They’re still a ways off from their first game, but prospects for the Northern Elite Osprey are looking good.
That’s according to Peter Haynes, president of the program. The organisation held skill assessment and player development clinics last fall to gauge interest and talent for baseball players aged 15 and under (15U).
“When you’re starting a new program, there’s a bit of a sort of white space where you’re just not sure ‘is this team going to be able to compete when we push them against better levels of competition’,” says Haynes. “After getting elite training for five weeks, it told us everything that we needed to know, that they’re going to be able to step up and be competitive.”
Tryouts start in the fall of 2022, with the first team hopefully hitting the diamonds of the Elite Baseball League of Ontario (EBLO) in 2023.
Now that they’ve confirmed player interest, Haynes says they’re looking for coaches and other volunteers.
“You’ve got a lot of people that understand baseball, maybe played it at a high level or even coached it at a high level, that have ended up in our region,” says Haynes. “We’re quite confident we’ll get coaching applications, but we really wanted to see who was interested in helping out this program. Not just from Muskoka, but from the Orillia area as well as the Midland-Penetang region.”
Those three areas will also make up the playerbase for the Osprey. Haynes says that means talented athletes won’t need to go too far from home to play competitively.
“If we can keep our top talent in our region by offering a program that gives them that level of competition, it’s helping out the community, it’s keeping kids local. It’s reducing the amount of travel they need to do in order to play elite-level sports,” says Haynes. “It’s a model that I think is really appropriate for the smaller communities.”
Haynes says they’ll recruit players born in 2008 and 2009, and will run another set of skill clinics in the coming months.
Go to www.ospreybaseball.ca for more information.