Connect with us

Baseball Canada

Baseball Canada announces WBSC Baseball Americas Qualifier roster

Published

on

OTTAWA – Baseball Canada is pleased to announce the names of 25 athletes selected to represent Canada at the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Baseball Americas Qualifier in Palm Beach and St. Lucie, Florida from May 31st to June 5th.

The winner of the eight-team tournament will earn a spot in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic baseball competition while the second and third place finishers will head to Mexico for the WBSC Baseball Final Qualifier (dates are to-be-confirmed) where the sixth and final nation to compete at the Olympics will be determined.

Ernie Whitt will be managing Canada for the 19th time in his career at the Americas qualifier with veteran coaches Denis Boucher, Tim Leiper, Paul Quantrill and Baseball Canada’s Director of National Teams Greg Hamilton on the coaching staff.

Whitt, who’s guided Canada to four Pan Am Games medals (two gold, one silver and one bronze), at all four World Baseball Classic events and the 2004 Athens Olympics, has an all-time coaching record of 71-36 with Team Canada in international competition.

He will oversee a roster at the Americas qualifier that includes former major leaguers Andrew Albers, John Axford, Chris Leroux, Scott Mathieson, Dustin Molleken and Scott Richmond with 12 players named to the roster (Michael Crouse, Wes Darvill, Tyson Gillies, Ryan Kellogg, Leroux, Jonathan Malo, Will McAffer, Molleken, Connor Panas, Richmond, Evan Rutckyj and Eric Wood) part of Canada’s silver medal winning squad at the 2019 Pan Am Games in Lima, Peru.

Also named to the roster is veteran catcher Kellin Deglan along with infielder Jesse Hodges who were both part of Canada’s Pan Am gold medal winning squad in 2015, while Daniel Pinero and Jacob Robson also bring international experience at the junior and senior levels.

“We have a lot of experience on this roster, players that are familiar with international baseball and know what tournament baseball is all about,” said Ernie Whitt. “Our team realizes what’s at stake at this event so we’re highly motivated to compete for ourselves, our teammates and most of all, for Canada.”

The national team last competed internationally in 2019 at the WBSC Premier12 in Korea earning a win over Cuba before falling to host Korea and Australia in opening round play.

“It’s been a long time since our players have played with a Canadian uniform on so we’re really looking forward to getting back on the field as a group and the intense competition that international baseball provides.”

All international baseball events were either cancelled or postponed in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Players named to the roster who’ve competed internationally as part of Baseball Canada’s Junior National Team program in the past include Ben Onyshko, JD Osborne, Josue Peley and Travis Seabrooke while pitchers Trevor Brigden and Brendan McGuigan will be representing Canada for the first time in international play.

Canada will compete in Group B and face Colombia on May 31st before taking on Cuba on June 1st and Venezuela on June 2nd.

Group A consists of host USA along with the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and Puerto Rico with the top two countries in each group advancing to the Super Round.

Teams will play two Super Round games with head-to-head contests from the opening round counting towards the Super Round standings.

The team with the best Super Round record will be declared the winner and become the fifth National Team to advance to the baseball tournament of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, joining already qualified nations host Japan, South Korea, Mexico and Israel.

Canada will hold a brief training camp beginning May 25th where they will play the first of two contests with Team USA at Ballpark of the Palm Beaches before traveling to Holman Stadium in Vero Beach for the second match-up on May 26th.

Canada will then face the Ft. Lauderdale Stars on May 27th before holding team practices on the days leading up to the opening game against Colombia on May 31st.

Pitchers 

Andrew Albers – North Battleford, SK
John Axford – Port Dover, ON
Trevor Brigden – North York, ON
Ryan Kellogg – Whitby, ON
Chris Leroux – Mississauga, ON
Scott Mathieson – Aldergrove, BC
Will McAffer – North Vancouver, BC
Brendan McGuigan – Austin, TX
Dustin Molleken – Regina, SK
Ben Onyshko – Winnipeg, MB
Scott Richmond – Vancouver, BC
Evan Rutckyj – Windsor, ON
Travis Seabrooke – Peterborough, ON

Catchers 

Kellin Deglan – Langley, BC
JD Osborne – Whitby, ON

Infielders 

Wes Darvill – Richmond, BC
Jesse Hodges – Victoria, BC
Jonathan Malo – Joliette, QC
Josue Peley – Montréal, QC
Daniel Pinero – Toronto, ON
Eric Wood – Oshawa, ON

Outfielders 

Michael Crouse – Port Moody, BC
Tyson Gillies – Vancouver, BC
Connor Panas – Etobicoke, ON
Jacob Robson – Windsor, ON

Baseball Canada Championships

Chris Balison elected as Baseball Canada President

Published

on

OTTAWA – Kamloops, British Columbia’s Chris Balison was elected Baseball Canada President last night at a Special General Meeting of the federation’s board of directors and executive committee.

Balison replaces now former Baseball Canada President Jason Dickson who’s held the role since 2016 until becoming Baseball Canada CEO last August.

“I’d like to congratulate Chris on the honour of becoming Baseball Canada President,” said Dickson. “I’ve had the chance to work with Chris in recent years and look forward to continuing that working relationship with the shared vision of the growth and development on baseball in Canada.”

Balison became president of Baseball BC in 2020 where he also assumed a spot on Baseball Canada’s Board of Directors. He is now the 12th president in Baseball Canada’s 58-year history dating back to 1964.

Amateur baseball has been a big part of Balison’s life who spends his working days as a Crown Prosecutor. He became president of Kamloops Minor Baseball in 2014 helping nearly double the association’s registration numbers, while also ensuring the game is inclusive and accessible by establishing local Challenger Baseball and female baseball programs.

“I thank Jason for his contributions as President and look forward to working with him in his new role as CEO,” said Balison. “He’s left big shoes to fill, but I am excited to lead Baseball Canada in our continued pursuit of excellence and innovation.”

Continue Reading

Baseball Canada

“She was a trailblazer,”: Tributes pour in for Amanda Asay

Published

on

File photo of Prince George Product Amanda Asay suiting up for Canada on the ball diamond (Photo supplied by Baseball Canada)

By Brendan Pawliw

One of the best athletes to ever come out of Prince George has left us far too soon.

Tributes continue to come in for Amanda Asay who passed away during a tragic skiing accident in Nelson on Friday at the age of 33.

She was the longest-serving member of Baseball Canada’s Women’s National Team program, (16 years) most notably as a dominant pitcher and first baseman.

Jim Swanson was the Sports Editor at the Prince George Citizen from 1997-2014 who says Asay’s success on the baseball diamond was something to behold – even at a young age.

“She was a trailblazer way back then when I became aware of her, especially a girl making an all-star baseball team. Obviously, that was an interesting story back then because it didn’t happen very often if at all, and it still doesn’t happen that much even to this day.”

Asay participated in the Women’s National Team Showcase last summer in Trois-Rivières, Québec.

In addition, she was part of national teams that captured five WBSC Women’s Baseball World Cup medals and also played a key role in Canada’s silver medal performance at the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto.

Swanson, a former organizer of the World Baseball Challenge in Prince George, believes Asay was a one-of-a-kind athlete.

“For a lack of a better comparison, maybe the Wayne Gretzky of women’s baseball in Canada. She was consistent, she was hard-working, she was a leader, she was looked up to and was outstanding in terms of her play.”

“When you think of it, there are not many athletes that have come out of a great sports town like Prince George that have made the impact on their sport the way Amanda Asay has. Honestly, she may be the greatest athlete to come out of her specific sport in the city of Prince George.”

Andre Lachance coached Asay at the national level as well as internationally since 2005 and stated one performance still stands out to this day.

“The World Cup in 2016, the semi-finals where we played against Taiwan and she pitched a masterful game to allow us to play for the gold medal against Japan right after, is one of the best performances I saw of Amanda.”

“I like to say she was really curious and when you have curiosity you really want to know more about your opponent, always trying to find an edge or a different way to win.”

Asay joined Team Canada as a wide-eyed 17-year-old in 2005 and Lachance recounted her first trip with the team.

“We went to Cuba for the first time and we were stuck in a hurricane. I would imagine that would have been viewed as a rough start when you start your athletic career with the national team.”

Asay also played hockey and softball for Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island for three seasons (2006-2009) while earning a Bachelor’s in Science.

She continued her studies at UBC where she attained a master’s in science and Ph.D. in forestry while playing two seasons for the Thunderbirds hockey team.

Chicago Cubs prospect and fellow PG baseball product Jared Young has nothing but fond memories when describing Asay.

Young told MyPGNow.com while her on-field resume is second-to-none, it was her willingness to develop the next generation of baseball players that should be remembered most.

“She was always doing it out of the goodness of her heart. I probably worked four or five camps with her and she was there before me and she was thereafter me. It kind of speaks to the way she goes about things and it was really cool to see.”

“That’s what makes this so tough. She did so much to help younger kids and to help everybody. I can’t remember Asay ever saying no to any camp or anything like that.”

“That is what is so truly awful about this.”

In 2019, Asay pitched a complete game for Canada during a women’s World Cup qualifying tournament in Mexico.

The revered multi-sport athlete also suited up for the Northern Penguins of the South Coast Women’s Hockey League that same year – lighting the lamp three times in a two-game series against the Ridge Meadow Moose.

“Amanda was a one-of-a-kind teammate, the type of player and person who you loved to compete with every game,” said Ashley Stephenson who played 14 seasons with Asay on the national team and coached her for two. “Under the circumstances, I cannot put into words how tragic this loss is for everyone who knew Amanda. My thoughts at this time and my heart go out to her family.”

 

Continue Reading

Baseball Canada

Baseball Canada mourns the passing of Amanda Asay

Published

on

OTTAWA – The Baseball Canada family is shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the passing of longtime Women’s National Team member Amanda Asay who succumbed to her injuries following a skiing accident in Nelson, British Columbia.

The Prince George, BC native was 33 years young.

Asay was the longest serving member of the Women’s National Team program having joined the squad in 2005 and recently participated in the Women’s National Team Showcase last summer in Trois-Rivières, Québec.

She was part of national teams that captured five WBSC Women’s Baseball World Cup medals including bronze in 2006, 2012 and 2018 and silver in 2008 and 2016. She was also part of Canada’s historic silver medal performance at the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto – the first time that women’s baseball was included in a major, multi-sport games.

“This is really difficult news for our Women’s National Team program,” said Baseball Canada’s André Lachance who managed Asay on various national teams from 2005-2018. “Amanda was an amazing person who meant a great deal to our program. She was a competitor who possessed all of the characteristics that you look for in a baseball player. She was versatile, intelligent and competitive who rose to the challenge on many occasions.

“Above all, she was a terrific person who will leave a lasting impact on many people, not only with the Women’s National Team program but all of those who were lucky enough to meet her.”

“On behalf Baseball Canada’s Board of Directors and national office, I offer sincerest condolences to Amanda’s loved ones including her parents Loris and George and her brother Brad,” said Baseball Canada President and CEO Jason Dickson. “Her contributions to women’s baseball and our national team will be remembered forever and will serve as inspiration for future generations.”

A talented athlete who also excelled in the classroom, Asay played hockey and softball for Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island for three seasons (2006-2009) while earning a Bachelor’s in Science. She continued her studies at the University of British Columbia where she attained a master’s in science and PhD in forestry while playing two seasons for the Thunderbirds hockey team.

Baseball was her first love however and her talent and hard work caught the eye of Women’s National Team evaluators when she was just 17 years old in 2005. In 2006, playing in her first Women’s Baseball World Cup in Taiwan, Asay earned all-tournament honours at first base and later took home the Women’s National Team Most Valuable Player Award.

She would go on to capture MVP honours again in 2016 but this time it was for her dominance on the mound as she shutdown a powerful Chinese Taipei squad at the Women’s Baseball World Cup in South Korea with a complete game, 2-1 victory to send Canada to the gold medal contest.

Asay was loved by her coaches and teammates alike for her positive attitude and the way in which she went about her business on the field, always being in control and setting an example for others with her play.

“Amanda was a one-of-a-kind teammate, the type of player and person who you loved to compete with every game,” said Ashley Stephenson who played 14 seasons with Asay on the national team and coached her for two. “Under the circumstances, I cannot put into words how tragic this loss is for everyone who knew Amanda. My thoughts at this time and my heart go out to her family.”

“The loss of Amanda is felt in so many places it’s hard to put into words,” added former teammate Nicole Luchanski who also lived and worked with Asay in the forestry profession. “She was a truly exceptional athlete, leader, friend, family member, and forestry professional.

“She improved everything she touched and the loss of such a positive, smart, hardworking, and loyal person is unbearable.”

Continue Reading

Trending