Baseball Canada invited 31 players to the U-18 National Team annual Spring Training. Camp opened on Thursday, 7 March, at the Walter Fuller Complex in St. Petersburg, Florida (USA) and includes an eight-game schedule against minor leag teams of Major League Baseball (MLB) Baltimore Orioles, Detroit Tigers, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays.
The highlight of the week will come on the final day, Saturday 23 March. The U-18 Canada National Team will travel to Dunedin to take on a split-squad version of the only Canadian MLB team: the Toronto Blue Jays. The game, that will happen for the eighth straight year, has become a celebration of the partnership between the Toronto Blue Jays and Baseball Canada. Fans in Canada will be able to listen to the game across the Sportsnet Radio Network.
The majority (28 out of 31) of the players invited attended the Fall Instructional League Camp last October and eight players (outfielder Dasan Brown; catcher Owen Diodati; pitchers Antoine Jean, Theo Millas, Connor O’Halloran, Keegan Pulford Thorpe; infielders TJ Schofield-Sam, Cesar Valero) were on Canada’s third-place team at the U-18 Pan American Championship 2018. The roster features only three absolute beginners: infielder Elijah Hammill, catcher Ryan Leitch and pitcher Simon Lusignan.
Greg Hamilton will take his familiar post as Head Coach. Hall of Famer and two-time World Series Champion Roberto Alomar will join the staff as a guest coach. Former Team Canada alumni and pro players Chris Begg, TJ Burton, Pete Orr and Rene Tosoni are also part of the staff as well as Robert Fatal, who coach for the programme for most of the 2018 season.
The Spring Training is the first of four training Camps that will lead Canada to the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup, to be played in Gijang City, Korea, from 30 August to 8 September 2019.