With the goal of a provincial baseball title in their sights, two talented young West Shore players have been proving their mettle on a regionwide all-star squad.
Triangle players Julian Cull and Ryder Green are part of the Victoria Red Eagles Mosquito ‘A’ baseball team, composed of the best nine-year-old players from across Greater Victoria Baseball Association’s member parks.
After winning the Vancouver Island Championship July 26 and 27, the Eagles hosted the Mosquito A provincial championships last weekend at Sidney’s Rotary Park, after the News Gazette went to press.
After completing their spring seasons with their local associations, Julian, Ryder and their teammates came together as the Eagles to work toward the goal of a B.C. championship. The team previously won Kelowna’s Valley of Champions tournament July 11 to 13.
“Both Julian and Ryder have been key contributors to the success of this team that has had a terrific summer season on the field,” says head coach Dave Swinton.
The team recently went 5-0 at the prestigious Valley of Champions tournament in Kelowna, and both boys picked up a game most valuable player award for their efforts. The Red Eagles followed that up with an impressive Vancouver Island championship, with both boys playing key roles in the three victories required to secure the gold medal.
Ryder, entering Grade 5 at Eagle View elementary in View Royal, has had innings in the outfield and shortstop, but says he especially enjoys the challenge of pitching, all the more remarkable given this is his first year playing baseball.
“I like being competitive and having fun with all my teammates,” Ryder says.
His coaches appreciate Ryder’s versatility. “He has been asked to play several positions and has done well in any spot I have put him. In addition, he has a real knack for getting on base, which is huge for us,” Swinton says.
Julian, entering Grade 5 at Happy Valley elementary in Langford, has smacked two home runs this season, in addition to successful innings in centrefield, catching and on the mound.
“Julian has led the team in hitting right from the beginning of the summer season. He has such a mature swing that I’m not sure I have ever seen a hitter this accomplished at his age. He’s hitting the ball as hard as players three and four years older,” Swinton says.
At the start of what may well be a long and successful baseball career, how long does Julian anticipate playing? “Hopefully until the MLB!” he says.