Successful start for Team BLE
While spring training is going on in Florida and Arizona and the Major League season just around the corner, the Big League Experience Baseball camp is in Phoenix, Arizona for their own version of spring training. Head coach Marty Lehn along with former major leaguers Bob Didier, Albie Lopez and Okotoks Dawgs coach Allen Cox have been in Phoenix for the past week with their own version of Spring training. The guys arrived on the Monday and started the week with a 3 day camp at the Gene Autry complex (Old California Angels spring training site) prior to participating in the USSSA NIT Super Regional tournament. The tournament is comprised of 266 teams from across America in 6 different age divisions.
Special Events: Not only are the boys getting a chance to hone their skills up on the baseball field for the upcoming season, but they also had the opportunity for some special events. On Thursday morning prior to practice Senior Advisor to the Toronto Blue Jays Mel Didier came by the field to talk to the guys about the little things that get’s guys to the next level. That afternoon the guys had a chance to catch a Major League game between the Seattle Mariners and Chicago Cubs in which fellow Canadian and MLB Hall of Famer Ferguson Jenkins took some time to get the guys motivated for their upcoming games. Pretty cool stuff………..
How have the guys done thus far:
Exhibition game; On the Wednesday the guys played and exhibition game vs. the Arizona elite team in which Team BLE used a number of pitchers, combined offensively for 15 hits and solid defense to beat the Arizona Elite team 9 – 2. Coach Lehn commented that “It was a great opportunity for us as coaches to see the guys in a game situation and put together our rotation for the tournament and looked at our best fit for a batting order”.
Game 1: Team BLE took on the BYBC Bulldogs out of Bolder Colorado. Although Team BLE ended up with an 11 – 1 victory, the final score was not indicative of the game. It was a tight 2 – 1 ball game until the fourth inning when the BLE bats came alive and busted it open. Left handed pitcher Jake DeCooman from the North Shore Jr. Twins started on the bump and shut down the Bulldogs bats for the first 3 innings by striking out 6 of their hitters and leaving the game with a 1 – 0 lead. Keaton Mandryk of the Okanagan A’s followed Decooman and continued shutting down the bats by filling the strike zone up and striking out 3. Offensively we missed opportunities early in the game but eventually the bats came alive as the guys finished with 14 hits in the game with former Hastings Little League standout and now North Shore Twins product Steven Moretto leading the way with 3 hits and Okotoks Dawgs Josh Dobberthien with 2 triples and 4 RBI’s.
Game 2: The BLE offensively started early and often from the get go in their second game vs. The Sandlot Baseball club out of Riverdale, California to record a 15 – 8 victory. The BLE started strong with two runs in the top of the first, however the Sandlot crew answered with 4 runs in the 2nd inning to take a 4 -2 lead going into the 3rd. The lead would soon be regained by the BLE as they scored a converted touchdown to take a 9 – 4 lead and never looked back. Burnaby’s Cole (Chuey) Dalla-Zanna took the victory on the hill and also added two hits offensively. Lamcomb, Alberta’s and Okotoks Dawg product Rylan Zens came in to finish it off with two solid innings on the mound.
Today the guys will battle another club from the State of Colorado with the chance to go 3 – 0 and secure a spot in the playoff round starting tomorrow. Josh Dobberstien gets the ball for today game with Coquitlam’s Jake Calvin is behind the dish.