A squad of some of the North Shore’s best young pitchers, hitters, shortstops, basemen, catchers and outfielders are heading to the nation’s capital to play against the rest of country’s best.
On Sunday morning, Mount Seymour Little League’s Seniors All Star team will get on a plane and fly to Ottawa for the Little League Canada national tournament.
The team of 14 to 16 year olds from North Vancouver secured a spot at nationals by winning the Little League BC Provincials last weekend. After forming the all star team in late June, they kicked off their play by winning a streak of exhibition games before moving onto provincials. There, they faced and beat the Coquitlam team twice in the final series, with a commanding 17-2 win in the last game to take the title.
Mount Seymour had extra motivation this season, after coming up short in the finals last year against South Vancouver, says coach Jesse Symons.
“I think that experience last year really pushed them this year to be ready to go through the in the finals,” he said.
“They’re just a good all-around group – very athletic. The pitching was fantastic … and the hitting was throughout the lineup. And I think that’s the big thing about this group is the depth is very good. They hit one through nine, and they’re a team that’s tough to beat when the sticks are going,” Symons said.
He noted that the boys have natural chemistry – many of them playing together since they were six years old – which will come in handy as the team competes in the nine-day national tournament starting Monday.
The stakes are high. If Mount Seymour wins at Nationals, they’ll travel again almost immediately to the Little League World Series in Easley, South Carolina.
“They’re buzzing, very confident and just ready to compete for each other,” said Symons, who’s helped coached many of the same boys – including his son Casey – for the past nine years.
“They’ve come close the last couple years. And to now get here and keep pushing is a testament to their character and personality. I know they want to make the most of this week ahead.”
Symons shares coaching duties with team manager Ryan Leonard and assistant coach Jason Dong.
Mount Seymour 8 Selects team wins memorial tournament
Meanwhile, other Mount Seymour squads have been doing big things as well. Also last weekend, the 8 Selects team were crowned champions of the Henri Lorieau Memorial Tournament in White Rock.
After a rocky start, Seymour put together a strong performance to hold off hometown favourites White Rock 17-10 in the championship game, bringing the cup to the North Shore for the first time.