Manitoba’s baseball team will have its final tuneup before the Canada Summer Games next Wednesday in Hamiota.

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Manitoba’s baseball team will have its final tuneup before the Canada Summer Games next Wednesday in Hamiota.

The Manitoba team, which includes Westman players Jared Bridges and Reece Wilson of Brandon, Jared McCorrister of Boissevain, John Patmore of Pipestone, Lyndon Zimmer of Inglis and Noah Geekie of Strathclair on its 20-man roster, will face Saskatchewan at 6 p.m.

Admission is $5.

Manitoba head coach Faron Asham said it should be a good game.

"You’re going to see a Manitoba team that we are very confident in what we can put on the field but you’re also going to see a team from Saskatchewan that won the Canada Cup last year and they’ve got six or seven returning players," Asham said. "We know that they’re a loaded team. Obviously it’s a game that everybody’s going to appear in so if there are some local favourites out there they are going to get some game action.

"It’s a chance to literally see the players of the future for Manitoba and Saskatchewan."

Hamiota Minor Baseball will be operating the concession and there will be a 50-50 draw as well.

Nicole Madsen, who is helping organize the game, said there is some excitement in the region.

"The communities that have players representing those areas have been asking about it and everyone seems to know," she said. "I think with some local kids on the team it should be a big draw."

In addition, game sponsor Woodworth Dodge will have a truck on hand to collect used sports equipment for KidSport.

Saskatchewan captured its national title in Fort McMurray, Alta., last September.

Manitoba played a number of exhibition games against junior and senior teams this summer before heading on a trip through North Dakota and Minnesota last week.

They participated in the 96-team Gopher Classic in Minneapolis, the largest Legion tournament of players aged 16 to 19 in the United States, posting a 3-2 record.

"We had some practice time and accompanied that with some competition time with some real live fire," Asham said of the trip. "We were happy with the performance but not satisfied."

Asham has said ever since the team was unveiled in May that it lacked a single game-changing player but instead has a remarkable group of skilled but unselfish players willing to embrace any role as needed.

"We can roll out nine different guys in nine different positions it seems and still be very effective," Asham said. "It really helps with our pitching staff where we’re not relying on one guy to go a complete game shutout and strike out 12 and win 1-0. We have three or four guys who can come in, do their jobs, throw some strikes, put up some zeroes and the bats can come to play. Just having those interchangeable parts to make some in-game decisions, we always thought we could do it and now we’ve put it into play."

Asham thinks that staging the Canada Summer Games in Manitoba will help his team, in part because every player has played every field where the games will be held. But it’s more than just familiarity.

"We’re the home province," the Brandonite said. "We’re going to hear the roar of that crowd when we walk out for opening ceremonies and hopefully it carries through. Not that they need any extra motivation — I’m not saying that in any way — but the fact that it is there and we can build on that adrenalin, it’s a long week and a long process and every little advantage that we can take home with us is something that we’re going to try to take advantage of."

Asham said one of their games will be nationally televised.

With the event just over a week away, the team takes the weekend off to allow its players to participate in the 18-and-under AAA provincials with their home clubs.

They reconvene in Brandon on Tuesday to practise in the afternoon and meet in the evening, practise again on Wednesday morning and then play in Hamiota in the evening, sleep in Brandon that night and then bus into Winnipeg on Thursday to check into the athlete’s village, with another practise that evening.

They open the Canada Games tournament against Nova Scotia at Elmwood Giants Field on Saturday.

It’s the culmination of what’s been a three-year process in identifying and developing the top players born in 2000 or later. All but Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia are also allowed two players born in 1999.

"It’s mixed emotions," Asham said. "I’m anxious, I’m excited, I’m worried, I’m ready to go, all those things. It’s all come together. It’s been a real exhaustive process but we’re very happy as a staff to have made those final decisions, many, many of them very tough, but we’re satisfied with the group we’ve put together and we’re very optimistic that this is a club that can sneak up on some people but also come in the front door and say ‘Look, here we are.’ We can swing the bat a little bit, we have pretty good pitching and defence so if all three of those components come together, we might be able to surprise some people."

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MANITOBA SCHEDULE

Saturday, July 29

7 p.m. — vs. Nova Scotia — Elmwood Giants Field

Sunday, July 30

1 p.m. — vs. Newfoundland and Labrador — Whittier Park

7 p.m. — vs. Team New Brunswick — Whittier Park

Monday, July 31

7 p.m. — vs. Prince Edward Island — Shaw Park

Tuesday, Aug. 1

4 p.m. — vs. Ontario — Elmwood Giants Field

PLAYOFFS

Wednesday, Aug. 3

4 p.m. — Tie-breaker game — Elmwood Giants Field

Thursday, Aug. 4

10 a.m. — Quarter-final game — Elmwood Giants Field

Thursday, Aug. 4

4 p.m. — Semifinal 1 — Shaw Park

7 p.m. — Semifinal 2 — Shaw Park

Friday, Aug. 5

3 p.m. — Bronze-medal game — Shaw Park

7 p.m. — Gold-medal game — Shaw Park

CONSOLATION GAMES

Thursday, Aug. 4

11 a.m. —Consolation semifinal 1 — Whittier Park

1 p.m. — Consolation semifinal 2 — Elmwood Giants Field

Friday, Aug. 5

11 a.m. —Consolation final — Whittier Park

POOLS

POOL A:

Alberta, British Columbia, Quebec, Saskatchewan.

POOL B:

Manitoba, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Newfoundland and Labrador.

MANITOBA ROSTER

2. Jared Bridges, Brandon

4. Lyndon Zimmer, Inglis

5. Martin Gisiger, Winnipeg

6. Owen Harms, Winnipeg

7. Zach Giesbrecht, Landmark

8. Cole Pike, La Salle

9. Jared McCorrister, Boissevain

10. Tanner Boyle, Portage

11. Jordan Lussier, Winnipeg

12. Noah Geekie, Strathclair

13. Jordan Peck, Winnipeg

14. Cameron Thickson, Winnipeg

16. Kyle Dyck, Winkler

17. Yanykk Nadeau, La Broquerie

18. Tristan Peters, Winkler

19. John Patmore, Pipestone

21. Darnell Wyke, East St Paul

22. Reece Wilson, Brandon

24. Ethan Walpole, Winnipeg

27. Noah Funk, Winnipeg

STAFF:

Head Coach: Faron Asham, Brandon

Assistant: Blair Tweet, Russell

Assistant: Glen Hunter, Winnipeg

Assistant: Ryan Borody, Portage

Manager: Aaron Tycoles, Rivers

Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition July 20, 2017