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Catching tips: C’s manager Lavallee tells Whalley Chiefs players how to be pro

  Story courtesy of Tom Zilich: https://www.surreynowleader.com/sports/catching-tips-cs-manager-lavallee-tells-whalley-chiefs-players-how-to-be-pro-7349256 Vancouver Canadians manager Brent Lavallee was in Surrey with some wise words for the teen players of Whalley Chiefs. Two decades ago Lavallee was a catcher on a North Delta Blue Jays team coached by Ari Mellios, now with Whalley’s junior team in the B.C. Premier Baseball League. Post-practice at Whalley Athletic Park…

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Story courtesy of Tom Zilich: https://www.surreynowleader.com/sports/catching-tips-cs-manager-lavallee-tells-whalley-chiefs-players-how-to-be-pro-7349256

Vancouver Canadians manager Brent Lavallee was in Surrey with some wise words for the teen players of Whalley Chiefs.

Two decades ago Lavallee was a catcher on a North Delta Blue Jays team coached by Ari Mellios, now with Whalley’s junior team in the B.C. Premier Baseball League.

Post-practice at Whalley Athletic Park on Monday night (April 22), Lavallee talked to the Chiefs about what it takes to be a pro baseball player, and also about some of the pros he’s encountered on his own path up the ranks.

“I played against a lot of the players on the walls here,” Lavallee said of the ballpark banners that salute former Chiefs including Adam Loewen, Kevin Johnston, Andy Myette and others.

In North Delta, Lavallee was teammates with James “Big Maple” Paxton, now pitching for Los Angeles Dodgers, and saw how hard Paxton worked to get to the MLB.

“He threw 78 miles an hour as a 10th-grader,” Lavallee recalled. “I caught his first bullpen, he didn’t even know the pitch signals. He’d scream at me in his high-pitched voice, ‘curveball!’ — and he throws this terrible curveball. I’m yelling at our pitching coach, ‘Does this kid not know?’ And now that kid is pitching for the Dodgers making 12 mill and went from 78 to 92 (miles-an-hour pitches) in 24 months, not by accident. So if you want it and want to work for it, you’ll get it.”

A North Delta native, Lavallee returned to Vancouver this spring to manage the reigning Northwest League champions for a third season. He’s now a fixture on the top step of the dugout at Rogers Field at Nat Bailey Stadium, and has coached in the Toronto Blue Jays system for five years.

Back in the day, he was a catcher who struggled with aspects of the game.

“I was telling my son the other day that when I played for Ari, I couldn’t throw the ball — my pop time was three seconds, 3.05,” Lavallee told the Chiefs players. “I remember my first practice, I turned around and asked him, ‘Was that good?’ He’s like, ‘Good is about two.’ I was like, ‘Alright, I’m about one second away.’

“But as you guys know,” he added, “tenths of seconds are hard to eliminate as a catcher, or as anything. I got that thing down below two by the time I got out of there. But to do it, I got a bucket of baseballs and I’d go two hours before practice, tape a strike zone up on the chainlink, step it off and just throw into the fence.”

Mellios remembered.

“Yeah, he’d show up to Mackie (ballpark in North Delta) and be there by himself throwing the ball, and then we’d start catching practice soon after that.”

Hard work paid off for Lavallee, named Delta’s Male Amateur Athlete of the Year in 2010 while at LSU Shreveport, a Division 1 NAIA School, where he played and coached for many years.

“I still throw pretty well but none of it’s without effort and detailed work,” he said at the diamond in Whalley. “That’s kind of me, that’s the path here, and who knows, who cares where the path goes from here forward, but just try to be the best you can at this moment and you’re going to end up being successful in whatever way.”

Lavallee answered questions choosing the right path to college, trying out for teams, how to approach baseball program managers (“spelling and grammar in emails is important,” he underlined), reading good books (“You Win in the Locker Room First,” by Mike Smith and Jon Gordon) and recovery methods.

“Catching in college, I did what’s called contrast therapy,” Lavallee recalled. “I’d basically ice the heck out of my shoulders and knees and the second my ice time was up, 20 minutes, I’d have a hot bath and then ask my roommate to get more ice bags ready, then put the ice back on right after I got out of the hot tub or hot bath. I felt great to catch nine or 14 innings the next day. I’m not saying don’t ice but there is science out there that says no (that it’s a ‘masking agent’). We drink a lot of tart cherry juice, with extreme anti-inflammatories and a lot of really good attributes.”

The Chiefs players then heard more advice from Lavallee.

“Get in the weight room and don’t leave, and when you leave, go to the (batting) cage, and after you leave that, go to your kitchen and then go to sleep,” he added. “It’s a full-scale thing. You can work in the cage all you want but if you can’t impact the baseball hard enough, you’re not going to do enough damage to make a college want you. If the swing’s not there, it doesn’t matter how much you squat or bench-press.”

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BC Premier Baseball League

2024 Langley Blaze Invitational Tournament

Share 2024 Langley Blaze Invitational Tournament – Schedule Released May 22, 2024 10:32 AM PDT From langleyblaze.com:   May 22.24- The highly anticipated schedule for the 2024 Langley Blaze Invitational Tournament has been officially released! The tournament, set to take place from June 5-9, promises to bring exciting baseball action to Langley and surrounding communities, featuring…

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2024 Langley Blaze Invitational Tournament – Schedule Released

May 22, 2024

10:32 AM PDT

From langleyblaze.com:

 

May 22.24- The highly anticipated schedule for the 2024 Langley Blaze Invitational Tournament has been officially released! The tournament, set to take place from June 5-9, promises to bring exciting baseball action to Langley and surrounding communities, featuring top-tier teams from across Canada.

This year’s Invitational will see elite baseball teams competing in Langley, Abbotsford, White Rock and Richmond, with games spanning five days of intense competition. Teams from British Columbia, Alberta, and Ontario will showcase their talents, vying for the coveted championship title that will be given out at McLeod Field in Langley on Sunday afternoon June 9.

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KEN HATTON MEMORIAL TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONS

From the Blaze website: This past weekend, the JR Blaze showcased remarkable resilience and skill, capturing the Ken Hatton Memorial Tournament title in a thrilling journey marked by highs, lows, and an ultimate triumph. The tournament kicked off on a challenging note for the Blaze, as they faced a formidable opponent in the Whalley Chiefs.…

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From the Blaze website:

This past weekend, the JR Blaze showcased remarkable resilience and skill, capturing the Ken Hatton Memorial Tournament title in a thrilling journey marked by highs, lows, and an ultimate triumph.

The tournament kicked off on a challenging note for the Blaze, as they faced a formidable opponent in the Whalley Chiefs. Despite a valiant effort, the Blaze fell short, losing 7-3.

In Game 2, the Blaze rebounded, dominating the Victoria Mariners with a decisive 7-0 victory. 

The journey hit another bump in Game 3 against the Mid Island Pirates. Despite putting up a strong fight, the Blaze were edged out 8-5.

Entering the quarterfinals, the JR Blaze were up against the Victoria Eagles. With a place in the semifinals at stake, the Blaze delivered a powerful performance, defeating the Eagles 5-1.

In the semifinals, the Blaze faced the Kamloops Riverdogs 18u, a team 2-3 years older. In a match that tested their mettle, the Blaze emerged victorious with a solid 3-0 win.

The final showdown saw the JR Blaze once again facing the Whalley Chiefs, the team that handed them their initial loss. This time, however, the Blaze were determined to rewrite the script. They stormed the field with an unyielding spirit, leading to a resounding 8-1 victory.

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Canadian Futures Showcase Tryouts Coming to both Langley and UBC!

Share Canadian Futures Showcase Tryouts Coming to both Langley and UBC!   The Canadian Futures Showcase is a national amateur baseball showcase held each September and hosted by the Blue Jays Baseball Academy. The goal is to provide a showcase opportunity for the best amateur baseball players born in Canada, with draft and college eligibility. It acts…

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Canadian Futures Showcase Tryouts Coming to both Langley and UBC!

 

The Canadian Futures Showcase is a national amateur baseball showcase held each September and hosted by the Blue Jays Baseball Academy. The goal is to provide a showcase opportunity for the best amateur baseball players born in Canada, with draft and college eligibility. It acts to centralize the best Canadian baseball players, with the intention of exposing them to as many MLB scouts and college recruiters as possible.

Showcase tryouts are held across Canada from May 14 to July 25 including coming up May 15 in Langley and May 16 at UBC! 

These tryouts help determine the players selected to participate at the showcase. While it is not mandatory that players attend a tryout in order to be selected to a roster, it is the best way to ensure players are fairly and accurately evaluated.

FOR MORE INFO AND TO REGISTER, CLICK HERE: https://tinyurl.com/37cz5bec

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