Tournament 12, Canada’s inaugural amateur showcase at Rogers Centre, has been full of surprises for many, exceeding expectations at every turn.
Though the three most-watched players heading into the event, 2014 outfielder Gareth Morgan and 2015 first baseman Josh Naylor and outfielder Demi Orimoloye, have just started to display the excitement that everyone expected, scouts and fans alike have discovered that the Canadian talent runs deeper.
Naylor turned it up a notch in his team’s second game of the tournament. After launching a line drive off of the right-field wall in the bullpen at the home of the Toronto Blue Jays, his first home run in game action, he ended his day at the plate with a strong single up the middle. The hope is that there’s more to come for Naylor in the final two days of the event.
Orimoloye managed two singles in the same game, but is rumored to be nursing a sore shoulder, hindering his ability to hit for power in the tournament. Morgan has yet to show his power but there are still games left to play.
“The best of the day certainly has to be Naylor,” an American League scout said. “But the most exciting two players in the tournament right now are Adam Hall and Cooper Davis. Both players have an electricity that you can’t help but watch.”
Both Hall and Davis are a part of the Futures roster built mainly of underclassman. Davis is a 5-foot-9, 155-pound 14-year-old from Mississauga, Ontario. Leading off the second game for the Futures team, the center fielder notched two singles, one staying in the infield and stole two bases.
Hall is an interesting story because also at just 14 years old, he hasn’t played nearly as much baseball as everyone around him. The Canadian grew up in Bermuda before his parents moved back to London, Ontario, where he’s taken a firm hold on his baseball prowess thanks to former big leaguer Adam Stern, owner of Canada’s largest baseball facility, Centrefield Sports.
The 5-foot-9, 145-pound middle infielder started his second game of the tournament with a triple to right field before muscling a big fly ball to left-center field in his last at-bat. Hall has displayed power since an early age, as he hit 32 of his team’s 46 home runs in pee wee baseball. After the tournament, he will continue to play for the 18U Great Lakes Canadian team out of Centrefield Sports.
Also surprisingly, the team from Canada’s Maritimes have taken a firm hold on the standings heading into the third day of games. The only undefeated team at 3-0, they lead Pool A. Ontario Maroon, Stern’s team, is atop Pool B.