St. Petersburg, Florida- Junior National Team alumni Brett Lawrie (Langley, BC), Adam Loewen (Surrey, BC), Marcus Knecht (Toronto, ON) and Michael Crouse (Port Moody, BC) will be in the line-up with the Toronto Blue Jays as they face the JNT at Al Lang Stadium on Friday. Big-Leaguer’s Aaron Hill and John McDonald along with 2010 first round pick Deck McGuire will also make the short trip from Dunedin to St. Petersburg to play the juniors.
“We’re thankful that the Blue Jays committed to doing this,” said JNT Head Coach and Director of National Team’s Greg Hamilton (Ottawa, ON). “It’s a partnership (between Baseball Canada and the Blue Jays) we want and need, and we certainly value it.”
In addition to the young Canadian Jays prospects, other highly sought after players Anthony Gose, Travis D’Arnaud and Henderson Alvarez will also be on the Jays travel roster.
The game has been on the minds of several JNT players including Tom Robson (Ladner, BC) who will get the start against the Jays. Robson has pitched in some important games in the past with the JNT; however this game truly has special meaning for the 17 year-old.
“When I found out a few weeks ago that I would be facing the Jays it was immediately something that I was looking forward to and excited about,” said Robson.
Although Robson will be facing big-league hitter’s for the first time he is approaching the start like any other game. He does have somewhat of a plan when he will be facing some of the hitter’s that he hopes to play against someday in the big leagues.
“I’ve watched a few of them on TV, so I know a few of their weaknesses,” said Robson with a chuckle. “I’m just going to throw strikes and try to attack hitter’s.”
The game is the first of its kind between the Blue Jays and the JNT with the hopes of making it an annual event. With the support of the city of St. Petersburg, St. Petersburg International Baseball, the Blue Jays and Baseball Canada, all of the elements are in place to make this an annual Canadian baseball tradition.
“The kids are obviously excited and we’re excited,” continued Hamilton. “It’s something we have wanted for a long time which is great for baseball in Canada.”
Notes: March 4th will be declared ‘Canada Day’ in St. Petersburg by Mayor Bill Foster…People interested in purchasing tickets can do so by visiting: http://www.stpeteinternationalbaseball.com/tickets.htm ...Fans can watch the game LIVE by visiting: http://www.stpeteinternationalbaseball.com/live.htm and also on Gameday by visiting www.MLB.com ...Fans are also encouraged to follow Baseball Canada on twitter (www.twitter.com/baseballcanada)...First pitch is scheduled for 1pm ET.