DARTMOUTH JUNIORS TO HOST CANADA’S BEST IN 2013
Nova Scotia’s baseball enthusiasts, fans and players, will eagerly welcome the very best junior-aged baseball players (17-21) in Canada to Dartmouth and Halifax as the Dartmouth Juniors have been selected by Baseball Canada to host the 2013 Canadian Junior Baseball Championship. In what many refer to as “The Memorial Cup of Canadian Junior Baseball”, the 10 teams that will represent each province (with the exception of Alberta) will surely showcase some future stars of the game in Canada and in the United States, even at the professional level.
Many are unaware of the high calibre of baseball played by players at this level in Canada. The Canadian Baseball Network reports that over 700 players from this country are currently playing in one of the 6 categories of U.S. university or college baseball. The number of players drafted by major league baseball clubs continues to grow each year and this age group is the focus for scouts from the various major league clubs, and it is a given that many scouts will be in attendance during the tournament.
Baseball fans will be familiar with a number of players who have participated at the national junior event. New Brunswick’s Matt Stairs, Paul Spoljaric, Rob Butler, and Corey Koskie all played for the Toronto Blue Jays. Jason Dickson, also from New Brunswick, was an all-star MLB pitcher, and is still a standout pitcher with the Chatham Ironmen of the New Brunswick Senior Baseball League.
The Dartmouth Juniors’ long-time owner and coach, Paul Arsenault, will double his responsibilities as the chairman for the tournament. Arsenault, in the same position for the extremely successful Canadian Senior Baseball Championship in 2009 and 2010, looks forward to hosting the event over five days from Aug. 15-19. “We are extremely excited in hosting the very best junior baseball teams and players next year for the national junior baseball championship. With the experience gathered in hosting the senior nationals, the volunteers are more than ready, willing, and able to host a high-quality event that will be a huge success. The local junior baseball players are thrilled as well” Most of the supporting cast of volunteers have returned to ensure the same results seen at the senior nationals, something not lost on Baseball Canada, extremely impressed with the turnout of fans for the event in those two years and with the overall success of the tournaments.
Kelsey McIntosh of Baseball Canada worked closely with Arsenault at the highly successful 2010 senior nationals and was extremely pleased that Dartmouth accepted the invitation to host after a bidding process. “We at Baseball Canada are thrilled that Dartmouth, with Paul Arsenault heading the local group, has accepted the offer to host this event. The success of the senior nationals in 2009 and 2010 was extremely gratifying, and we are convinced that the national junior tournament will be a huge success too. Baseball fans will be pleasantly surprised at the calibre of baseball these young men play.”
For the next two years Bantam Girls Nationals will be held here in Bedford, Nova Scotia. Tournament Chair and Baseball Nova Scotia Treasurer Holly LaPierre, is excited about both national tournaments coming to metro “With baseball growing in numbers at all levels, male and female, having the bantam girls and junior nationals played here will certainly put a country wide spotlight on our programs.” Lapierre is confident that the same success showcased at senior nationals will be seen in both championships.
Arsenault has headed up the junior baseball program in Dartmouth since 1992, providing an opportunity for many to continue their careers at a high level, honing their skills and moving on to the United States or to senior baseball in the province. The Nova Scotia Senior Baseball League and the affiliated senior club, the Dartmouth Moosehead Dry in particular, have benefited from the players developed while with the Dartmouth junior squad. The senior Dry have been one of the most successful teams in Canada for over 20 years, having won the provincial senior title an incredible 16 times, have won the national title twice, and captured the silver medal in their own 2010 national tournament.
Over the past 10 years Arsenault’s clubs have won 8 provincial crowns, thus earning the right to represent the province at this same national tournament. His 2005 club came ever so close to capturing the gold medal at the national tournament in Saskatoon, losing to Quebec 5-4 in the championship game. His clubs also impressed with 5th place showings in 2008 and 2011.
The announcement of the tournament coming to Nova Scotia has already begun to have positive effects throughout the province. Junior teams in Halifax, Tri-County (Bedford-Sackville), and Dartmouth are ready to hit the diamond again this summer. Many of the players with their respective teams will still have a year or more of eligibility remaining next year and thus will participate in the national event. Games in the league and in various tournaments this summer will help prepare the teams. In fact, the Dartmouth Juniors will host their annual tournament during the weekend of June 22-24 at Beazley Field in Dartmouth and Mainland Common in Halifax.
Arsenault and his many volunteers are already hard at it in terms of planning and additional volunteers are always welcome.