Baseball Canada goes with experienced roster for Olympic qualifier

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·2 min read
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Baseball Canada will turn to an experienced roster as it tries to secure an Olympic berth at the upcoming Baseball Americas Qualifier in Florida.

Former big-league players Andrew Albers, John Axford, Chris Leroux, Scott Mathieson, Dustin Molleken and Scott Richmond are among the 25 players who will represent Canada in Palm Beach and St. Lucie, Fla., at the May 31-June 5 competition.

The winner of the eight-team tournament will qualify for the Tokyo Games this summer. The second- and third-place finishers will compete at a last-chance qualifier for the sixth and final entry at the Olympics.

“We have a lot of experience on this roster, players that are familiar with international baseball and know what tournament baseball is all about,” said manager Ernie Whitt.

"Our team realizes what’s at stake at this event so we’re highly motivated to compete for ourselves, our teammates and most of all, for Canada."

Richmond and Leroux are also among the 12 players on the team who won silver at the 2019 Pan Am Games in Lima, Peru.

Canada will compete in Group B and face Colombia on Monday. Canada will face Cuba on Tuesday and Venezuela on Wednesday.

The host Americans are in Group A with the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and Puerto Rico. The top two countries in each group will advance to the Super Round.

Teams will play two Super Round games with head-to-head contests from the opening round counting toward the Super Round standings. The team with the best Super Round record will be declared the winner.

Japan, South Korea, Mexico and Israel have already secured berths in the Tokyo field.

Whitt will be joined by veteran coaches Denis Boucher, Tim Leiper, Paul Quantrill and national teams director Greg Hamilton at the tournament.

Whitt managed the Canadian team at the 2004 Athens Olympics and all four World Baseball Classic events. He has also guided the squad to four Pan Am Games medals, including two gold.

The national team last competed internationally in 2019 at the WBSC Premier12 in South Korea. Canada beat Cuba and lost to the host team and Australia in first-round play.

“It’s been a long time since our players have played with a Canadian uniform on so we’re really looking forward to getting back on the field as a group and the intense competition that international baseball provides," Whitt said.

All international baseball events were either cancelled or postponed in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 27, 2021.

The Canadian Press

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting