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Baseball Saskatchewan

Warman athlete signs with college in Washington state

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By Terry Pugh
Clark’s Crossing Gazette – 

Brodie Guenther of Warman, Saskatchewan will be playing college baseball in Seattle, Washington, USA next year.

It’s one more step along the road to his goal of a career in professional major-league baseball.

Guenther, a Grade 12 student at Bishop James Mahoney High School in Saskatoon, earned the Baseball Saskatchewan Minor Player of the Year award in 2018. Currently enrolled in the Going Yard Baseball Academy in Saskatoon, he signed last week with the Shoreline Community College Dolphins.

“My goal is to go pro as soon as possible,” said Guenther in an interview February 8. “I chose Shoreline College for three reasons. One is the two-year undergraduate degree program at the college offers players the opportunity to be drafted after both years. Another reason is the excellent coaching staff. Dave Snell is head coach, and Dave’s son is Blake Snell, the 2018 American League Cy Young Award winning pitcher. Blake comes to train at Lakeshore and having access to guys with that kind of skill and knowledge would be amazing.

“The third reason is they use wooden bats. If you can put up the numbers with a wooden bat, it means a lot more than if you’re using an aluminum bat.”

Guenther said the Going Yard Baseball academy training has helped him hone his skills, not only as a pitcher but also as a shortstop and hitter.

“Right now, I’m working hard on my fielding and hitting,” he said. “I want to be as well-rounded a player as possible. Playing ball every day at the Gordie Howe indoor facility all winter really helps take you to the next level.”

Guenther said the 40 players enrolled at the academy are divided into five groups of eight players, with each group practising different drills in separate areas to comply with COVID-19 health regulations.

The athletes attend school daily, and then hit the training facility for an intense three hours from 3:30 to 6:30 Monday through Thursday. On Friday, though, that 3:30 to 6:30 block of time is devoted to academics, with the academy supplying tutors to help the students with their studies.

“It makes a difference,” said Guenther. “After taking classes and then playing ball, you’re pretty worn out at the end of the day, so it’s hard to be motivated to do homework. Having the tutors there on Fridays allows us to keep up with the schoolwork.”

Keeping the grades up is critical, said Guenther. “When you sign with a college as a student athlete – you’re a student first and an athlete second. If you don’t keep up your average, you’re off the team.

“School isn’t that easy for me, but by working hard I can keep my grades up.”

Guenther said he’s benefited from one-on-one coaching at the Going Yard academy from Andrew Albers, the North Battleford pitcher who had major league stints with Minnesota, Toronto and Seattle. That’s one of the reasons he’s keen to meet Blake Snell.

“These guys have been where I want to go,” said Guenther. “They know what it takes to make it in the big league.”

Guenther is a gifted two-sport athlete. He played goaltender for the Sask Valley Vipers and Warman AA Wildcats, and was drafted by the Saskatoon Blades in 2018. Despite knowing Guenther was likely to focus on baseball, the Blades still drafted him because they recognized his talent.

“Being a goalie helps in some ways, especially playing shortstop,” said Guenther. “There’s a lot of side-to-side movement and quick reactions needed for both positions.”

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Baseball Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan’s Pothakos leads Greece into A pool of European Baseball Championship

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Saskatoon’s Rye Pothakos earned his first tournament championship as manager of the Greek National Baseball team.

Pame Elladara!!!!! The Greeks did it! Hellas defeated host Lithuania 8-4 in the championship game to win the WBSC Utena Qualifier to punch their ticket back into Europe’s top level of baseball, the European Championship A Pool. Russia, Ukraine and Slovakia also punched their tickets in the other 3 B-Pool qualifiers.

Hellas went 3-1 on the week defeated Poland and Romania by a combined scored of 21-0. Entering Friday’s game vs Lithuania, Hellas and Lithuania had already clinched a spot in Saturday’s championship game, so both teams entered it playing for home field advantage in the title game. Lithuania scored 6 unearned runs off 5 Greek errors to win 9-7 Friday night. Saturday Greece was in control all game eventually holding an 8-0 lead in the 7th inning before securing the win 8-4. Dimitri Kourtis was the winning pitcher with 6 shutout innings along with 8 strikeouts. John Kountis earned the save after pitching the final 3 innings allowing 1 earned run.

Greece claimed all 3 post-tournament honors as Thomas Roulis (Best Hitter), Dimitri Kourtis (MVP) and John Kountis (Best Pitcher) all took home their respective awards.

Hellas is now preparing for the European Championship in Torino, Italy Sept 12-19 2021. Hellas is in Group A with host Italy, Austria and Belgium (see below). This is the first time Greece has been in A pool since 2016 Honkball Championship in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Since 2016, Hellas has played in four different tournaments (Belgrade, Dublin, Bulgaria, Utena) fighting their way back into Europe’s top level, a tremendous honor. Rye Pothakos earned his first tournament championship as manager.

For all information, please follow us on Twitter and Instagram @GreekBaseball.

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Baseball Saskatchewan

Youth Baseball Set to begin again May 30 in Saskatchewan

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The Government of Saskatchewan has announced that public health measures around outdoor sporting activities, including baseball, will be eased as part of Step One of the Re-Opening Roadmap, set to commence on Sunday, May 30, 2021. Outdoor sports, originally included in Step Two of the Re-Opening Roadmap, will now be added to Step One. Easing of measures for indoor sports remains in Step Two of the Re-Opening Roadmap.

The adjustment to the Re-Opening Roadmap is being made recognizing the lowered risk of transmission in outdoor settings along with the successful uptake in Saskatchewan’s COVID-19 vaccination effort in reducing the transmission of the virus. Beginning May 30, 2021, competition and game play for outdoor team sports can proceed with a number of requirements, such as:

• Participants may not compete if they are feeling unwell.
• Players and coaches should be encouraged to screen for COVID-19 symptoms prior to arriving to practice and play, using the self-assessment tool on the government’s website.
• No interprovincial travel. Teams competing in regional interprovincial leagues need to contact the Business Response Team prior to beginning play.
• Individual and protective equipment should not be shared. When helmets and bats or other equipment are shared, cleaning and disinfecting must occur between each use.
• Commonly touched equipment used for game play (e.g. game ball, football) is routinely replaced or disinfected during the course of practice or play.
• Coaches, officials, umpires, referees and players who are not on the field are not required to wear masks outdoors under the public health order. However, masks may be worn if they are more comfortable with that layer of protection.
• No shaking hands, high-fives, etc.
• Hand sanitizer approved by Health Canada (DIN or NPN) or soap and water handwashing stations should be available for participants and spectators.
• No sharing of water bottles.
• Public washrooms, when available, are cleaned and disinfected regularly, and soap and water or hand sanitizer is available.
• Contact information of the coaches, officials and players should be recorded by the home team and maintained in order to assist with contact tracing for 30 days in the case of a confirmed case of COVID-19.

Unlike recent announcements in British Columbia, spectators (up to 150) will be allowed at the games, as long as they are following social distancing protocols with their “bubbles”, with masks optional for all.

Baseball Saskatchewan Executive Director Mike Ramage, in a recent interview with CKRM radio, said if the delay lasted any longer the results could have been catastrophic, especially when it came to their rural members.

“The fact that they opened it up to start this Sunday, (May 30) probably saved Baseball Sask about 60 percent of our membership base,” Ramage said. “Last year, once the long delay was there until July 1, we lost about 60 percent of the rural base, based on the fact that they are usually done by the end of June,” he added.

Ramage said those leagues are done around Canada Day to give the opportunity for family time during the summer months.

“Once July 1 hits they’re gone, they don’t play anymore ball because they’re gone to the cabin with their parents, and on other holidays, most minor ball is done by that point.” “So with the fact that we can start playing games on May 30, it gives these kids at least a month to practice play games, we’re over the moon about that,” Ramage added.

Full details on the Baseball Sask re-opening protocols may be downloaded from their web page HERE.

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Baseball Saskatchewan

Baseball Saskatchewan hopes for earlier return to play in 2021

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Regina, SK – After successfully playing games in 2020 under strict protocols, Baseball Saskatchewan is hoping to do the same in 2021, but is hoping for an earlier return to play date this year.

In a recent interview with Global News, Baseball Sask’s executive director, Mike Ramage said he is looking for the green light to start playing ball sooner than the third week of June, which is the timeframe that the province has set for allowing sports to return in full swing.

Ramage cites the safe and successful return to play that was executed in 2020, as a main reason for their hope to begin earlier in 2021.  “We’ve shown that we can get the games played. We can do it in a safe manner with sanitization and social distancing as we’re a non-contact sport. It’s a little easier that way for us.”

“We’ve got the roadmap from last year anyway, so we know how to do this again this year. We just hope we can kind of get it going a little sooner than we did last year.”

The province has lumped all sports in to that end of June start date, but with baseball being an outdoor sport, with no contact, or very little contact, and one that has social distancing easily built in, Baseball Sask is hoping too that those factors will allow for an earlier start date.

In addition to their successful and safe play in 2020, Baseball Sask has prepared a comprehensive set of return to play guidelines for the 2021 season and has that readily available on their website for all organizations and individuals to download and follow.

 

 

 

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