Windsor Star – August 8, 2018 – The Windsor Selects baseball program has never seen an exodus like this.
The Selects will send a dozen players off on some form of post-secondary baseball scholarship this fall.
“The organization’s been around since the early ’80’s and this is the most we’ve sent away in one year,” Windsor Midget Selects manager Buzz Morris said of the program, which has produced more than 200 scholarship players. “Just a very talent group of kids.”
Nine members of the midget squad are set to head out while another three members of the Windsor Junior Selects, who did not get offers a year ago, have also earned scholarships.
“We’ve got some kids starting a year late that didn’t get a scholarship, stayed back and put the work in and ended up getting something,” Morris said of the junior offers.
The offers range from NCAA Division I to junior college, community college, NAIA and even locally to St. Clair College where 18-year-old pitcher Evan Ferguson opted to play.
“(Ferguson) had offers to go play in the (United) States, but he got into the program he wanted,” Morris said. “So, that’s first and foremost. Get the program and education because, at the end of school, real life begins. So, they have to be able to go out ad do what they want.
“So, we don’t push kids to just any school. These kids are all going to a school with a program that they’re interested in for post-secondary education.”
Pitcher/outfielder Noah Richardson is headed to Division I Northern Kentucky University where he’ll follow former Selects player Shane Paradis.
“This is what you live for,” the 18-year-old Richardson said. “This is the main reason guys come to this program, to go off to school and get to that next level and play at the highest level they can play.”
Throughout the season, players have not only have the chance to share in the success on the field, but off the field as well.
“It’s awesome,” Richardson said. “You grow with these guys over the years. They become your family. So, to see them succeed, it kind of feels good to have them move on with you.
“That shows the talent and the work ethic everybody here puts in and the effort the coaches put in for us. Hopefully, the next group can do better.”
Along with Richardson and Ferguson, the Midgets Selects will see pitcher Kimani Bailey head to Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland. Pitcher James Hiebert is headed to Iowa Community College while shortstop Storm Riccotti and second baseman Kyle Blunt are off to Erie Community College. Pitcher Colton Taylor is going to Frank Philips Community College in Texas, outfielder Nathan Piccihoni is off to Lawrence Tech in Michigan and pitcher Shane Laforest is set to attend the University of British Columbia.
“It justifies what we do,” said Morris, who is in his eighth season. “We sell ourselves as a program to get kids to the next level. We don’t play OBA (Ontario Baseball Association), we play showcases in the States and we play in the PBLO (Premier Baseball League of Ontario) to showcase our talents and try to get things to the next level.
“So, it justifies what we do as a program. That the course we’re taking is right.”
The three Junior Selects players set to head out will see shortstop Kyle Cattrysse go to Cuyahoga Community College along with outfielder Louis Jodoin while catcher Hunter Dent heads to Mount Nazarene in Ohio.
“You just got to keep grinding and have to be seen by the right people,” the 20-year-old Cattrysse said of having to wait a year to get an offer. “There are a lot of kids trying to play and go somewhere. You just have to be seen by the right person.
“It’s a great feeling when you finally get that offer. To be able to compete at the next level is a great feeling.”
For the program, it’s time to turn the page. Tryouts for next season are set for Aug. 23 and the club will begin a fall schedule in September.
“It’s a proud moment,” Morris said. “It’s a lot of hard work for them and for us, but it’s just a proud moment to see this many kids go away. It justifies all the hard work we put in together. To see kids get to the next level is a special thing.”