Rick Leroux has a batting cage at his house in the BX. No word if the drapes in his master bedroom are Blue Jay or Yankee colours.
Leroux, 58, thinks baseball 24/7 and has no plans of retiring from the game anytime soon.
The former Kamloops Sandpiper and Enderby Legionnaire all-star has been coaching for decades and desparately needs a few good young men to fill the Vernon Midget AAA Canadians’ roster for this season.
The B.C. league (for 16-18-year-olds) has teams in Nanaimo, Victoria, Duncan, Kelowna and all over the Lower Mainland. They play a 44-game interlocking schedule.
“We’ve got 10 players signed and I’d like to carry 13 if I can,” said Leroux, who carries a Level 3 coaching card. “We’re trying to draw some players out of the woodwork, but we need them in a hurry. The deadline to confirm our team to the league is Jan. 31.”
The Canadians were highly competitive last year under head coach Ken Liefke, finishing 27-17 and losing 1-0 to Burnaby in the playoff semifinal.
Leroux will be assisted by Chris Welman, a Level 2 coach who was a college catcher with Hinton State Cougars, and Brendan Burgus, a former player with Team Saskatchewan who played last season for the senior Kelowna Jays. Both coaches live in Vernon.
“Us, as coaches, have just as much experience as the coaches down the road (in Kelowna) and want to keep our kids here. As soon as (high school) exams are over, the kids will be coming to use my indoor batting cage. The season starts at the end of April and including provincials, we’ll play 50 games. As added incentive this year, B.C. Minor is sending the winning team to a regional tournament in Rhode Island, all-expenses paid.”
Leroux said the C’s will practice twice a week, often playing an exhibition game on one of the practice nights.
Corey Anderson, Landon Currie and Ethan Huizinga represent the senior players with the Canadians. Second-year juniors are Caden Doyle, Jarod Leroux and Dylan Ecklund. Returning after a year off are Dawson Chase and Cadon Bracken. Also joining the C’s is senior Kadyn Thomas, who played for the Junior Premier Kelowna Jays last year.
Players interested in playing are urged to call Leroux at 250-558-1488.