Kelowna will field two teams in B.C. Baseball’s 18U AAA league this season—both under the banner of the Sun Devils.
The defending B.C. champion Kelowna Sun Devils are entering their fourth season on the provincial midget circuit, while the fledgling COMBA (Central Okanagan Minor Baseball Association) Sun Devils are making their debut.
With more players than ever coming out for fall and winter camps, the Sun Devils saw it as an opportunity to give more local talent the chance to play at the AAA level.
“We’re excited,” Sun Devils’ head coach Rob Law said of the COMBA program. “The second team isn’t going to be without its growing pains, we’ve got some new guys playing at the 18U triple-A level. “But we’re all looking forward to seeing those players progress.”
As for the Kelowna team, Law said back-to-back provincial crowns is definitely on the Sun Devils’ radar in the summer of 2018.
“The coaching staff’s expectation, without a doubt, is to get back to the provincials and take another run at it, as we did here on the field (Edith Gay Park) here at home,” said Law.
The Kelowna club brings balance into the new season, with six seniors, six Grade 11s and six rookies on the roster.
Law said the experienced gained last season by the club’s returning players will be a key to the Sun Devils’ success in 2018.
“They’ll be huge, they’ll be big leaders,” Law said. “Jordan Laidlaw, Tyson Lamb, our two captains that were on the provincial championship team, they’re going to lead by example.”
Both Sun Devils clubs kick off the new season this weekend in Vernon. Kelowna will take on the host Canadians for one game on Saturday, while COMBA meets Vernon for a doubleheader the following day.
The Kelowna and COMBA team will meet head on for the first time Wednesday night at Edith Gay Park in a 6 p.m. start.
The Kelowna Sun Devils will host their home opener on Saturday, April 21 against North Island.
Prior to the first game, at around 11: 30 a.m, the Sun Devils will hold a ceremony to unveil a championship board, featuring the names of the players and coaches who were on the 2017 club.
The board will be installed on the clubhouse at Edith Gay Park.
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