By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express
Fresh off a visit to the U.S., 16U Oshawa Legionaires coach Jamie May believes his team is beginning to hit its stride.
The team, currently siting with a 5-4 record, recently participated in a tournament in Cincinnati, OH and May says while the tournament didn’t yield an impressive win-loss record, it was a good experience for the players and an opportunity for ‘team bonding’.
May says his players are starting to realize their offensive potential as of late.
“Our hitting wasn’t very good at all (to start the season), but in the past seven or eight games, we’ve had some great hitting against very good pitching,” he says.
In their first league game after the Ohio tournament, the Legionaires lit up the Brampton Royals’ pitching for 16 runs in the team’s most lopsided victory of the year so far.
“The offense seems to have turned a corner,” May says, explaining the team’s defense and pitching have improved recently as well.
A number of 16U Legionaires will be busy in other endeavours this month.
Pitcher/infielder Carter Arbuthnot, catcher/pitcher/outfielder Davis McMillan and pitcher/infielder Ryan Laird played in a ‘top prospects’ game at the University of Toronto on July 5, while on July 10 and 11, Arbuthont, pitcher/infielder Dawson Sarginson and pitcher/outfielder Jason Kauffeldt were vying for a spot with the 2017 Ontario Youth Team, which will represent the province at the Canada Games in Winnipeg later this summer.
Results from the tryouts were unavailable as of The Express’ press time, but May says it is a significant achievement for the trio just to be selected for the 40-man roster as they were competing against players a year older.
“Their best chance for making the team will likely be next year,” May says.
Looking ahead to the rest of the regular season, there are currently two undefeated teams in the Elite Baseball League of Ontario’s 16U division, Etobicoke (14-0-1) and Vaughan (7-0-2)
“Etobicoke is the team to beat, we’ve played against them once and had a good game, losing 4-2. We’ve also only played Vaughan once as well,” May says, adding both teams will be top competitors down the stretch.
“Third place is pretty close to where I thought we would be and I still think we are as good or better than Vaughan,” he said. “As long as we stay near second or third, we will have a good spot for the playoffs.”
The Legionaires will get an opportunity to show how they stack up against Vaughan in their next game, this Thursday (July 13) on the road at Vaughan Grove.
May says he has been pleased with the play of new additions to the roster, pitcher/catcher/infielder Jake Lockyear and pitcher/infielder Bryce Manley.
“They’ve probably been our two best players…you just can’t take them out of the lineup,” May says, adding that the duo has integrated themselves into the team seamlessly.
“I didn’t know how it would translate, but both those guys are better than I expected them to be,” he says.