Midget Nationals - Champs Chatter

August 14, 2007

Saskatoon, SK

Champ’s Chatter is a free newsletter printed daily that you can pick up everyday as you enter either ball park. This event features 58 scheduled games involving 12 teams, made up of 193 players and 39 coaches officiated by 14 umpires. Enjoy the following team preview.
LEDUC LANDMARK 747’S – ALBERTA 1 - The nucleus of this team has been together since Mites. They have won 8 consecutive Provincial Gold Medals, 3 Western Canadian Championships Gold Medals, Western Canadian Bronze medal in Midget B and a Bronze medal last year at the Midget Canadians in Prince Albert. Some  players to watch include, National Jr. Team hopeful Corey Jones who pitched very well at last year’s Nationals as a rookie and is also an outstanding hitter. The rest of Leduc’s pitching staff; Jonathan Boyle, Devin Swyripa and Ryan Friedrich not only do a great job on the mound but are amongst the team’s best hitters. According to Coach Jim Jones “We have many unsung heroes because if it does not matter who gets the credit then the whole team gets the credit. One that could be mentioned is Sean Donnan who has been hurt all year but still comes out to practices and games to hang around with the guys. Sean tore ligaments in his leg playing rugby early this year and is just a great team guy and fun to be around.”
LINWOOD CHIEFS - ONTARIO 2Led by Head Coach Don Freeman, the Chiefs are made of local talent, with the core group of players having played together for the last 6 years and are now playing in their last tournament as a Midget. At the OASA Midget Elimination Tournament they were Runners-up behind Napanee. This 20 team tournament served as Ontario’s qualifier to attend the Canadian Championship. The team relies heavily on the arm of Kyle Coles. This year they have had someone different every game step up and lead the way. Outfielder/Designated Player Robbie Martin has had a break out year offensively with many key hits at critical times. Catcher Alex Ehrlich has provided veteran leadership behind the plate and provides the power needed in the middle of the line-up. Brian Culliton at Short Stop along with Brent Freeman at 2nd base has solidified the defense up the middle.
KITIMAT ROCKIES - BC 2 - The Kitimat Rockies placed third at the BC Midget A Boys Provincials behind the winner Sooke Smoke and runner up Cowachin Valley Knights. Some players to watch include: Brodie Marshall, pitcher, a tall lanky right hander who’s Uncle Bruce played for Team Canada and also the Saskatoon Molsons. Short Stop Jessin Potskin is a big hitter, and smooth as silk with the glove. His cousin Evan played for Team Canada. Twin brothers Joe and Geoff Morgan both attended the Team Canada training camp along with Jessin. Geoff is the leadoff hitter who leads the team in average and hit two homeruns at Provincials .Joe plays solid defense and can hit with power. Ryan Campbell played for Port Alberni at last year’s Nationals, and is a thrower with a good stick. Kitimat’s unsung hero is first baseman Stephen Levesque, who is a big guy that is very dangerous when the bat heats up.
NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR - Newfoundland and Labrador did not take part in the Nationals last year. Players to watch include: Catcher Craig Edmunds - as one of the true leaders on the team, he has a calming effect on the infield when he is behind the plate. Pitcher/shortstop Mike Noftall - when he is not pitching Mike will be making big plays at shortstop and coming up with big hits to give the team a lift. Pitcher Johnny O’Reilly - A hard hitting lefty that will give them a lot of valuable innings on the mound. Outfield - Kyle Ezekiel - He is a constant threat whenever he is at the plate. The team’s unsung heroes include: Utility Infielder - Derek Stone: His defensive presence and speed are what makes him an important part of the team. Utility Scott Myers - Scott may be a small guy, but what he lacks in size, he makes up for in heart and determination. He can play multiple positions and his work ethic is second to none on the team. Catcher/First Base Geoff Heffernan - Geoff does the little things that help teams win ball games and is also quite capable of getting a clutch hit when called upon. Pitcher Andrew Murphy - He is considered the ultimate team player as whether he is playing or not, there is always a smile on his face.
SASKATCHEWAN CHIEFS – DEFENDING CHAMPION-Although they are a relatively young team the Chiefs return eight players from last year’s National Championship winning squad. In spite of an injury to the Top Player at last year’s nationals – Dustin Keshane, the Chiefs were able to finish a close second at the Softball Sask Midget A Provincials. They will again be very strong up the middle with returning players like: Dustin Keshane on the mound, Catcher Alfred Bear, Short Stop Terrell Walker and last years All-Star Second Baseman Denis Iron.
MIKE OAKES WELDING SELECTS - SASKATCHEWAN - The Selects made up of mostly first year players placed third at Saskatchewan’s Midget A Boys Provincials. Although no players have been to Nationals before many have competed at the Western Canadian Championships including: Brian Evanochko, KennyCelstino, Steven Loitz, Kyle Laird and Jesse Osika who won back to back gold medals with the Saskatoon Phantoms at Bantam Westerns. They will rely on veteran leadership from 3rd year pitcher Tyson Cleghorn.
CALGARY ROCKIES - ALBERTA 2 - The Rockies return to the Nationals relatively in tact, after finishing in ninth place in 2006. This year the Rockies placed second behind Leduc in the four team Alberta Midget A Boys Provincial Championships. The team is made up of mostly second year players and features seven players who attended the Junior Men’s National Team Camp: Robbie Mclean – OF, Chris Oklodbdzija – 2B, SS, Cole Elliot -1B, OF, Jordan McSwain – 2B, SS,OF, Lucas Scollard – OF as well as pitchers Colby Gervais and Evan Normand.
CHEPSTOW COLTS - ONTARIO 3 - The Chepstow Colts placed third at the elimination tournament in Owen Sound, earning the right to represent Ontario. On their way to the third place finish they beat: Fullarton, Owen Sound, Kitchener and Brantford while losing only to Linwood and Napanee. They later placed third at the Midget A Provincials bowing out to Linwood and Newmarket. Chepstow will be led by a trio of hurlers: Mark Kelly - who has won three OASA Provincial Championships in his career, Nolan Kreis a pick up from the Owen Sound Selects and Dustin Veenhoof who hasrecorded two no hitters in his pitching career. Another key player will be catcher Jake Albrecht who has won two Provincials Championships and was named team MVP twice at the 2007 Midget eliminations.
QUEBEC- Team Quebec is made up of players from 10 different communities. They return eleven players from the group that finished tenth at last year’s Nationals. For six players, it will be their first national championship. Quebec will be led by Mathieu Roy who was a member of Team Canada in 2005 and participated at the World Junior Championship in P.E.I. He will be joined on Quebec’s team by his younger brother Jonathon who also pitches. Joining these two on the mound will be: Guillaume Boucher, Frédérick Couchesne Carignan,and Jonathan Prévost
SOOKE SMOKE – BC 1 - Sooke is a hotbed of boys fastball in British Columbia. The Sooke Royals placed eighth at last year’s Midget Nationals and their Bantam team represented BC placed second at  the Westerns last week. Sooke Smoke is the 2007 BC Midget A Provincial Champions. They will feature 3 players who attended the Junior Men’s National Team Camp in Saskatoon: catcher Kyle Cowick, shortstop Darcy Waluska and pitcher Scott Lieph. Another player to watch is short stop Ryan Haldane who hit .500 and was a member of the All -Star Team at last year’s Nationals
NAPANEE EXPRESS – ONTARIO 1 - The Napanee Express competes in the Loughborough Men's Fastball League currently standing in 6th place with a 9-12 record. The team was successful at the Ontario Elimination Championship finishing with a 5-0 record. Pitcher Luke Leahy won the Barry Ellerbeck Memorial Trophy as the Top Pitcher. Chris Brown does all the catching and is a leader at the plate. Kyle Lloyd handles the hot corner and bats over .400. Power hitters Ryan Wagar and Nick Brooks have been centrepieces of this group since junior mite age. Rookies Jackson Ryan, Matt Hanewich and Ryan Mills make strong contributions to this team which has eleven returning players from last year's 4th place team at the nationals in Prince Albert.

SASKATOON ASPEN SELECTS – HOST - The Selects are the Saskatchewan Midget A Provincial Champions. With only four third year players, they may be short on Nationals experience, but every player has played in at least one Western Canadian Championship. They will rely on strong pitching especially from hurlers, Travis Dauvin and Devon McCullough who both attended the National Jr. team tryout camp in Saskatoon. At the plate, they will rely on a balanced attack with threats throughout the line-up. Defensively the Selects will look for great things from center fielder David Young, who has great range and Steven Kessler, who will patrol both corners of the infield.         

For the Midget National in the news go to

 To see a great article on Travis Dauvin Aspen Selects Pitcher and to to get a great article on The Saskatchewan Chiefs – Defending Midget Boys National Champion



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