OTTAWA – The 2009 edition of the Baseball Canada Junior Championship will be a particularly special event for the city of Trois-Rivières. Not only does it mark the 25th anniversary of the first Junior championship held in the city, but it will also be part of the festivities for the 375th anniversary of the city itself.
The “capital de la Mauricie” is the second largest francophone city in North America and the Vice-President of the organizing committee for these championships, Réal Lajoie, wanted this championship to be part of the celebrations of a region rich in baseball history.
“In 1984, Trois-Rivières took home the National Championship. Since then, all the National Championships that have come our way have been a complete success,” explains Lajoie.
“In 2004, when we hosted the Junior nationals,” adds Lajoie, “over 15,000 people passed by in three days.”
Also, thanks to hosting the Junior Championship, the Trois-Rivières city council undertook a substantial renovation project for the Fernand Bédard Stadium, which was originally built in 1938.
“The city has spent approximately eight million dollars for the renovations on the ballpark,” points out Lajoie.
The fans will benefit from the renovations with a new concourse as well as some new individual seating in the stands. Also, new concession stands and washrooms have had their share of changes during the regeneration of the stadium.
As for the players, they will enjoy brand new clubhouses along with improved tunnels to get to the dugout. The lighting system also got a facelift as they were modified to meet the standards of a professional AAA baseball stadium.
Regarding the competition itself, the individual awards that will be handed out at the end of the tournament will also honour baseball alumni from Trois-Rivières.
“This year, we wanted to put an emphasis on recognizing all the other championships that have taken place over the last 25 years,” describes Lajoie.
All the trophies presented to the award winners have all been renamed after baseball alumni in the region. The trophy for the top pitcher has been named the Alain Lesage Award. The trophy for the top hitter has been enshrined the Dominic Therrien Award. The top catcher will receive the newly crowned Jean-François Picard Award, while the MVP of the tournament will get the Mathieu Demontigny Award.
The 2009 Baseball Canada Junior National Championship will take place from August 6-9 in Trois-Rivières, Québec where they will host the top 19-21 year-old players in the country.