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Short Hops: “Ella Matteucci Park” is what we’re all here for!

Short Hops is a new, weekly look at news and information that is of interest to the Canadian baseball community from the pros to the local sandlots!

Ella Matteucci Park – One of the greatest honours that one can receive in this game is having a field named after them, a lasting legacy for someone who’s done something remarkable in or for the game. That honour now belongs to Women’s National Team athlete Ella Matteucci after a field in her hometown of Fruitvale, BC will be named “Ella Matteucci Park” following a name-the-park contest. We use the term “athlete” for good reason as Ella’s accolades on the ball diamond are matched by her prowess on the ice. Matteucci skated for four seasons with NCAA Division 1 Clarkson University before playing with the Markham Thunder in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL). On the diamond, Ella has represented Canada at three WBSC Women’s Baseball World Cups winning medals in 2016 (silver) and 2018 (bronze). She was also part of Canada’s squad that captured silver at the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto.

Riopel lands new role – Keeping with good things happening to members of the Women’s National Team program, former star hurler Vanessa Riopel has landed a brand new role with Baseball Québec as the federation’s Female Baseball Development and Leadership Coordinator. Riopel was a key piece of the Women’s National Team pitching staff for nearly a decade where she participated in three Women’s Baseball World Cups (2010, 2012, 2014) and capped off her career with the squad by winning silver at the 2015 Pan Am Games. Known as a competitor on the mound, there is no doubt that Riopel will bring the right ingredients to her new role to be successful! Bonne chance, Van!

Naylor getting some love – Two-time Junior National Team MVP (2017, 2018) Bo Naylor was Cleveland’s first round pick in 2018 and will be heading to big league camp with the squad when pitchers and catchers report to spring training later this month in Goodyear, Arizona. Adding to this piece of info is that Bo will be joined later in spring training by brother Josh who was dealt to Cleveland last summer where he impressed with his hitting performance in the postseason. Bo turned heads at Cleveland’s alternate site last summer receiving strong reviews within the organization for both his play behind the plate and in the batter’s box. Naylor was left off Top 100 prospects lists by both Baseball American and MLB Pipeline when they were revealed in January but was #42 on Keith Law’s Top 100 ($) for The Athletic. Bo will turn 21 on February 21st and will be one to watch during the minor league season later this year.

Baseball America CanCon – For those who don’t know, Baseball America – the most trusted voice in amateur and professional baseball was founded by a Canadian. Allan Simpson of White Rock, BC started the publication in his garage 40 years ago driving across the border to Washington to print and mail copies so that readers would think the issues were American. The magazine grew from there to the point where its now considered “The Bible of Baseball”. Now, another Canadian is making a mark on the magazine as artist Robb Scott drew the cover art for the recent College Preview issue. Not since future Top 10 picks Adam Loewen and Jeff Francis appeared on the cover back in 2002 has a Baseball America cover been more Canadian. The current issue features MLB prospects Kumar Rocker (Vanderbilt), Jud Fabian (Florida), Matt McLain (UCLA) and Adrian Del Castillo (Miami). Scott has an impressive resume producing pieces for the likes of Sidney Crosby, the NHL and NBA.