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Young stars take centre stage at National Teams Banquet

TORONTO- Some of the brightest young Canadian baseball talent was highlighted over the weekend at the Toronto Marriott City Centre Hotel as Baseball Canada held its annual National Teams Awards Banquet and Fundraiser for the 16th consecutive year.

The evening included a pair of cheque presentations from corporate partners the Toronto Blue Jays and RBC Wealth Management in addition to a silent auction with funds going to support Baseball Canada’s Junior and Senior National Teams program.

“We’re extremely fortunate the have the alumni support from the players who support this event each year along with our corporate partners and dear friends in the baseball community who are kind enough to join us this evening,” said Baseball Canada’s Director of National Teams, Greg Hamilton. “Our National Teams program has grown to what it is today thanks to these people and organizations and for that we are forever grateful.”

A trio of athletes who helped Canada to a fourth place finish at the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup in Thunder Bay last September were honoured in Noah Naylor (Junior National Team MVP presented by RBC Wealth Management, Denzel Clarke (Canadian Futures Award presented by the BBWAA, Toronto Chapter) and Landon Leach (Special Recognition Award presented by the MLBPA). Longtime Senior National Team hurler Andrew Albers was given the Stubby Clapp Award, presented by Mizuno Canada for his standout 2017 season with the Seattle Mariners while Junior National Team alum Josh Naylor took home the Larry J. Pearson Alumni Award presented by Larry Pearson. Finally, Mike Soroka, who was named Atlanta Braves Minor League Pitcher of the Year Award for his spectacular 2017 season, was given a Special Achievement Award, presented by RBC Wealth Management.

Guests including Baseball Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar, Cincinnati Reds superstar Joey Votto, Toronto Blue Jays President Mark Shapiro along with a host of Blue Jays TV and Radio personalities, and National Team alumni helped make the evening a one to remember.

Baseball Canada would like to extend a special thank you to Blue Jays radio voice Mike Wilner who emceed the evening for the fifth consecutive year.

Photos courtesy Larry Shred