Sarnia Baseball Club ready for Premier debut

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The Sarnia Summer Boys are set to make their long-awaited debut in the Premier Baseball League of Ontario.

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The Sarnia Summer Boys are set to make their long-awaited debut in the Premier Baseball League of Ontario.

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Sarnia Baseball Club’s 15U and 18U teams are scheduled to play two doubles each this weekend.

“The teams are eager to get started,” club president John Vasey said. “After securing a franchise in the PBLO in the fall of 2019, we have yet to play a game due to COVID-19 restrictions. It has been a long and frustrating experience for everyone involved. “

The Sarnia 15U team will welcome the Oshawa Legionaries from 1 p.m. Saturday at Errol Russell Park and 10 a.m. Sunday at Blackwell Park.

The Sarnia 18U squad will play home and away matches against the London Badgers on Saturday in London and Sunday at 1 p.m. at Errol Russell Park.

Social distancing and other COVID-19 protocols will be in effect at all parks. Outdoor sports facilities can operate at 25% capacity under the current stage of Ontario’s COVID-19 reopening plan.

The Premier Baseball League of Ontario is the oldest premier league in the province.

More than 50 PBLO alumni were selected in the Major League Baseball Draft and more than 500 have gone to college teams in the United States and Canada, according to the league.

The league will offer 15U, 16U and 18U divisions in 2021. It also includes teams from Oakville, Toronto, Ottawa, Sudbury and Tecumseh.

The Sarnia Baseball Club changed its name this season after being known as the Sarnia Braves Minor Baseball Association. Its minor teams do not yet have a new nickname.

However, the Sarnia senior baseball team is now known as the Brigade after dropping its nickname the Braves.

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Brigade prepares to defend the crown

The Brigade is due to start its season on Sunday July 11 in Kincardine with a double program against the Cubs.

No reception date has been announced.

They have added four new players – pitcher Tyler Whitbread, first baseman Mitch Bigras, infielder Nick George and pitcher Jack Symington – and are close to making deals with two more, the head coach James Grant.

A meeting is scheduled for Sunday to set dates for an Ontario Championship tournament. It will not be the traditional playoff tournament since the Canadian championships have been canceled.

“It would still be something for us to have meaningful play this summer,” Grant said.

The Southwest Senior Baseball League isn’t playing this season, so the brigade will need to set their own schedule to prepare for the provincial championship.

The Brigade won the 2019 Ontario AAA Championship and want to try another title.

“Our team is really excited to have a chance to play meaningful baseball,” Grant said. “The core has been together since 2019 and we have some really good players coming.”

Whitbread is a Camlachie native who played at Indiana State University. He went 9-2 with a 3.23 ERA as a senior in 2019.

Bigras, of Sarnia, had 51 RBIs in 146 games in four seasons at Boston College from 2015 to 2018. His father, Jim, coaches Sarnia 18U.

George, from Sarnia, just completed his first year NAIA at William Penn University.

Symington leaves the Sarnia Baseball Club. Her father, Tim, led Sarnia to a senior Ontario championship in 1994.

Ten veterans – Mike Damchuk, Julian Service, Justin Randall, Wade Babula, Vince Caschera, Nick Baljeu, Jameson Hart, Keegan Brandon, Alex McLean and McKenzie Maxwell – are back this season.

“They are all ready to go,” Grant said. “It should make good baseball. We have been practicing since phase 1 of the reopening. “

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