitch­ers throw­ing in the 70-to-75-miles-per-hour range.

All tour­na­ment games are sched­uled for the two O’Leary fields but the field in Eller­slie is on standby, just in case rain de­lays oc­cur and the sched­ule has to be com­pressed.

Ac­tion com­mences in O’Leary on Wed­nes­day, Aug. 16, at 8 a.m., with host team play­ing its first game that day against On­tario Two at 10 a.m. Evening games will be played on El­lis Field.

The play­off round starts Sat­ur­day, Aug. 19, and con­cludes with the cham­pi­onship game on Sun­day, Aug. 20, at 2:30 p.m.

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