With less than a week a remaining before the best junior-aged baseball players in Canada make their way to this province for the 2103 CitiFinancial Baseball Canada Under 21 Championship, the Dartmouth Juniors and the Tri-County Rangers are hard at work in preparation for the big stage. The Juniors are hosting the event and the Rangers earned the right to wear the province’s colours at the event, defeating the Juniors 5-4 in the elimination tournament championship game.
Heading into the national tournament the Juniors are in the midst of a very successful season. Their overall record is 28-9, a winning percentage of .757. The tandem of lefty Liam Logan and righty Jason Mosher lead the team on the mound. Logan is 8-0 with an earned run average of 1.79, he has struck out 37 batters in 43 innings. He has also been impressive in numerous appearances with the Juniors’ senior affiliate, the Dartmouth Moosehead Dry. Mosher’s record is 7-3 and his ERA is just 2.07; of particular note is his strikeout ratio to innings pitched, 73 Ks in 61 innings. The supporting mound staff is strong - Glenn Harvie, who attends the Prairie Baseball Academy in Lethbridge, has a record of 4-2 while Scott Harrison is 3-0 and Dennis Trainor 3-1. Harvie’s brother, Sean, is the closer. The Juniors have added Jason Davies who has pitched for the past two seasons with the Dry. He is currently 2-2 in the senior circuit and has struck out 45 batters in just 32 innings. Davies has attended Volunteer State College in Gallatin, Tennessee the last two seasons and will attend college in Midland, Texas this year.
At the plate the team is led by 3rd year player, Aaron Ferguson, of Amherst. He has a batting average of .381 and leads the team with 6 home runs and 40 runs batted in. Supporting Ferguson will be Harrison at .377, Evan Williams at .343, Donald Tabor .315, and Mosher at .311. Gary Strowbridge, a 3rd year catcher, who helped the Dry win the senior crown last year as call-up, has struggled this year and the Juniors hope he will break out of his slump in time for the nationals.
Head coach, Eric Newbould, wants his veteran team to compete hard and uphold the strong tradition of the Juniors at their tournament.
The Tri-County Rangers represented the province at last year’s nationals and finished a very respectable 4th, one of the province’s best finishes ever. The club is currently on a roll and has won 10 of its last 13 games.
The team members are largely from the Tri-County organization and most have participated at national tournaments before.
Players to watch are P/CF Colby Turple, considered by many to be the best junior player in the province, Joey Cavadini, not only the team’s top hurler but also the leading hitter on the club, Alex Ostrov who is recovering from Tommy John surgery, but is a threat at the plate, and J.G. Weeks, son of Mark Weeks who played for many years with the Dartmouth Moosehead Dry. He has followed in his father’s footsteps and is the team’s catcher.
A very welcomed addition to the team for the nationals is Evan Comeau who attended the Prairie Baseball Academy and stayed in Alberta this summer to play for the Lethbridge Bulls in the Western Major Baseball League, made up of university players from Canada and the U.S. He will attend the University of Arkansas this year on a full scholarship.
Pick-ups include Codey Shrider and Christian Vogler of the senior Kentville Wildcats Shrider is one of the top hitters in the senior circuit and will be the Rangers’ closer. Vogler will attend Cabrillo College in California this fall. Jesse Borden, a pitcher with 2013 N.S. Canada Games team, and Halifax’s Jordan Pelham will also join the staff.
Veteran head coach, Reg Awalt, feels that with 12 returning players and the team’s encouraging performance last year that a medal is certainly within reach this year.