By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express
The season may have ended early, but Oshawa 17U Legionaires coach Ken Babcock is keeping an optimistic frame of mind.
Earlier this month, the Whitby Chiefs prevented the Legionaires from punching their ticket to the Elite Baseball League of Ontario Premier Division playdowns.
“Our 2017 season is done. We just ran into a hot pitcher,” Babcock says. “We just ended our season a little earlier than we’re used to but that’s baseball. We’ve had a good run for six to seven years.”
Finishing third in an 18U division is something the team can be very proud of, Babcock says.
Despite the early exit, Babcock says the Legionaires accomplished a lot this year.
“There are a lots of positives. We had a number of players who grew and entered into a different level this year,” he says.
Overall the team played nearly 60 games since September and won more often than not.
“We actually have had a better record in the States than in Canada,” Babcock said with a laugh.
At the first-ever EBLO 17U/18U All-Star Game, which Oshawa hosted, the Legionaires had three representatives in centre fielder Keiven Frost, pitcher and first baseman Braden Babcock and first baseman and right fielder Ethan Duggan.
One Legionaire that truly impressed Babcock this year was Stephen Brock.
“This is only his fifth year of playing baseball. He’s an exceptional talent.”
Brock is currently ranked by Prep Baseball Rankings as the seventh best centrefielder in the province, which for Babcock is even more impressive due to his relative inexperience.
However, he is obviously a quick learner.
“He’s going to turn to a lot of heads next year.”