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North Vancouver teens to play for Great Britain in European Baseball Championship

The three high schoolers all have dual citizenship and have played ball together from a young age

Three local lads with dual citizenship will put their ballcaps on for Great Britain this summer.

Cayden Allen, Henry Cheyne and Emmett Barry of North Vancouver will fly overseas to play in the U18 European Baseball Championship in Regensberg, Germany, running July 8 to 15.

Allen and Cheyne, both Grade 11 students at Argyle Secondary, played on the field together for nine years in Lynn Valley Little League. Now Allen plays for the senior North Shore Twins and Cheyne for the senior Coquitlam Reds.

Barry, also in Grade 11, goes to Seycove Secondary and grew up playing in Mount Seymour Little League. Now he plays with Allen for the Twins.

While baseball trails far behind the popularity of sports like soccer and rugby in Europe, Major League Baseball has made efforts to expand the sport outside of North America, booking exhibition matches in the U.K. and pumping the tires of fan clubs in Germany.

Only somewhat tuned into the European baseball scene, longtime friends Allen and Cheyne found themselves watching the World Baseball Classic last year.

Recognizing they were both dual citizens, the pair reached out to Team Great Britain’s coach. Soon, they found themselves playing with the squad at a tournament in Spain last December.

They kept in touch with the coach, sending him videos of their play, and then got a message around two weeks ago that they made the final roster for the championship team.

'We’re trying to come top two'

It was a cool experience playing in an international setting with the team last year, and the pair look forward to more of that in July, Allen said.

“Just going over there, I experienced a different culture and different styles of baseball,” he said. “All the kids [playing for Great Britain] are nice, and a good team – lots of fun.”

At the beginning of July, Allen, Cheyne and Barry will fly to the U.K. for a week-long training camp before travelling to Germany a couple days before the tournament starts.

Following play, the top two teams qualify for next year’s World Championships. Over the past few years, the Netherlands and Germany have established themselves as the powerhouses of the European tournament.

But team Great Britain and the North Van boys plan to upset that order.

“They’re going to be the teams to beat, but we’re trying to come top two,” Allen said.

A GoFundMe has been set up to help cover trip costs.