By British Baseball Federation, www.britishbaseball.org
Great Britain Junior National Baseball Team Head Coach Will Lintern and the BBF have announced the roster of 17 players that will represent GB at this summer’s European Junior Championships.
The week-long 10-team tournament will take place from 13-19 July in Ostrava, Czech Republic, where Team GB have been drawn in a pool with the reigning Junior European Champions Italy, as well as Spain, France and Germany.
This will be the first time in 10 years that Great Britain has competed in the European Junior Championships. GB booked their place in the tournament with a silver medal finish at last summer’s European Junior Championship Qualifier in Croatia.
The 2015 GB Juniors have to be one of the most well-prepared national teams that GB has sent to a summer competition.
The past winter included both Academy and National Team practices, and the second year of the High Performance Academy (HPA). The HPA programme, which is funded by Sport England and supported by Major League Baseball, enabled eligible athletes in England to receive greater levels of support during the off-season. A second HPA venue was added, with practices taking place in Worthing and Wembley, and with players who lived farther afield were supported through a distance learning programme.
Efforts by the GB programme and by BSUK (which runs the HPA and Academy) to develop talent have been noticed by others, as two GB players were selected to play on the European All-Star team in the MLB Academies Tournament earlier this year: Jacob Dean, an outfielder/pitcher from Horsham and Johnny Fretheim, a catcher/outfielder from the London Mets.
The Junior National Team has also been honing game instincts by taking part in Year 2 of the Great Britain All-Star Series, where they played both the GB Lions and a UK All-Star Team.
Finally, a training camp will be run in the Czech Republic immediately before the European Junior Championships, with half of the players at the camp and the other group in Kutno, Poland representing the UK in the European Little League Big League Qualifier.
GB’s round-robin schedule at the European Junior Championships will be as follows, with the home team listed first:
Monday 13 July – GB v Germany (5.00 pm)
Tuesday 14 July – France v GB (3.00 pm)
Thursday 16 July – Spain v GB (11.00 am)
Friday 17 July – GB v Italy (5.00 pm)
Semi-finals will be played on 18 July and the final on Sunday 19 July.
GB Head Coach Will Lintern said, “We have a very strong team. This is the one of the most prepared group of young men we have ever had, and their commitment and dedication puts us in a great position to perform well.”
The players selected for GB for the European Junior Championships are:
|Luke Armstrong||P / INF||Cartmel Valley Lions|
|Elliot Berger||IB / P||Zurich Barracudas|
|Conner Brown||C||Herts Baseball Club|
|Dexter Bohn||OF||London Mets|
|Rich Brereton||INF / P||Darien (Conn) High School, USA|
|Carlos Casal||UTIL / P||Herts Baseball Club|
|Rory Chandler||OF||Leicester Blue Sox|
|Jacob Dean||P / OF||Bracknel l/ LYBL Bulldogs|
|Johnny Fretheim||C / INF / P||London Mets / LYBL Bulldogs|
|Eli Hackney-Rose||P / OF||London Mets|
|Laura Hirai||P||London Mets|
|Andrew Lee||IF / OF||London Mets|
|Zack Longboy||P||Herts Baseball Club|
|Fred Mosier||UTIL / P||London Mets|
|Miguel Rodriguez||INF / P||Bracknell / LYBL Bulldogs|
|Matteo Sollecito||P||London Mets|
|Will Zucker||P / INF||Herts Baseball Club|
Head Coach Will Lintern is returning for his fifth year in charge of the Junior National Team.
Also returning are General Manager Phil Edmonds (5th year) and Athletic Trainer Alan Dean (2nd year), and joining the staff for the first time will be Zach Graefser as the pitching coach and Cam McHarg as the outfield and first base coach.
Zach Graefser is currently the pitching coaching for Great Britain Baseball and works with GB teams from Seniors to Cadets. Zach has previously been the Assistant Head Coach at St Louis Community College at Meramec.
Cam McHarg hails from Australia, where he played and coached to a high level. Before arriving in the UK, Cam was the Assistant Coach on the Victoria U18 Baseball Team.