Canadian junior team calls on A’s hurler

Pitcher Austin Brown to play for Baseball Canada squad at Cuban Summer Series next month

Okanagan Athletics pitcher Austin Brown will play for Canada's national junior team next month in the Cuba Summer Series.

With a fastball topping out at 91 miles per hour, Austin Brown’s potential was simply too enticing for Baseball Canada to overlook.

The 17-year-old Okanagan Athletics’ pitcher was named this month to Canada’s national junior team roster for the next month’s Cuba Summer Series.

The 6-foot-3, 215-pound Brown is among 24 of the country’s top young prospects who will travel to Toronto next week for three practises and an exhibition game at the Rogers Centre.

Then it’s off to Havana, Cuba in early July, as Canada plays a series of exhibition games against that country’s national junior team.

“It stunned me, it was a complete surprise,” Brown said of being named to the national junior team. “It’s overwhelming, a great opportunity. I still can’t believe I’m going.”

After what Brown considered a mediocre 2015 campaign with the PBL’s A’s, he has pushed his game to a new level this season with a 4-2 record, a 2.50 ERA, and 50 strikeouts in just 42 innings.

Playing on a national team has long been Brown’s goal, a dream he had all but put to rest before Baseball Canada and national junior head coach Greg Hamilton came calling this spring.

“I always wanted to do this,” said Brown, a native of Powell River who just finished up his Grade 11 year at KSS.

“Last year I didn’t really perform, my confidence was down. I didn’t believe I could go this far. But I came back after a good winter of preparing, I worked hard and it all fell into place. I’m pretty excited.”

Athletics’ program director and head coach Evan Bailey said Brown is well-deserving of the opportunity, both as a player and a person.

“He’s a great kid, he works hard and he’s well-liked,” said Bailey, who also played for Greg Hamilton with the national junior program. “There’s no doubt about his talent too, he has the best fastball in our league.

“We had hopes this would happen for him next year, but he’s ahead of schedule, his velocity took a big jump,” Bailey added. “It’s a big honour, a great opportunity for him.”

Brown, who quit three other sports to focus solely on baseball, said his decision to move to Kelowna and play for Evan Bailey and the A’s couldn’t have worked out any better.

“It’s been a great fit for me,” Brown said. “I can’t put into words how much Evan has helped me, what he’s done for me. He’s a big reason I’ve progressed like I have.”

As for his upcoming experience with Canada’s national junior team, Brown hopes it leads to bigger and better things down the road.

“This experience, it’s going to be something I haven’t done, this puts my name out there in the baseball world,” Brown said. “Maybe it will lead some opportunities, like going in the  draft. Hopefully I can make the most of it.”

While in Toronto, Brown and the Canadian team will also take in two Toronto Blue Jays’ games.

In Cuba, Canada will play 10 games against the Cuban national junior team, from July 5 to 11.

The Cuba Summer Series is the first camp in the selection process to determine the 20-player roster that represent Canada at the U-18 Baseball World Cup in September 2017 in Thunder Bay, ON.


Just Posted

UPDATE: Missing dog from high velocity Kelowna car crash found

Jewels is recovering in the comfort of her home

Kelowna’s Boucherie Grind sweats for a cause

The event exceeded it’s fundraising goal

Dancing in the Park returns for another year

Lace up your dancing shoes, Kelowna

Kelowna Ride Don’t Hide raises $85,000

The CMHA honours two brothers during fundraiser

Moms of those killed by illicit opioids take to B.C. Legislature in call for action

Moms Stop the Harm, a nationwide network of families who have lost loved ones to overdoses rally

VIDEO: Canadian toddler caught practising hockey skills in crib

Eli Graveline is getting praise from far and wide as the internet freaks out of cute throwback video

Kamloops Fire Centre reports 3 new fires in area, all lightning-sparked

Includes a 0.3-ha. fire east of Penticton, 0.01-ha. fire by Merritt and a 1.77-ha. fire near Lytton

Reel Reviews: Playing Tag with the Incredibles

The conclusion: “Both these movies are exactly what you’d expect.”

Man shot dead in Surrey ID’d as hockey coach and father of two

Murder of Paul Bennett – a respected Peace Arch Hospital worker and ‘champion of sport’ – ‘not random’

Mabel Lake Road roll over claims life

Armstrong man died in hospital after single vehicle roll over June 18

Thunder, strong winds possible for Okanagan

Environment Canada released the special weather statement Sunday afternoon

Canadian Syrian children’s choir not to attend festival over fears about U.S. travel

Many kids are recent immigrants from countries covered by Trump travel ban

B.C. teacher ends Jeopardy! winning streak, taking home US$69,000

Ali Hasan, from New Westminster, has been gaining fans as a “one-man invasion,” says Alex Trebek

Most Read