The 2012 Okanagan College Coyotes baseball team is having its own version of baseball spring training this week as the team is in Las Vegas and Phoenix kicking off its season by facing some top junior college programs in the USA.
The trip signifies a more intense schedule this year for the OC baseball team as it prepares for another year in the Canadian College Baseball Conference.
“We wanted to put ourselves up against the best competition we could find to prepare us for our conference,” said OC baseball coach Geoff White. “We should have an excellent spring if we stick to the fundamentals: Quality pitching, solid defense and being aggressive at the plate. We have a young talented team that could open some eyes.”
While players on the Coyotes come from all over B.C., Western Canada and even the USA, the pitching staff will see three Okanagan players who should make contributions.
Kelowna natives Michael Monster and Michael Tongue as well as Vernon’s Jeff May are among the hurlers who will see action. The pitching staff should be the anchor of the Coyotes with returning throwers Keifer Rodway, (Parksville) and senior Pete Tollenaar (Ft McMurray, AB) providing the veteran leadership.
“Our pitching staff is a solid group this year. We will also rely upon some of our position players who are two way guys to provide some depth out of the bullpen,” said White, adding that the infield behind the pitchers should be solid. “I am really excited about our infield this year, we have some athletic players that are gritty and all around hard workers.”
The outfield will almost have an entire new look. The only returning outfielder is sophomore Aidan McVea (Abbotsford, BC) who was an All Conference performer in 2011. McVea will be also seeing time at the OC closer on the mound and will be surrounded by plenty of newcomers vying for playing time.
“The outfield will be interesting in 2012,” said White. “We have a new crop of talented players that are fighting for playing time. With lots of preseason/non conference games we should get a good idea of where we will be at in the outfield.”
Behind the plate the Coyotes return sophomore Matt Sanderson (Strathmore, AB) and another newcomer to the OC program is assistant coach Lyall Foran, who joined the team last year.
“We have put in a lot of time on the field, in the gym and in the cages to prepare for this season,” said White.