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Great Lake Canadians 2017/2018 Try-Outs Announced

The Great Lake Canadians Baseball Club has announced their try-outs for the upcoming 2017/2018 Season.  All Try-Outs will be held at Dorchester Field of Dreams (3245 Hamilton Road. Dorchester, Ontario).  Try-out dates and times are as follows:

Tuesday August 8th – 6PM (Players born in 2000-2003)

Wednesday September 6th – 6PM (Players born in 2004)

Registration Cost for 2018 GLC Clubs:
14U – $4900
15U – $6750
16U – $8250
17U & 18U – $8750

*All costs include GST*

 

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Adam Hall selected in the 2nd Round by the Baltimore Orioles

By Adam Hall

It all started in Bermuda. 

That’s where I was born, and where I was raised until I turned 12. I played every sport I could, and I knew they came easier to me than other people, and that if I worked hard, I could hope to be the best. I also knew that if I stayed on the island, I would probably max out my athletic years in track and field. 

But I wanted to play baseball. 

It wasn’t popular in Bermuda. I played for the Diamondbacks, and was lucky to play with kids older than I was so that I could get better. There wasn’t a ton of competition around, but it was a sport where you could always be working on something, even if you had no one else to play with. I gravitated to it because I could always be doing something to try and get better, and you can see improvements without even playing games. 

My ceiling was up to me, and that has always been something I’ve enjoyed about it. 

There haven’t ever been any professional baseball players from Bermuda before. I’ll be the first, when I officially take the field in Sarasota, Florida with the Gulf Coast League Orioles. It’s a cool fact, but I don’t feel like I overcame any odds to get here. 

I’ve been fortunate to be on the path I took. 

First, my parents, Helen and Tyler, let me move to Canada before I was even a teenager. We had visited every summer, coming to see my grandparents, and I got a glimpse of baseball in London, Ontario with the Badgers. My coaches now, who saw me then, said that I stood out, and that was probably what helped convince my mom and dad to let me leave. They mentioned it could be a possibility in the future, and I talked them into it that year, when I was 12. 

That was the start of the next step. 

I never really thought much about moving away from home, because I just wanted to go and play. I wasn’t too concerned about leaving my parents. I lived with Ken Frohwerk and Karen Stone, whose son Zach also played for the Badgers, and didn’t find it difficult to be in another country, although my mom might say something different. But I was playing baseball, so I was happy.

The next summer, a new program was starting in London. Adam Stern, who played in the big leagues with the Red Sox, had built a baseball facility in London when he retired, and with a few other pro guys from the area retiring from playing, they started the Great Lake Canadians, an elite program comparable to a travel-ball team in the States. 

I went from playing 10 games a year with maybe 10 practices in Bermuda, to 60 games a season in London. During the off-season, I was probably going to Centrefield Sports, Sterny’s facility, three to five times a week. 

That was when I started hearing about the draft, and what it might be like. My GLC coaches Sterny, Chris Robinson or ‘Robbie’, Jamie Romak and Brock Kjeldgaard all told me about their experiences and how different it was for all of them. Jamie went out of the same high school I did, A.B. Lucas Secondary, Brock from Indian Hills Community College, and Sterny and Robbie both went out of university, the University of Nebraska and the University of Illinois, so I got to hear their views and opinions on it. They told me what to expect either way, and tried to help me make sure that I would someday make the decision I wanted to make, not what other people wanted me to do, or thought was best for me. 

Being with the Canadians helped me get to Team Canada, where I’ve had some of my best moments on the field. The junior national team has been my favourite thing to do, and I’m lucky I have been able to do it for three years. I couldn’t have been more excited when I first found out I made the team. It was a goal I had set for myself, and something I knew I wanted to do. I’m as much Canadian as I am Bermudian and it meant a lot to make the team. 

The trips with Team Canada are the best, just because of how close you get with all the guys, and I’m pretty fortunate because I’ve been able to travel all over with them. I’ll keep some of the best moments with the team, but I’ve been to Australia, Japan, Dominican, Cuba, and throughout the States, and the whole experience has really been the best thing that I’ve done so far. It does so much for Canadian baseball players, and it did so much for me. 

Even though I don’t know right now what the plan will be, I do hope I get one more trip with the junior team this summer, to the world championships on home soil in Thunder Bay, Ontario. I’d like to be able to support the program and give back a little bit of what it gave to me, and I’m optimistic about it. I’ve heard really good things about the crowds in Thunder Bay, and having that many fans behind you as you’re representing your country, just thinking about it gives me chills. 

When I started with the national team, that was when things really kicked into gear leading up to this summer. I began to look at college options, falling in love with Texas A & M and committing to the Aggies, and really started to get a feel for what the draft process was going to be like. 

My parents and I learned a lot. Eventually they both moved to London and we got to be together again, and a lot of our life was about baseball. We were pretty unaware of the whole process of what would happen leading up to this year’s draft, and the whole extent of everything there is involved with it. There’s definitely more than you can expect, even if someone explains it all to you ahead of time. It’s a lot more when you go through it yourself. 

We had a lot of meetings and phone calls, being introduced to agents and college recruiters and area scouts and cross checkers and scouting directors, having people visit our home, ask questions, answer questions, go to showcases, go to big league stadiums, more meetings, more phone calls. Each one of us learned through it all. 

I learned that I can’t control everything that happens. I went into it all with the mentality to just keep playing my game and not worry about trying to impress scouts. Obviously, I didn’t know if that was how you should approach it, before getting into that situation, but that’s what I did learn, to just try to go out and play my game and be myself. 

The process did not go the way I thought it would. 

Last year, the year before my draft year, when I was in Grade 11, I performed pretty well in the spring and throughout that summer on the showcase circuit. I was having fun and playing well. 

Then this spring, I had some difficulties getting my game back and getting ready. 

This was my year, and I expected it to keep going into this year. That was a little bit of a problem for me. I was frustrated, of course. Anytime you’re not doing what you want to be able to be doing, you’re going to get frustrated. But I had to try to manage that, so that it was healthy instead of trying to do too much and pushing myself too hard. 

Hopefully it has helped me. Now I have a better idea of how to get through a slump when it’s an important time and I might be pressing a little bit. I was able to find myself again, and if it ever happens again (hopefully it doesn’t), I will know I can get through it. 

In the days leading up to the draft, there weren’t a ton of phone calls, definitely less than I might have expected. There were probably five teams that I talked to within a couple days of the draft. I had a bunch of workouts pop up right before, but I expected that. I went to Kansas City to work out for the Royals, and then to Florida for the Astros and Padres, and then there was one in Milwaukee for the Brewers. 

The night of the first two rounds of the draft, every pick took a really long time. I was with my mom and dad, and the family who took me in when I moved to London at their house. We were all watching it, not really distracting ourselves with anything else, and I was getting restless. The time between selections was painful. 

When the second round started, with the first pick, the Minnesota Twins took my Team Canada teammate Landon Leach. That was a temporary distraction because I was really happy for him. He’s worked hard and improved a lot, and it was definitely something he deserved. 

About 10 seconds before the 60th pick of the night and of the draft, my agent Matt Colleran called me and told me the Baltimore Orioles were going to take me, and my name would be the next one to be called. Matt told me what they were offering and asked if I was good with it, and that was the extent of the call before I got to hear my name. 

I was pretty happy, to say the least. 

So were my parents, friends, and everyone around me. 

Right afterward, Chris Reitsma called to congratulate me. Reits is a national cross checker with the Orioles now, but when I met him, he was coaching the junior national team. Other than playing for Team Canada while he was a pitching coach, I had never talked to the Orioles before the draft. He was my only interaction with the organization at all. 

It was a little bit surprising, but I knew that was something to expect. That’s what had happened to Sterny when he got drafted. I knew it was a possibility. And it didn’t really matter who it was in that moment, it was exciting. 

My next interaction with the Orioles came when the draft was all over, and they made arrangements for me to come to Baltimore to put pen to paper and make it official. I graduated high school a little earlier than my peers, and I was about to leave London become a professional baseball player. 

I flew to Maryland with my mom and dad, and the first night we got to walk around the city a little bit. It was my first time in Baltimore, and it was definitely interesting. It’s right on a bay, so I guess you could say it has some similarities to Bermuda. 

We got to go to Orioles Park at Camden Yards the next day. First, I had to go through all of their medical examinations, so they could make sure they were getting a healthy player before signing over their money and committing to me, but then we got to go to the field. They gave us a tour, and we got to watch the team take batting practice, and we stayed for a game against the Cleveland Indians. 

The ballpark was a lot different than I expected, but most are. I really liked that out in right field, on Eutaw Street, they have a marker for every home run ball that’s been hit in a game on the ground in the street, with the distance and the name of the guy who hit it. 

It would have to be a pretty deep opposite-field shot for me to get there, but maybe someday. 

We met quite a few guys in the Orioles’ front office, and it was good to get to talk to them, because they’re people I’ll be dealing with in the future now. It was with them that we made it official. 

The actual signing of the paperwork wasn’t very ceremonious. They took a picture with me and my parents and the contract after I had gone through it all, but you just go through and sign what needs to be signed, and it’s all done with less importance than you might think. 

But the Baltimore Orioles made me a millionaire. I don’t have the money yet, so technically I’m not, but I signed with them for $1.3 million, and I wouldn’t even say it if it wasn’t posted everywhere for anyone to see. I don’t think I’m going to do anything with it right away. A lot of guys I know bought cars with their bonuses, but I won’t need one down in Sarasota, so I’m not going to get a car right away. 

I would like to do something for my parents, but they won’t want me to do that. I’m going to have to try to figure that out. 

But now it’s official. 

I’ve been fortunate with what I’ve been able to do, being able to move from Bermuda, being able to play with the Badgers, and then the Great Lake Canadians, and then with the junior team. I don’t think I could have been in a better position from where I’ve been, with my parents and all the support they’ve given me. 

Obviously growing up in Bermuda and playing baseball isn’t the most ideal place to start, and maybe the odds were not necessarily in my favour, but I feel like they’ve been pretty good. 

They worked for me, and here I am, ready to move again. 

 

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Douglas Signs with Garden City

Great Lake Canadians right handed pitcher, Jacob Douglas has signed with Garden City Community College in Garden City, Kansas for this upcoming fall.  Jacob, a member of the GLC 17U team this year will leave the program as statistically, one of the most dominant Great Lake Canadian pitchers in the history of the program.  After dominating the 16U CPBL league last year, this season Jacob currently leads the GLC 17U club in innings pitched, strike-outs and ERA.  His ability to command the zone with three pitches allows Jacob to have the success he has had in the past couple years.

Jacob will join a Broncobusters program that is very familiar with the Great Lake Canadians.  CFS Original, Tyrus Barclay who is coming off a very successful freshman season will show Jacob the way down in Garden City.  A strong Junior College loop with plenty of GLC Alumni, Jacob will have opportunity to compete at a very high level of college baseball in hopes to move on to a solid four year fit after his time at Garden City.

Congratulations to Jacob on finding a great fit to continue his impressive career.

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Sanderson Heads West to UBC

Great Lake Canadian INF Cam Sanderson (Ilderton, Ontario) has committed to the University of British Columbia for fall of 2018.  Sanderson, an original GLC member has been a leader on all  4 GLC teams in his career.  Known for his speed and his outstanding defense, Cam has the tools to step in and contribute early in his college career.  Sanderson impressed UBC staff this past fall with a strong showing at the Tournament 12 hosted by the Toronto Blue Jays.  

Cam will join GLC Alum, and fellow GLC Original, Will Nitransky out in Vancouver in 2018.    Coach Chris Pritchett, former Major Leaguer and Coach Shawn Bowman currently in their second season at UBC lead one of the more impressive development staffs in all of college baseball.  The T-Birds had 2 top 10 round draft picks last year in the 2016 MLB Amateur Players Draft.  

Congratulations to Cam and his family on finding a great fit both athletically and academically!

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Five GLC to Join Team Canada

When the Canadian Junior National Baseball Team (JNT) touches down in St. Petersburg Florida this week, five Great Lake Canadians will be there donning the Maple Leaf.  SS Adam Hall (London, Ontario), OF Lucas Parente (Burlington, Ontario) RHP Jake English (London, Ontario), RHP Eric Cerantola (Oakville, Ontario) and Griffin Hassall (Newmarket, Ontario) will all join the JNT as they begin their annual Spring Training trip this Friday March 23rd.  From the 23rd through April 2nd, Team Canada will play 8 exhibition games against minor league prospects from 7 different Major League Baseball Organizations (Blue Jays, Rays, Orioles, Tigers, Braves, Red Sox, Phillies).  One of the most exciting opportunities for this young group of players will take place on Saturday March 25th when they will travel to Dunedin to play the Toronto Blue Jays.  This game will be shown live across Canada on Sportnet starting at 1:07PM.  In the past, Team Canada faced Blue Jays superstars, Aaron Sanchez, R.A. Dickey and Russell Martin.  All JNT Spring Training games can be listened to live by visiting RadioStPete.com.  For more information on Baseball Canada’s Junior National team visit www.baseball.ca

 

 

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Garner Spoljaric Signs at Heartland CC

GLC RHP Garner Spoljaric has signed his letter of intent to attend Heartland CC in Illinois for the fall of 2017.  He will join teammate and fellow GLC RHP Jonathan Burkhart as a member of the Hawks.  Spoljaric, an original member of the Great Lake Canadians has made some exciting progress on the mound over the past year.  Impressive outings this past fall in front of the Heartland coaching staff, on one of the college trips, generated the significant interest that ultimately lead to this great opportunity.  

Heartland CC, located in Normal Illinois, is home to one of the nicest Junior College facilities in the midwest and the program holds a strong reputation of sending their guys off to 4 year schools.  Garner will have every chance to be successful for the Hawks and the way he has progressed over the last year will look to step in and be a guy that logs a lot of innings for them.

Congrats to Garner and family on his commitment.  

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Whalen joins GLC Alumni at Dodge City

GLC RHP Tyler Whalen will follow teammates Jacob English and Eric Lindsay to Dodge City CC this upcoming fall.  Whalen, a Hamilton, Ontario native and a product of Hamilton Minor Baseball has committed to the Conqs for the fall of 2017.  Whalen has been a workhorse for the GLC in the past two years and brings a compete level to the game that is unmatched.  This attribute, among many others, will lead him to success at the college level according to GLC 17U Manager Jeff Helps, “Ty’s a bulldog.  When he got the ball he gave our team a chance to win.  Even on the days he didn’t have his best stuff, he found a way to give us a chance.”

No stranger to GLC players, Dodge City CC will add their fourth GLC in three years.  GLC Alumni, Dalton Harvey paved the way for English, Lindsay and now Whalen.  A perennial powerhouse in the strong Kansas Jayhawk Junior College Conference, the Conqs give their players the opportunity to compete in one of the more competitive junior college loops in the country while exposing them to many 4 year schools.

Congratulations to Tyler and his family on the first of many accomplishments!

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Wilson Turning Heads Early in College Career

By Alexis Brudnicki

Heading into his first season of Mid-American Conference play with the Bowling Green Falcons, former Great Lake Canadians outfielder Jake Wilson has already added a couple of collegiate accolades to his baseball resume. 

As conference previews continue to roll out to begin the year, the 18-year-old centre fielder from New Lowell, Ont., was named the MAC pre-season freshman of the year by both Baseball America and D1 Baseball after opting to fulfill his commitment to BGSU after being selected by the Boston Red Sox in the 39th round of last year’s draft. 

“It’s flattering that they’ve noticed me and that some of my hard work has finally paid off and they see that I’m doing alright,” Wilson said. “But for me it doesn’t mean that much right now because I still have to prove myself. I have to prove myself every game and every inning and every pitch that comes by, so I can’t take anything for granted. I still have to go out there and play hard.” 

Understanding that there is still much work to be done, and that there might even be some added pressure with the increased amount of time in the spotlight, Wilson knows that the pre-season honours mean a lot for the people who have helped him to get to where he is now. 

“It’s pretty cool for them,” he said. “It’s nice to see when hard work finally pays off, and you get to see the end result and witness it, it’s just a great feeling. I’m sure my parents and friends and coaches feel the same.” 

Among the six players from the Canadian Premier Baseball League who were drafted during the circuit’s inaugural season last June, Wilson was the only one who chose to head to university. Enjoying his time, the team, and everything the experience has to offer so far, the exercise science major is confident he made the right decision.  

“Going to pro ball was just not a financially feasible option for myself and my family, plus I still have a lot of room to grow,” the 6-foot, 164-pound outfielder said. “I’ve got to get stronger, so the best road for me and my family was definitely going to school. I might as well get some schooling out of the way while I can, and a lot of it’s paid for, which is a bonus.” 

Wilson became the second Great Lake Canadians graduate on the Falcons roster when he headed to Ohio, joining right-handed sophomore hurler Mat Szabo. As confident as the Canadians were when they sent Szabo off, they knew when Wilson headed to BGSU that he would be just as ready for the next step, and are proud of his pre-season recognition. 

“That’s obviously a huge testament to him as a player,” said Adam Stern, Great Lake’s director of player development and manager of the 18U team. “For him to go into a program and be ready to impact that program as a freshman, that’s what every young player wants to do, to walk into a four-year school and be able to at least be in consideration to be an everyday guy. Obviously with Jake and the way he prepares, we knew with the way he finished last year that he was ready to go in there and be a part of that program, and in the end, be a big part of that program.” 

Wilson gives credit right back to the program that he left behind, believing that his coaches and the environment were what helped him to prepare for what he was walking into, and giving him a head start on what he would face in his first year of college.

“When I was with GLC, they really gave me the college vibe when I was playing,” he said. “They’re more like college coaches, and they prepared me for what I should expect when I go away. With them doing that, that definitely put me a little ahead of the other freshmen. Everything they did, I appreciate it so much because it has helped me a lot.” 

So far, Wilson has felt very comfortable with his new squad and his new school. Getting out on the field in a limited capacity before the winter weather hit, he even got a chance to see how he would fare at the collegiate level among the Falcons players, and was happy with the results. 

“In the fall we had intersquad games, and we had the Orange and Brown World Series,” he said. “We split off into two teams and just played each other, and I played pretty well in that. I was the leadoff hitter for my team, playing centre field, and I believe I batted .365 in that with a couple RBI. I felt comfortable playing at the college level…

“It’s a lot of fun here. Classes are going very well and all the guys on the team get along so well. We’re just having a great time playing baseball, working out, and conditioning together.”

With opening weekend just around the corner, and the Falcons facing the Texas A&M Aggies to kick the season off, Wilson is excited to see what his team can do and looking forward to much more of the college experience. 

“I feel really confident about the season,” he said. “The whole team has been putting in a lot of work in the off-season, conditioning and lifting hard, and what these guys have done is just unbelievable. I’ve never witnessed an atmosphere like this. I’m really excited for this season because I feel like we’re going to do very well.” 

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Orenczuk Becomes Newest GLC to Receive Scholarship

GLC OF Alex Orenczuk has committed to Colby CC in Kansas for the fall of 2017.  Orenczuk (London, Ontario) a product of Oakridge Minor Baseball was approached by Colby CC staff after a successful showcase day at the 2016 Centrefield Sports Showcase back in October.  Alex is entering his 2nd full season with the GLC and continues to mature and develop into a very solid college prospect. “Al has come a long way over the past couple of years.  His physical upside has always been exciting, but recently the maturity in his game has allowed for him to really take off” says 17U Manager Jeff Helps.  

Alex joins the Trojans who compete in the West division of the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference (KJCAA).  A conference that is not only highly competitive but also home to several GLC Alumni.  Dalton Harvey (2015), Matt Warkentin (2015), Tyrus Barclay (2016), Eric Lindsay (2016), Jake English (2017), Corben Peters (2017) are all current or future GLC alumni to attend KJCCC programs.  

Congratulations to Alex and his family.  Alex’s commitment marks the 11th GLC member in the 2017 class to receive a scholarship and the 12th in the entire program since November 2016.

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Original GLC Matt Warkentin Commits to Xavier University

Matt Warkentin (Leamington, Ontario) has committed to Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio for the fall of 2017.  Warkentin, a member of the Inaugural Great Lake Canadians is currently attending baseball powerhouse Johnson County CC in Overland Park, Kansas.

Warkentin known not only for his high skill level but also for his hard work and dedication was on many major D1 radars before committing to Xavier.  A professional prospect out of high school, Matt feels that Xavier is a good fit for him both academically and on the baseball field.  

Matt continues to be a great ambassador of the Great Lake Canadians and we look forward to following him this year in Kansas and in the future at Xavier.

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