It was a memorable year for the Great Lake Canadians despite several obstacles. The covid-shortened 2020 season was followed up with an offseason interrupted by lockdowns, which delayed the start of the 2021 season; however, although challenges, there were many noteworthy moments from the calendar year.
There's a lot to unpack between an exciting draft, a pair of free agent signings, and a successful season for teams throughout the organization, which culminated in multiple CPBL championships.
The 2021 MLB Draft saw a record of four GLC players selected over the three-day event. A single-season high, despite it only being 20-rounds.
Calvin Ziegler, who joined GLC in the fall of 2019, developed significantly over his time in the organization. The Heidelberg, Ont. native is now the highest selected GLC player after his name was called with the 46th pick in the second round by the New York Mets. He's currently their 10th ranked prospect, per Baseball America.
Following Ziegler's selection, Eric Cerantola was chosen by the Kansas City Royals in the fifth round. The 6-foot-5 right-hander was previously drafted out of high school but opted to attend Mississippi State University.
Jordan Marks, who graduated from GLC in 2017, dealt in four seasons at the University of South Carolina Upstate. After a stellar senior campaign, he's now the single-season strikeout and all-time win leader in program history. The Detroit Tigers took Marks in the eighth round.
The Atlanta Braves drafted left-hander Adam Shoemaker with their first pick on Day 3 in the 11th round. The Cambridge, Ont. native's section capped off a memorable draft for the organization.
Director of Baseball Operations, Chris Robinson, noted, "those were a special couple days for these players and our program. On our end, the best part may have been that these were four players, who were historically some of our hardest workers. Being able to celebrate these great kids that came from great families was special for us.
In addition to the successful draft, alumni Matt Warkentin and Max Wright signed with MLB clubs.
A 2015 high school grad, Warkentin had lots of success at Xavier University and in the Northwoods League, which continued in a short stint in Independent Ball. In early June, Warkentin signed with the Chicago Cubs. In his first taste of pro ball, Warkentin hit five home runs with a .716 OPS split between two levels.
Meanwhile, after a phenomenal year at Indiana State, Max Wright signed with the San Francisco Giants post-draft. The left-handed hitter and Wyoming, Ont. native hit 16 home runs with a 1.063 OPS during his senior year, helping the Sycamores to the regionals.
During the regular season, the organization, as a whole, went a combined 113-58 between seven teams, finishing in either first or second in the standings at each level.
"A couple of our on field highlights this year were winning two CPBL championships at the 15U and 17U levels. Although we don't use wins and losses to evaluate our development, it is good for the players and coaches to win and benefit from the hard work they put in throughout the year," stated Robinson.
The 17u's handled the playoffs with ease, taking home the trophy behind a resilient outing from Evan Morrison. The bats were clicking on all cylinders throughout the playoff weekend, putting up substantial totals in the run column.
Meanwhile, the 15u's, who won 23 games during the regular season, played hard-fought games during the playoffs, taking home the title in a nail-biting finale.
With the new year only a couple of weeks away, there's a lot to look forward to, particularly a complete off-season in the facility.
"Our hopes are to get back to a normal development model where we can really help players maximize their ability. With the lack of continuity to the off-seasons over the past two years, heading towards this off-season, our entire staff is looking forward to working with all of our teams at CFS as we have in the past and being able to add some new components as well to further help our development process," stated Robinson.