Talented teens ready for season


Featured Sylvan All-Star PARKER STEVENSON
Supported by Sylvan Learning

The Ontario Nationals are a formidable force in the Canadian Premier Baseball League (CPBL). An elite year-round organization focused on player development, the Nationals consist of teams at four different levels – 14U, 15U, 16U and 18U – and play their home games at the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in St. Mary’s.

Among the other squads, the 15U team has been gearing up for the season ahead, working hard over the winter indoors with skill development in all facets of the game. But they’ve been particularly focused, head coach Jeremy Jayaweera says, on the fundamentals of defense and fielding ground balls.

“We’re trying to develop and help the players be more consistent in the field,” said Jayaweera, who has been a coach with the Nationals for the last four years. “We’ve really focused this offseason on the fundamentals and making the routine plays.”

The team’s strength, undoubtedly, is going to be its pitching, and Jayaweera believes his pitchers will even exceed the expectations of the coaching staff. One of the 15U players who will see time on the mound is Londoner Parker Stevenson, a versatile ballplayer who can play various positions in both the infield and outfield. A Grade 10 student at South Collegiate Institute, Stevenson was one of the winners in the gym at a Nationals combine in December.

“Things definitely look promising for our 15U team this upcoming season,” said Jayaweera. “As long as the team keeps working hard, we’ll be just fine.”

Stevenson and rest of the Nationals players will kick off the spring season with the program’s annual March Break trip to Vero Beach, Florida, the home of Dodgertown (the Los Angeles Dodgers’ minor league complex).


Contributions by Jeremy Jayaweera