Three North Vancouver pitchers will join Baseball Canada’s national team for the WBSC Premier12 tournament running Nov. 2-17 in Japan, Mexico, Taiwan and South Korea.
Brandon Marklund and Will McAffer, both former members of the North Shore Twins, and veteran Scott Richmond will don the Maple Leaf uniform as Canada competes in an event that includes the 12 top-ranked baseball nations in the world. On the line at the tournament will be two berths in the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo as well as US$5.2-million in prize money.
Canada will compete in Group C at the Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul, South Korea, facing teams from Cuba, South Korea and Australia. The top two teams from the pool will advance to the Super Round Nov. 11-16 in Japan.
Marklund is coming off a breakout season, his first playing professional baseball in North America after signing with the Kansas City Royals organization in January. Pitching for the Class-A Lexington Legends in the South Atlantic League this year, the 23-year-old registered a miniscule 0.46 ERA, allowing just two earned runs in 39.1 innings while striking out 44 batters. Marklund made his pro debut in 2018 with the Auckland Tuatara of the Australian Baseball League. This will be Marklund’s debut appearance with the national team.
McAffer was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in 2018 and pitched for the Vancouver Canadians that year before moving up to the Class A Lansing Lugnuts in 2019. This year McAffer pitched 56 inning for the Lugnuts, putting up a 4.34 ERA with 70 strikeouts.
Richmond’s baseball career spans multiple continents and decades, including MLB appearances spread over four seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays, highlighted by a 2009 campaign that saw him go 8-11 while making 24 starts for the Jays. The 39-year-old pitched alongside Marklund in Auckland last year, and both he and McAffer suited up in the Pan Am Games this summer in Peru where Canada claimed silver.
The Team Canada roster for the Premier12 tournament also includes such notables as former MLB MVP Justin Morneau and 2016 American League all-star Michael Saunders.