A trio of Vernon baseball stars and a local coach will represent Zone 2 at the B.C. Summer Games, July 17-20, in Nanaimo.
“I’m very excited about the atmosphere and being around a higher level of baseball,” said pitcher Keaton Mandryk.
There will be eight zones competing for gold in Nanaimo. The Games feature up to 3,900 athletes, coaches and officials from across B.C. Competition will take place in 19 sports.
“Our goal is to get to the medal rounds. Last time we missed out because of a tie,” said Zone 2 coach Charles Law.
This will be Law’s third stint coaching the Zone team, he was a part of the 2008 and 2012 squads. His best finish came in 2012 when the Thompson-Okanagan placed fifth.
Catcher, first baseman, third baseman Colton Schaper-Kotter, 13, is the youngest player on the team. If he had to choose his favourite position, it would be first base.
“I really like picking balls in the dirt. It is a good position for me to play,” said Schaper-Kotter.
“I think it is just because he doesn’t have to run around a whole lot,” joked Law.
Schaper-Kotter will begin Grade 9 next fall at VSS and is a Texas Rangers fan. He is having a pretty good year by his standards, hitting near .300 with plenty of doubles like his idol, Vladimir Guerrero.
Caden Doyle is fresh off a scorching season with the Vernon Tim Hortons Bantam AA Canadians, a team that went 16-4.
Doyle patrolled centrefield for the C’s and can’t wait for the Games.
“I’ve never played for a team like this, it’s gonna be great,” said Doyle.
Doyle is a huge Toronto Blue Jays fan and his favourite player is Edwin Encarnacion.
“Doyle’s calling card is his speed. He is going to play a big part on this team,” said Law.
With Doyle and Schaper-Kotter taking care of the sticks, Mandryk will look to mow down the opposition. He struck out a career-high 10 batters this spring and will look to fan more hitters at the Games.
“I like my change-up and curve ball to get guys out,” said Mandryk.
Mandryk played for the Okanagan Athletics Bantam team this spring.
The 14-year-old right-hander just finished Grade 9 at Fulton and is really excited for the Games.
“Keaton is going to be one of our top guys out in Nanaimo. He’s got a good arm and we are going to lean on him to get guys out,” said Law.
“This is going to be a great tournament. I hope these kids do well and have fun. This is a great opportunity for them for exposure to the next level,” said Law.
This tournament is a chance for players to get scouted for midget AAA baseball, the B.C. Premier Baseball League and the Canada Summer Games.