The Red Deer U18AAA Braves hit the field this weekend for their first games of the Norwest League season. (Advocate File photo)

The Red Deer U18AAA Braves hit the field this weekend for their first games of the Norwest League season. (Advocate File photo)

Red Deer’s U18AAA Braves ready to open season this weekend

It’s been more than a year since many Red Deer Minor Baseball players played in a competitive game at Great Chief Park.

That’s set to change this weekend, as the Red Deer U18AAA Tier 1 Carstar Braves will hit the field for four games against the Sherwood Park Dukes, starting with a doubleheader Saturday at noon.

“We are so excited,” said Geoff Hall, who is in his first season as the Braves manager.

Hall, who coached previously with the East Central Bulls and Team Alberta said it was only within the last 10 days or so that they got the go-ahead to officially hit the field for games and there hasn’t been much time for a full practice.

“Everyone’s mood flipped like a switch as soon as I said there’s a possibility of starting,” he said.

“It’s been a long time for some of them since they’ve actually played a meaningful game. They’re pretty excited and to go ahead with minimum restrictions is exciting news.”

Still, Hall has been extremely impressed with the talent his group has and that means high expectations for the year.

“We’re a pretty well-rounded team. We’ve got some guys that can really swing it and hit the ball well. We’ve got some guys that are going to hit for average and we’ve got some pretty good depth with our pitching. Our defence should be pretty good too,” he said.

“From top to bottom, we’re pretty solid.”

He noted they have a few players returning from the Braves program in 2019, which hosted the Western Canadian Baseball Championships. His team will be made up of mostly Grade 11 players, making them younger than most teams in the 18 and under Norwest league.

“I have pretty high expectations. I laid it all out at the start of the year. I want the guys to put their best effort forward and improve from practice to practice and game to game,” he said.

“We might not win ‘em all, but we’re going to try and if we don’t win we’re going to learn from our loss and get better the next time.”

While they may be young, Hall said they have a ton of strong hitters and depth at pitching which should carry them a long way this season.

“We’re pretty deep with pitching which is nice to see. We have some guys who can throw with good velocity and guys who don’t have the velocity but can really locate the fastball. I’m excited to see it,” he said.

The roster includes Adam Turgeon, Abe Blackmore, Grayson Borchers, Dominic Skjonsberg, Kohle Huber, Anthony Chatwood, Joel Portz, Kyle Belich, Levi Hammond, Jaxon Zanolli, Gavin Galenza, Grayson Leuck, Luis Gallardo, Matthew Murray, Austin London and Heath Hachkowski.

Red Deer also has a second U18AAA team this season, with shows the depth of talent in the region. Hall credits the St. Joe’s Baseball Academy for that deep pool of talent, where players are in game shape for the better part of nine months.

“There’s so many kids in the academy program and when the kids are able to play nine months of the year – they come into the academy at the start of September and they go all year, the skill that’s out there has really increased from where it was five or six years ago,” he said.

The Tier II U18AAA roster has Austin Moore, Benjamin Franz, Brayden Harrington, Chase Stewart, Isaiah Schulte-Bates, Isiah Hawkes, Jordan Bauer, Justice Portsmouth, Noah Feser, Sam Honke, Seth Gill, Tysen Wandler, and Isaiah Schulte-Bates.

They begin play on Saturday in Camrose, before playing their first home game on June 19 at Great Chief Park.

The U18AAA Carstar Braves will play at home Saturday at 12 p.m. and and Sunday at 3 p.m.

Send your news tips

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

The City of Red Deer sits at 249 active cases of the virus, after hitting a peak of 565 active cases on Feb. 22. (Black Press file image)
Red Deer down to 119 active COVID-19 cases

Province identifies 179 new cases Saturday

Red Deer Emergency Services responded to an explosion at a duplex on Rupert Crescent Saturday morning. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
Firefighters respond to explosion in Red Deer early Saturday morning

There was an explosion at a Red Deer duplex early Saturday morning.… Continue reading

Terry Betts, of Kananaskis, looks at the vehicle he was hoping to sell during the Quick Times Red Deer Swap Meet in the Westerner Park parking lot Saturday. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
Quick Times Red Deer Swap Meet held outdoors

A big automotive swap meet was held outdoors this year in Red… Continue reading

The Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum is set to re-open on July 2. (File Photo)
Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum to reopen Monday

The Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum will reopen for visitors… Continue reading

Huzaifa (left), Saif (middle) and Zoya (right) were among the 60 or so Red Deerians who participated in a vigil for the victims of a recent terrorist attack that killed four people in London Ont. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Red Deer vigil honours victims of London, Ont. terrorist attack

About 60 people gathered at the corner of 49 Ave. and 50… Continue reading

A man wears a face mask as he walks by a sign for a COVID-19 vaccination site in Montreal, Sunday, May 16, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Canada paid a premium to get doses from Pfizer earlier than planned

OTTAWA — Canada paid a premium to get more than 250,000 doses… Continue reading

The Kamloops Indian Residential School in Kamloops, B.C., is shown in this 1930 handout photo. HO — Deschatelets-NDC Archives
Calls grow for Ottawa to review settlement decisions for residential school survivors

Lawyer Teri Lynn Bougie still cries when she talks about the final… Continue reading

Syringes are readied at a COVID-19 mobile vaccination clinic for members of First Nations and their partners, Friday, April 30, 2021 in Montreal. Most of the federal contracts for COVID-19 vaccines allow for Canada to donate some of its doses to other countries or international aid organizations and in at least three cases, for the doses to be resold.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canada’s vaccine contracts allow for doses to be donated, in some cases resold

OTTAWA — Most of the federal contracts for COVID-19 vaccines allow for… Continue reading

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs, responds to the report on the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, in Vancouver, on Monday June 3, 2019. As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk'emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Two sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

VANCOUVER — As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after… Continue reading

A woman sits and weeps at the scene of Sunday's hate-motivated vehicle attack in London, Ont. on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. Four members of a family in London, Ont., are set to be buried today. The public has been invited to help celebrate the lives of Talat Afzaal, 74, her son Salman Afzaal, 46, his wife Madiha Salman, 44, and their 15-year-old daughter Yumna Salman.THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Geoff Robins
Funeral to be held today for London family killed in attack

LONDON, Ont. — Four members of a Muslim family killed in what… Continue reading

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden listen to United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson deliver opening remarks at a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, United Kingdom Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau to discuss foreign policy with G7 leaders at second day of summit meeting

CARBIS BAY, CORNWALL, ENGLAND — Foreign policy is on the agenda for… Continue reading

Multivitamins are shown on the packaging line at the Pfizer plant in Montreal, Thursday, July 12, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Canadian drug companies want new pricing regs delayed again until after pandemic

OTTAWA — Almost three dozen Canadian pharmaceutical companies made a direct appeal… Continue reading

In this file photo, a lotto Max ticket is shown in Toronto on Monday Feb. 26, 2018. (By THE CANADIAN PRESS)
No winning ticket for Friday’s $70 million Lotto Max jackpot

TORONTO — The massive $70 million dollar Lotto Max jackpot remained unclaimed… Continue reading

Most Read