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Weather taking its toll on 17U season

By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express

Oshawa 17U Legionaires coach Ken Babcock says his team “just wants to get back on the field”.

The Elite Baseball League of Ontario (EBLO) squad has only managed to get four games in the books so far, facing seven rainouts throughout the month of May.

“It’s been an enormous struggle. It’s tough to keep our pitchers in a regular rotation,” Babcock says, noting that constantly having reschedule games causes inconveniences not only for coaches and players, but their families as well.

“It’s difficult juggling everything – it’s hard on everyone,” he says.

However, Babcock says a number of his players have been keeping busy by playing with their respective schools.

“Sometimes it can be too much (league play and school play) but it kind of saved the day this year,” he says.

Other players kept busy by trying out for the Ontario Youth Team, which will represent the province at the Canada Summer Games in Winnipeg later this summer.

Catcher Matt Robinson was selected, but Babcock admitted he was disappointed his team doesn’t have more representation on the 40-man roster.

“Ethan Duggan, our slugging first basemen and right fielder – I was surprised he didn’t make it,” Babcock says.

Looking to the season at hand, Babcock says he is very optimistic about his team’s fortunes in 2017.

“Our expectation is to finish in the top three, if not first,” Babcock stated.

On the field, Babcock says the 17U Legionaires are formidable in all aspects of play.

He believes if they hit on all cylinders, “we’ll have a hell of a year”.

Babcock says there are essentially no “weak teams” in the Premier Division this year.

He called the Etobicoke Rangers, who defeated Oshawa 9-1 this past Thursday, “one of the best teams in the league”, while naming Hamilton, Whitby and Brampton as some of the other teams he expects to fight it out for the top spots in the league.

In addition to hosting the first ever EBLO 17U and 18U All-Star Game, Babcock says he expects to hear a decision regarding the Legionaires bid to host this year’s playoffs in August shortly.

The team is scheduled for action tonight at 7:30 p.m. against the Hamilton Cardinals at Bernie Arbor Field.