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Innisfail’s Nathan Flewelling pushing for spot on Canada’s national junior team

Hopes to represent his country
Innisfail’s Nathan Flewelling is pushing for a roster spot on Baseball Canada’s U18 Junior National Team. (Photo supplied by Nathan Flewelling)

Innisfail’s Nathan Flewelling is one step closer to representing Canada on the international stage.

The 17-year-old is one of 35 athletes named to Baseball Canada’s U18 Junior National Team roster for the upcoming extended spring training camp.

From April 17-27, Flewelling will head to Dunedin, Florida to compete in a series of games against Major League Baseball spring training rosters at the Toronto Blue Jays Player Development Complex.

“It means a lot for me to go have a chance to represent my country playing the sport I love,” he said. “I’ll try to take it all in when I get there and work as hard as I can to try to do the best I can.”

Flewelling won’t be competing against any big names in professional baseball but will face MLB-level talent. That in itself could be intimidating but he feels he’s ready to take on the challenge.

“I realized that if I want to play [in MLB] one day I’ve got to learn to play against those guys,” he said. “I’m looking at it as a good opportunity where I can prove myself as opposed to being scared or intimidated.”

The Junior National Team features the best U18 baseball players in Canada. Each year they do three to four trips consisting of different training camp formats.

They first begin each year with a Fall camp and continue in the spring with camps in Florida and the Dominican Republic.

The camps are meant to help the coaching staff of the Junior National Team evaluate players and are also an opportunity for college and Major League Baseball scouts to take a look at Canadian talent.

Flewelling was first scouted by Canada while attending the Canadian Futures Showcase in Rogers Centre put on by the Toronto Blue Jays Baseball Academy last September. Over 170 amateur players showcased their talent in front of scouts over the five-day tournament. Flewelling also took home the top prize in the home run derby.

From there the Junior National Team invited him to compete in their fall trip to the Dominican Republic where they competed against local teams.

Following that he was lucky enough to be invited back to the extended spring training camp this month. If he does crack the roster he’ll join Team Canada to compete in the U18 Baseball World Cup Qualifier in South America. The date of that tournament has yet to be determined.

“There’s a couple more trips before that and they kind of add and take away a few players until they find the right guys,” Flewelling added.

“I’m going to know more after this trip but I did good enough to come back so hopefully the hard work I’m putting in is paying off.”

Flewelling is in the process of wrapping up his senior year at St. Joseph High School in Red Deer.

This summer he’ll stick around central Alberta and suit up once again for the U18 AAA CarStar Braves while also playing for the Sylvan Lake Gulls of the Western Canadian Baseball League.

In the Fall he’ll begin his first semester at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash. where he’ll play for the men’s baseball program.

“It’s definitely something to keep working for,” he added.

Ian Gustafson

About the Author: Ian Gustafson

Ian began his journalism career as a reporter in Prince Albert, Sask. for the last three years, and was born and raised in Saskatchewan.
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