Originally published in the West Central Crossroads (July 5, 2013)
One of the top tasks on head coach Jeff Amos’s off-season to-do list was to bring in a mix of new young recruits for his Badlands Baseball Academy program.
It looks as though Amos can strike a big check mark next to that item.
Amos finalized recruit work earlier this week, bringing in eight new players to join the Badlands Baseball Academy for 2013-14.
A focus on youth was key in Amos’s recruitment strategy this year as he is bringing in three grade-10 players and five grade-11 players.
“We really wanted to get a bunch of younger kids this year just because we’re losing so many (grade-12 players) at the end of the year,” Amos said. “It’ll be a little bit of a young group, but it should work out well for next year.”
Despite the large group of youngsters headed to the academy this fall, Amos believes the strength of his returning players will help ease the transition for the new recruits.
“It’ll be an adjustment,” Amos said. “It will help them in the fact we have a big group of returning grade 12s that are good ball players, good leaders and kids. They’ll help with the younger kids. But especially for the grade 10s, the first year is a learning year. You do get some opportunities and some playing time but your grade-10 year is to really work and get better so when these guys graduate and move on you can kind of step right in.”
Amos recruited players from Alberta and Saskatchwan, while also stretching his efforts as far east as New Brunswick. For the first time, he was also able to recruit players from Manitoba, bringing in two pitchers from Winnipeg.
Returning left-handed pitcher Rhett Feser knows new recruit Dylan Flasch from time together playing minor baseball and said the incoming grade-11 shortstop/pitcher is excited but nervous.
“I told him it’s nerve-racking,” Feser said. “But it’s one of the best decisions he will make as an athlete.
“When you leave home there’s always going to be nerves. That’s to be expected. It’s my job as a second-year, as one of the leaders, to make everyone comfortable. We’re going to have a really good team next year.”
Flasch, along with the other new recruits will leave home and head to the academy in late August where they will join Feser and the returning players as they settle in for the 2013-14 season.
Badlands Baseball Academy 2013-14 recruits:
Kaeden Doerksen, infield (grade 10 – Edmonton, Alta.)
Dylan Flasch, shortstop/pitcher (Grade 11 – Lloydminster, Alta.)
Shaun Hill, infield/outfield (Grade 10 – High Level, Alta.)
Evan Funk, pitcher (Grade 11 – Winnipeg, Man.)
Riley Martin, catcher/pitcher (Grade 11 – Brooks, Alta.)
Tristin McBain, infield/outfield (Grade 10 – Kindersley, Sask.)
Michael McKay, pitcher (Grade 11 – Miramichi, N.B.)
Braeden Rybak, pitcher (Grade 11 – Winnipeg, Man.)
[IMAGE COURTESY BADLANDS BASEBALL ACADEMY]