Powered by Max Banner Ads 

Home


 Powered by Max Banner Ads 

World Baseball 2013

watch-stats_button

2013 – BACK FOR MORE!

The 2013 World Baseball Challenge will be the third edition, and the strongest yet. The five-team tournament will feature tremendous parity with Team Canada, USA, Cuba (Ciego de Avila Tigers from their National Series), the Chinese Taipei National Team, and the Japanese Intercity League champion team JX-Eneos of Yokohama, who defeated Toshiba-Japan (2011 Japan representative) by a score of 7-1 en route to the “Industrial League” title. There are no easy games on the schedule for anyone, and the excitement is building – will USA return to the champions role? Will Cuba repeat? Will Japan or Chinese-Taipei, or the host Canadians, come out on top? Having USA and Cuba in the same tournament is exciting on its own, but Chinese Taipei, Japan and the host Canadians will definitely have something to say about things before the trophy is awarded.

THE HISTORY

The World Baseball Challenge was first held in 2002 in Grand Forks, BC, founded by Mr. Larry Seminoff, the “Father of Senior Baseball” in BC. The 12-team initial tournament included champion Cuba, runner up Seattle Studs, and the Prince George Panago Axemen, who faced Houston, Chicago and San Diego in preliminary play. Mr. Seminoff remains very active in planning and team recruitment for the tournament to this day.

THE MOVE TO PRINCE GEORGE

In 2007, following the completion of Citizen Field in Prince George, plans were announced to hold the World Baseball Challenge in Prince George – giving the central interior city the highest-calibre sporting event in its history, a status that remains today and for the foreseeable future. This is not a provincial, regional or national event, it is a global event, bringing profile to the city and region. The support of the late Del Laverdure and then-mayor Colin Kinsley, among others, helped to encourage the formation of the committee, which is now a group of 35 community-focused individuals who volunteer their time for the betterment of Prince George.

WHO HAS BEEN HERE?

It’s eight countries and counting – USA, Cuba, Japan, Chinese Taipei (Taiwan), China, Bahamas, Germany, and of course Canadian entries, including Team Canada, Team BC and in 2009 the host Prince George Westcana Electric Axemen. That’s world-wide representation, spanning the globe, all on a Prince George stage. It has been said that Prince George has overachieved in successfully hosting this tournament – hard to argue!

2009 – THE AMERICANS

The first World Baseball Challenge featured the host Prince George Westcana Electric Axemen, Team BC, Team Canada, the German National Team, the Bahamas National Team, and the USA College National Team, stocked with stars who would go on to play in Major League Baseball – Gerrit Cole, Drew Pomeranz, Trevor Bauer, Brad Miller, Yasmani Grandal, etc. USA won the title, but it was not easy – the Germans upset them in maybe the best game of the tournament, and the USA-Canada matchups were memorable, one in preliminary play and one in the playoffs, with benches clearing in the second meeting after a hard slide at second base that broke the leg of USA’s star shortstop Christian Colon. Few will forget Gerrit Cole, who would become the first overall MLB draft pick a few years later, hitting 99 on the radar gun in the ninth inning of his playoff start against Canada, and the legion of MLB scouts (27 and counting) who have made their way to Prince George to scout the talent. In 2009, Germany battled to get to the final, losing 8-1 under the heat of a very warm stretch of weather in Prince George. Among the stars of the tournament was right-handed pitcher Aaron Myette of Team BC, a former MLB starting pitcher, and Prince George Axemen catcher Brooklyn Foster, who had been drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks. Darren Doucette, Charlie Strandlund, local product Dustin Bissonnette, Andrew Brock and Kyle Iwata starred for Prince George.

2011 – THE CUBANS, AND THE ASIAN INVASION

The Cuban National Team showed why that country is considered the most powerful baseball nation in the world, but not without suffering a defeat. In a tournament that saw a significant rise in calibre of play over 2009, meaning a local host team would not be capable of competing, the Cubans ended up on top of a strong group that included an improved Bahamian team, Team Canada, the Beijing Tigers from China (featuring most of that country’s 2008 Olympic team), the powerful Chinese Taipei National Team, and the defensively-dominant Intercity League champions from Japan, Toshiba-Japan. Rain hammered the tournament, so opening night was lost, but that left the second game on Saturday, between Toshiba-Japan and Cuba, to be an instant classic, with Cuba scoring the winning run on a play at the plate with two outs in the bottom of the ninth – drama beyond compare. Canada had a 3-1 lead on Cuba in the seventh inning of their meeting, only to have Cuba slam four straight home runs to turn the game around. Despite the terrible weather, the grounds crew kept it so just one game was cancelled, the final round-robin game that was to feature Canada playing Chinese Taipei. Chinese Taipei defeated Cuba in a playoff game in extra innings, forcing Cuba, with a roster filled with the country’s top players, to take the longer route to the final, which they did and then showed devastating power to score 10 times for the title.

OUR BAHAMIAN FRIENDS

In 2009, developing baseball country Bahamas asked for a berth in the World Baseball Challenge, and arrived with big smiles and even bigger hearts. Though they suffered defeat in every game, they battled the USA College National Team and were within three runs in the eighth inning behind the gutsy pitching of Desmond Russell. In 2011, the Bahamians made history by beating the Beijing Tigers in one of the most exciting games of the tournament. It’s worth noting the harbour in Nassau, Bahamas, is called Port of Prince George – and the Bahamian Baseball Federation calls Prince George its “second home.” So many people in Prince George remain in close contact with members of the Bahamian team.

THE WBC SOCIETY

The committee that runs the World Baseball Challenge has definitely had an impact on baseball in Prince George, and has attracted major events. From the youth side, the WBC Society held a Baseball Canada/Baseball BC camp in 2009 that was highly regarded by all involved, then turned up the quality even more in 2011 and 2013 when WBC combined with the Toronto Blue Jays to bring the Honda Blue Jays Super Camp to Prince George. As well, the society attracted the 2012 Re/Max Baseball Canada Senior Championship to Prince George, and manager Jim Swanson put together a team to win the national title, with extremely strong pitching and timely hitting from local product Brandon Hunter leading the way in a 9-5 final-game victory over the defending champion Windsor Stars. Right-hander Jesse Peters led the way on the mound as a Prince George sports team claimed a national championship for the first time in many moons.

The WBC Society and some of its members have been recognized for their efforts – awards such as Tourism Event of The Year and Newsmaker of The Year from the Prince George Chamber of Commerce; a Volunteerism Award from MLAs Shirley Bond and Pat Bell; and nomination as International Sporting Event of The Year by the Canadian Sport Tourism Association. As well, co-chairs Jim Swanson and Shawn Rice have been nominated for Sports Volunteer of The Year by the Canadian Sport Tourism Association.

2009 ALL-STARS

Most valuable player
Tim Henkenjohann, Germany

Top hitter
Rick Hague, USA

Home-run king
Michael Choice, USA

*All-star team*

Right-hand pitcher
Gerrit Cole, USA

Left-hand pitcher
Drew Pomeranz, USA

Designated hitter
Yasmani Grandal, USA

Catcher
Christian Howard, Germany

First base
Kevin Atkinson, Canada

Second base
Ludwig Speer, Germany

Third base
Rob Recueno, B.C.

Shortstop
Sammy Starr, Canada

Outfielders
Greg Wallace, Canada
Michael Choice, USA
Simon Guehring, Germany

2011 ALL-STARS

Outfielders
Norberto Gonzalez, Cuba

Catcher
Chun Chieh Wang, Chinese Taipei

First base
Jose Dariel Abreu, Cuba

Second base
Lin Han, Chinese Taipei

Third base
Yulieski Gourriel, Cuba

Shortstop
Po Ting Hsiao, Chinese Taipei

Outfielder
Alfredo Desaigne, Cuba

Outfielder
Yoelvis Layva, Cuba

Outfielder
Greg Wallace, Canada

Righthanded pitcher
Vichoandri Odelin, Cuba

Lefhanded pitcher
Norberto Gonzalez, Cuba

* * Want to Volunteer?! * *
Please Email: Cora Denman