Landon Currie (from left)

Landon Currie (from left)

Locals hitting baseball hotspot

A trio of Vernon baseball teens is heading into the baseball hotbed of the world for the Latin American Baseball Classic

A trio of Vernon baseball teens from different teams are heading into the baseball hotbed of the world for the Latin American Baseball Classic.

Landon Currie, Jacob Holland and Chase Batchelor are off to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, which has cranked out baseball studs such as Pedro Martínez, Felipe Alou and Rafael Soriano.

Currie and Holland both attended the tourney last year.

“Last year it went really good,” said Currie. “We went in thinking we were going to get killed and we finished fourth.”

The 10-team tournament has existed for 32 years with teams from the Dominican, the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Last year was the first year they accepted a Canadian team.

The Canadian team is comprised of players from B.C. and Alberta.

Currie is really looking forward to the tournament following a less than stellar season with the Canadians in his first midget AAA season.

“I found the wood bats to be a big adjustment. This is a good way to finish up the season,” said the centre fielder, pitcher and catcher.

Currie recalls the best part of last year’s trip was getting to play on the Major League affiliated fields after playing two games on the run-down city ones.

His favourite player is also from Santo Domingo in David Ortiz.

“It’s cool playing in the same area all the MLB guys come from,” said Currie, who played on the U14 team last year and will play for the U16 squad this time.

Currie’s friend, Holland, went to the Dominican as a 15-year-old last summer and played with the U18 team because they needed another catcher. This time around, he will suit up with Currie on the U16 team.

Holland experienced a pretty big culture shock last summer.

“It was so different than what we have here. We take a lot of things for granted,” said Holland, whose favourite player is also a catcher, Yadier Molina. “It was humbling seeing young kids playing baseball with a stick and rocks.”

Playing for the West Kelowna D-Backs, Holland’s highlight of the season was crushing a few triples and hosing attempted base stealers.

He knows a bit about the business of the game too. He knows that Dominican players can be signed to a professional contract once they turn 16, so he is looking forward to playing against potential professional ball players.

“It’s just great to play against guys in another part of the world,” said Holland.

The trio takes off on Tuesday, and after a few connecting flights and 10 hours in the air, teams will only have one practice together before the fun starts.

They will play four round robin games with the top two teams in each division advancing to the semifinals.

Following last year’s tournament, the coaches and organizers of the teams asked around for players to bring on this year’s trip.

Batchelor just finished a strong season with the bantam AAA Canadians and was recommended for the U14 team.

The sting is still lingering for Batchelor who turned 14 six days before they head south.

Batchelor and his Canadians held a 2-0 in the zone final, when they allowed six runs in the last inning, missing a chance to head to provincials.

“It was disappointing for sure, but this trip should make up for it,” said Batchelor.

Batchelor stands 5-foot-8 and his favourite position is catcher, but he enjoys being a utility man.

The LABC will be a good tune up for Batchelor as he is heading to Steinbach, Man. for the Western Canadian Championships with the Okanagan Athletics a week after they return.

Like other players on the team, he is looking forward to seeing where all these MLB players come from, including his favourite player, Jose Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays.

“I am a little nervous going down there. I’ve only travelled to Tacoma (Wash.) for baseball this year,” said Batchelor. “Once we start playing games again, I should be fine.”

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(Hal Brindley - Dreamstime)
Enderby farmers caught between coyotes and bylaw tickets

The Smith family is stuck in a Catch-22 between protecting their livestock and incurring noise complaints

Members of BCEHS Station 343 in Lake Country receive a donation of treats and wine from the community in December. (Contributed)
‘Unexpected and heartwarming’: Okanagan community supports paramedics

Cards, discounts, treats, more given to Lake Country paramedics in sign of support

The North Okanagan Naturalists' Club completed its annual swan and eagle counts Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021. (Claude Rioux - NONC photo)
North Okanagan bird count shows decrease in swans and eagles

Trumpeter swans were down 61 per cent from last year’s count; eagles down 14 per cent

Okanagan Indian Band Chief Byron Louis has served as the band’s chief since his first of six electoral wins in 1991. (File photo)
Okanagan Indian Band seeks nominations for upcoming election

A new OKIB chief and council will be elected March 30, 2021

A male kingfisher at Vernon’s Polson Park. (David Guscott/North Okanagan Naturalists Club)
$78K in conservation grants awarded in the North Okanagan

The RDNO announced four recipients of its 2021 Conservation Fund Friday

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

A COVID-19 exposure has been confirmed at Black Mountain Elementary in Kelowna Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. (Google Image)
Another COVID-19 exposure confirmed at Kelowna school

Interior Health confirmed an exposure at Black Mountain Elementary School Saturday

A 75-year-old aircraft has been languishing in a parking lot on the campus of the University of the Fraser Valley, but will soon be moved to the B.C. Aviation Museum. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Vintage military aircraft moving from Chilliwack to new home at B.C. Aviation Museum

The challenging move to Vancouver Island will be documented by Discovery Channel film crews

A video posted to social media by Chilliwack resident Rob Iezzi shows a teenager getting kicked in the face after being approached by three suspects on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (YouTube/Rob i)
VIDEO: Security cameras capture ‘just one more assault’ near B.C. high school

Third high-school related assault captured by Chilliwack resident’s cameras since beginning of 2021

Skaha Middle School
Arrest made in indecent acts near South Okanagan schools

A 32-year-old man was arrested and released on strict conditions, say police

An individual at Rutland Senior Secondary school has tested positive for COVID-19. (Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)
Individual at Central Okanagan school tests positive for COVID-19

Authorities say the person is self-isolating at home with support from local health teams

FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2017, file photo, Oklahoma State Rep. Justin Humphrey prepares to speak at the State Capitol in Oklahoma City. A mythical, ape-like creature that has captured the imagination of adventurers for decades has now become the target of Rep. Justin Humphrey. Humphrey, a Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season, He says issuing a state hunting license and tag could help boost tourism. (Steve Gooch/The Oklahoman via AP, File)
Oklahoma lawmaker proposes ‘Bigfoot’ hunting season

A Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season

Economic Development and Official Languages Minister Melanie Joly responds to a question in the House of Commons Monday November 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Federal minister touts need for new B.C. economic development agency

Last December’s federal economic update promised a stimulus package of about $100 billion this year

FILE - In this Nov. 20, 2017, file photo, Larry King attends the 45th International Emmy Awards at the New York Hilton, in New York. Former CNN talk show host King has been hospitalized with COVID-19 for more than a week, the news channel reported Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021. CNN reported the 87-year-old King contracted the coronavirus and was undergoing treatment at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP, File)
Larry King, broadcasting giant for half-century, dies at 87

King conducted an estimated 50,000 on-air interviews

Most Read