Sports

B.C.’s Best Baseball Tournament takes the mound

The Boys of Summer are converging on Parksville again for the annual B.C.’s Best Baseball Tournament, kicking off this Saturday (May 17) at 10 a.m. in Springwood Park.

The host Parksville Royals will be in action at Inouye–Wallace Field against the Victoria Eagles, who are the defending B.C. Premier Baseball League champions.

The Nanaimo Pirates and Victoria Mariners will have their first pitch at 10:30 on Rotary Field, also at Springwood Park.

For fans of the game, this is a great time to catch some of the up and coming baseball talent. B.C.’s Best has showcased teams from the U.S. (in 1995), Ontario, six from Alberta for over 11 years and a team from France. This marks the 20th consecutive year for the tournament that runs during the Victoria Day long weekend.

Last year the Nanaimo Pirates won and will be back to defend their title.

Both the Victoria Mariners and Eagles will be in action as well, along with the Vancouver Cannons, Coquitlam Reds, a AAA Midget team from Chilliwack and the Okotoks Dawgs. The Royals have won once, back in 2011.

The tournament started in 1995, with a North Shore Twins win. Former big league pitcher Ryan Dempster was a member of that team and had a 15-year career, winning a World Series with the Boston Red Sox in 2013.

Taylor Green, who played for the Parksville Royals, was a member of the Milwaukee Brewers until 2013. He also played for Team Canada in the World Baseball Classic in 2013.

Other current major leaguers that have played here include Brett Lawrie (Toronto Blue Jays), Justin Morneau (Colorado Rockies), Jeff Francis (Colorado Rockies), Nyjer Morgan (Milwaukee Brewers), Rich Harden (Minnesota Twins), Mark Hardy (San Diego Padres), Carter Bell (Arizona Diamondbacks), Michael Saunders (Seattle Mariners) and Rene Tosoni (Minnesota Twins).

The largest tournament crowd came in 2002, which featured Adam Loewen, who went on to become the fourth overall pick in the 2002 MLB draft. He played for the Whalley Chiefs in the BCPBL.

Jeff Francis, who was a first round pick in 2002 as well (ninth overall), threw a perfect game in 1999.

Since the first tournament there have been an estimated 1,800 players with roughly 1,000 going on to play at the college level or higher.

The estimated economic contribution to Parksville has been over $2.5 million.

There will be a number of scouts on hand, as usual, to see if they can find the next diamond in the rough or continue to scout players they’ve been watching.

It’s a chance, not only for the players, but for baseball fans to enjoy some of the best baseball in the country.

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