Heading into this baseball season, the Okanagan College Coyotes knew they had a veteran baseball club with a solid pitching staff and more talent than in any of its previous seasons in the Canadian Colleges Baseball Conference.
What head coach Geoff White wasn’t sure of was who would be his starting shortstop. The Coyotes had relied on third-baseman Garrett Wiese to handle short-stop duties the past two seasons, but White wanted a natural short-stop to come in and be the man.
And so when he recruited a switch-hitting middle infielder from Edmonton named Derek Shedden to come to Kelowna, it was with the hopes he would be able to fill the bill.
And so far Shedden has not only earned the starting shortstop role, he has hit his way into the leadoff position, has used his great speed to be a menace on the base-paths and filled in admirably defensively.
“I thought Derek had a lot of potential and had a shot at becoming our starting guy,” said White. “He’s put a lot of work in over the last six or seven months, since coming to Kelowna. He’s a really smart player. He’s quick and has a strong enough arm to play that position.”
Shedden, 19, came out of the baseball academy at St. Francis Xavier high school in Edmonton and made the jump to the collegiate circuit, opting to come to Kelowna and join the Coyotes as opposed to a couple of other options.
“I figured it would be a good place to come and play some college baseball” said Shedden. “I liked the idea of a small college with small classrooms. I thought that would be beneficial. It’s been really good so far. I’m grateful that I am able to play a lot and be the shortstop. It’s a tough position but you’re involved in the game.”
Shedden and the rest of the Coyotes are set to host the Easter Weekend Classic, a tournament that will bring all the teams from the Canadian College Baseball Conference to town for a series of games.
The University of Calgary, Vancouver Island Baseball Institute, Prairie Baseball Academy and Thompson Rivers University are all in town for the weekend series of league games.
“I think this weekend is huge, having the teams coming to our field to play us,” said Shedden. “We’ve been on the rise lately with our play and we want to show these teams that we are better than what our record is.”
The Coyotes are off to a 7-8 start to the season while Prairie Baseball Academy leads the way at 8-4.
4:00pm- OC vs U of C
6:30pm- OC vs U of C
3:00pm- OC vs VIB
6:00pm- U of C vs VIB
10:00am- VBI vs PBA
1:00pm- VBI vs U of C
4:00pm- U of C vs TRU
7:00pm- PBA vs TRU
10:30am- OC vs PBA
1:00pm- TRU vs PBA
4:00pm- OC vs TRU