Story by Jeff Gard/Total Sports Quinte
The Belleville Dawgs Baseball Club is preparing for the 2022 season.
In fact, there is still an open roster spot on the Dawgs U16 team for players born after May 1, 2005.
Formed in 2018, the Dawgs joined the Fergie Jenkins Showcase League in 2019. The league is a showcase and development opportunity for players aspiring to play at a higher level.
“They were especially great when COVID hit and were able to put together a great return-to-play guideline so we were able to have a bubbled season still in 2020,” said Dawgs president Tina-Rae Sararas. “John and Jane Allison were also super helpful that first season of COVID and helped us use the ball diamond they care for in Wellington.”
A typical season runs from May until August prior to fall ball, which is similar to spring training, and tryouts for the club, Sararas said, noting league teams span from Ottawa and into western Quebec across to the Niagara region making for a busy travel schedule during the season. There’s an opportunity to compete at tournaments in the United States as well.
In August, the Fergie Jenkins league puts together and all-star team from players in the league and will travel to the U.S. to represent Canada and the Fergie Jenkins Showcase League.
“I am joining with a few others in the league to form a recruiting team that will further help all the players in the league find the best post-secondary options suited to their needs,” Sararas said. “This coming week, I’m meeting with the recruiting coordinator for Between the Lines, a U.S. based program, and also will be connecting with the recruiting liaison in St. Louis. This Saturday we have six players participating in a scout day. BTL will be measuring athletes metrics and evaluate their results.”
More than 20 schools will be watching the event, held in Welland, live online, she noted.
“The league is also hosting a showcase tournament in August where players from across the league are invited to participate,” Sararas said. “The event this year will have more than 30 schools across North America scouting. Currently we have three players who have been invited to participate.”
Members of the Belleville Dogs U16 team are Lukas Campbell, Jackson Kehoe, Braeden Melanson, Colby Sararas, William Hildebrand, Owen Ferguson, Mason Howe, Cole Eisenstadt, Jonny Buxton, Keaton Sararas, James Armstrong and Ben Buxton.
While they are the only club currently without their own indoor facility, the Dawgs continue to get pre-season training at the Loyalist Dome, Hastings Dome and at local gymnasiums.
“We have tons of potential here,” Sararas said. “This area boasts many great ball players eager and capable of post-secondary baseball across North America. We provide a local club for them to save a bit on travel and provide year round training closer to home.”
Anyone with more questions or seeking tryout information can contact the team by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also following the team on Facebook.