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Summer Collegiate

NorthPaws Coaches Learn Along With Players



KAMLOOPS, BC—One of the main purposes of the West Coast League is to develop. For the second year Kamloops NorthPaws franchise, they have taken the 2023 season as a learning experience in every sense.

Not only have the players on this year’s roster learned the ups and downs of summertime baseball, but so too have the coaching staff.

For Keith Francis, Jose Bautista and Fernie Lorea, this season has had more valleys than peaks as they languish in the lower depths of the WCL North Division.

Not to look for excuses, but the coaching staff was ‘behind the eight ball’ before the start of the campaign.  Very few of the players recruited to play for the NorthPaws this season were familiar to the three coaches.   Francis took over the head coaching job March 31st, just weeks before the start of the season.

“As the season has progressed, I have learned so much about what it takes to compete at a successful level,” he says.  “We didn’t get enough pitching for this level. For those who we were expecting to produce offensively have struggled.  Add to that, some of the players who were supposed to be here didn’t show up due to injuries. They couldn’t help that.  Those who did come here tried to the best of their ability.”

Francis put the players through three days of training before the season started.  “There are whole lot of 4 o clock hitters (time for batting practice), but there are very few 7 o clock hitters.  We found that out this year.”

He and the coaching staff tried different methods to kick start the players in batting practice while at the same time, keeping a positive attitude.  “I try to be a turtle,” Francis says.  “Coming out of my shell every day as it is a new day.  In baseball, you have a chance to win every day.  That is one philosophy the players have come to accept.”

The NorthPaws did have a number of returnees from their inaugural season.  Francis praised infielder Tommy Green and pitcher Tyrelle Chadwick for their efforts.  “Tommy was a leader both on the field and in the dugout.  Chadwick led by example when he was on the mound. “

“We had some younger players who tried to step up despite their inexperience.”   Francis pointed to Cooper Neville (Glendale, AZ) and Nathan Grey as two players who have tried to make the most of their opportunity here.  “Cooper has been unbelievable and consistently our best player. He has been positive every night.  Nathan struggled offensively but as a pitcher, his skills have really come a long this year.”

Jose Bautista came back to Kamloops this season after being with the NorthPaws on their inaugural run.  He says the key difference between the two years has been the pitching.  “Pitching is key in this league. Last season we had a lot of players who had control of their pitches and were in the right way.  This year, the talent level wasn’t as deep.  A few guys were doing pretty well but overall, it was tough.”

Bautista felt many of the pitchers on this year’s club were behind developmentally for the calibre of the West Coast League.  “It is a big challenge for them to try and compete.”

During a short season, Bautista tries to build a relationship quickly.  “We try to focus in on one or two fundamentals.” He admits he had to accelerate the learning process.

“With the age of the players here, I have concentrated on getting the pitchers to believe in themselves,’ he says. “Most players get it quickly.  I just get them to focus on strikes. “

He points to the development of Tyrelle Chadwick, Hayden Walker and Christian Spitz as highlights.  “ They improved and did a good job when they were out there.”

The pitching coach also credited the development of New Zealander MacLain Roberts as well. ‘Coming from a country where there isn’t much baseball. He has been able to handle himself when he got the chance.”

Bautista feels one of the biggest challenges for himself was to have the players focus on the ‘job ‘aspect of baseball rather than them focusing on the ‘social’ aspect of summer baseball.

He agrees with Francis that patience must be a strong suit during the trials and tribulations of this season.  “I have to have patience—I have eight kids,” he laughs.  Adding that his pitching staff become his surrogate children during the summer.

Baustista coached 22 seasons in professional baseball.  He has experienced less than ideal seasons.  “The difference is in the pros, you have a longer season so there is always hope to turn it around.  Here, time is so short.”

Fernie Lorea is the third member of the NorthPaws coaching staff.  Just a year removed from playing university baseball himself, he was an assistant coach at New Mexico State before coming to Kamloops.  He believes the team has bought into ‘learn from all experiences’ philosophy.  “You need to love to learn. You lose –you learn. You win—you learn. No matter what it is a learning experience.”

Lorea believes the biggest thing he will take away from the 2023 campaign is the be patient and see how everything plays out before you jump on things.  He says it is easier said than done at times.

“What I have said to the players in the dugout is to put it (losses) behind you.  This is a new set up, a new game, new everything.  If there isn’t someone to say that to them (the players), they could lose hope. If that happens in baseball, you are just defeated”.

Lorea praised the leadership displayed by his former summer ball teammate Green. “Being able to see his leadership style, many of the guys took what he offered to heart.”

Lorea’s big takeaway from the year?  “Just how everything was so hard this year. Not in a bad way but something I could grasp and learn from. “

Francis on what he has learned this year. “ What I have learned the most is how the roster should be put together.  I have learned from the other teams on what it takes to succeed.  The league is very competitive. “

Message for NorthPaws fans?  “Hang in there. I think this has a real future here.  It was a less than successful season but the fans have stuck with us.  We will get the right players here next year and be successful.”

Bautista has a message for fans as well.  “They have been very supportive. I hope they will continue to do that. We will be better and the results will be better moving forward.”

Francis and and Lorea will head to Pima Community College in Arizona at the conclusion of the West Coast League season. Bautista will return home to the Dominican Republic.


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Summer Collegiate

Victoria HarbourCats – Two key returnees among three Canadians signed for 2024



Green (above), Hall and former Canadian junior team star Chee-Aloy join Cats

September 20, 2023

VICTORIA, B.C. — The reloading of the 2023 North Division champion Victoria HarbourCats has started — not surprisingly, given the team’s history of finding local and Canadian talent — with three players who have maple leaf passports.

Returning infielders Brandon Green of the Victoria Golden Tide and Tyrus Hall of Bossier Parrish JC are joined by prized Illinois recruit Cameron Chee-Aloy of Toronto as the HarbourCats, who have posted just one sub-.500 record since 2014 and have made the playoffs in five of the last six seasons, get ready for the 2024 campaign.

Hall, primarily a shortstop, is a Victoria product who came through the Eagles program, while Green, who can play any infield position, is in his third year with the Golden Tide, hailing from Olds, Alberta. Both played with the HarbourCats in 2023, part of the team that set a WCL record with 25 home wins in 27 home regular season games — 27-2 counting playoffs.

HarbourCats infielder Ty Hall will return to the HarbourCats in 2024 (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

“Ty Hall has tremendous potential and a pro-level arm, with blazing speed — and we saw so much improvement with him under WCL coach of the year Todd Haney,” said Jim Swanson of the HarbourCats. “He will get better yet in college and being back with us next summer. And Brandon, he was one of the great stories of our season, unceremoniously dumped before the season by a summer team in another league in Alberta and given a chance to stay in Victoria at the WCL level, and all he did was earn the trust of Todd and the staff. He had the summer of his life, and he’s not done.”

Green became the first product of the third year Golden Tide program to have a notable impact on the WCL club, part of the mandate of the CCBC entry.

In 24 games, Green had two doubles, two home runs and drove in 10 runs, batting .222 and earning stretches of time at second base, with just one error. Hall got into 26 games, his speed of great value off the bench, and hit .250 with 13 stolen bases — caught just once. Hall was a featured part of a league record 150 stolen bases as a team.

Chee-Aloy (pictured right), a product of the Ontario Terriers, is best described as a plus-speed outfielder who plays the game hard, getting the most out of his 6-0/180 pound frame. The right-handed hitter with a right fielder’s arm had two stints with Team Canada, where he was teammates with Hall.

“We are exited to add Cameron to the 2024 team,” said Head Coach Todd Haney. “His speed will be an asset both offensively and defensively.”

The HarbourCats 2024 schedule in anticipated to be released in late October or early November 2023.  Stay tuned to our website and social media channels for news on that once it becomes available.

Season tickets are now on sale and can now be renewed for the 2024 season of HarbourCats baseball!  Lock in and renew your existing seats, or purchase new seats by October 31, 2023 to guarantee Early Bird Pricing at the 2023 rates:

  • General Admission – $375 ($385 after October 31)
  • Premium Reserved (Sections 6-9 and 11-12) – $475 ($495 after October 31)
  • Grandstand Reserved (Section 10 Rows E and up) – $525 ($550 after October 31)
  • Campbell Real Estate Club Seats (Section 10 Rows A-D) – $675 ($700 after October 31)
  • Diamond Club Field Level – $750 (WAIT LIST – CALL FOR AVAILABILITY) ($775 after October 31)

Season tickets offer the best per-game value per seat and come with the following benefits:

  • Includes all regular season WCL league home games, and all pre-season and exhibition games
  • Season ticket holders get first right of refusal to purchase tickets for other special events (eg. concerts)
  • Season-ticket holders do not pay additional Fireworks Game pricing
  • Service fees and all taxes included in above prices

Please call the office at 778-265-0327 or e-mail to renew, or to purchase new seats.

You can also stop into the office to take care of this at 101-1814 Vancouver Street.  We are open in the off-season Tuesday – Friday from 10AM to 5PM.

Cats merchandise is also on sale now at the office at The Cat Shop, or online at


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Summer Collegiate

2023 Fan Experience Survey – Kamloops NorthPaws



Photo by: Allen Douglas

The Kamloops NorthPaws wanted to thank our fans for another great season at Norbrock Stadium – THANK YOU ‘PAWS FANS!!!

The organization is looking to fans to share their experiences in order to make improvements for 2024. Fans who choose to include their email will be entered into a draw for a 2024 10-game flex plan, the winner will be contacted on October 6, 2023. All anonymous users will not be entered into the draw. The NorthPaws thank you for your reviews and support of our team, we look forward to improving our operations and welcoming you back to the ballpark in 2024!

You can complete the form below:


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Summer Collegiate

Top player in 2023 returns for third season as a NightOwl



Marsh the first NightOwls’ signing for 2024 WCL season

An original NightOwl is coming back for a third season at historic Serauxmen Stadium.
Infielder Aaron Marsh of the UBC Thunderbirds, who shared the 2023 player of the year award with keystone partner Elijah Ickes, will be the key offensive piece that Head Coach Greg Frady will build his lineup around in the summer of 2024.
The Nanaimo product, a former Pirate, has been the picture of consistency for the NightOwls for the team’s first two seasons in the West Coast League. In 2022, Marsh batted .309 and was among team leaders with 38 hits and 20 runs driven in, and followed that up in 2023 with 39 more hits, 24 RBIs, and batting .287 while playing both second and third. He hit two home runs both seasons.

“Aaron is a tough out, gives the team gritty at-bats and is so reliable on defence,” said Jim Swanson, GM of the NightOwls. “He brings so many intangibles to UBC and to the NightOwls, is a leader and you can tell he loves to play the game, and loves to play in front of our great crowds in Nanaimo, in front of people who watched him grow up in our city. He’s the ideal player to have as our first signing for the 2024 season.”

A left-handed hitter with extra-base power, a valuable asset with the exciting fence configuration at Serauxmen Stadium, the 5-10/185 Marsh has played 73 games as a NightOwl, so will be looking to become the first player to play in 100 games for Nanaimo’s young WCL franchise.
“Recruiting is very much underway, between myself and the coaching staff, looking to build a team that can get us to the playoffs and be the first Canadian team to win the WCL title,” said Swanson. “Our 2023 team played everyone hard, one game below .500 — and known for being scrappy and playing the game the right way, with the right approach of effort and sportsmanship. We are building future pro players here, we are also building young men who will be successful in whatever they advance to in life. Aaron is definitely one of those people.”
Season tickets are now on sale for the 2024 campaign — renewals and new fans, the best seats at the park available for as low as $400 for the season (roughly $12.50 per seat per game). Included in season tickets are gratis playoff tickets, with the NightOwls in the hunt for a post-season spot until the final week in both of the team’s initial seasons.
“If you haven’t yet made it to a game — you’re missing out on a great spot and a special energy that only Serauxmen creates,” said Swanson.
For information on season tickets, email
Team merchandise is also in hot demand, find the shop site at for a variety of offerings from hats to hoodies to shirts and miscellaneous items.


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