Thursday, June 25, 2015

Sports

Play Ball!

Collegiate league loads Chilliwack bases 

By Lee Rogers, GM, FVCBG/Handout photos

 

College baseball announced its arrival in Chilliwack on Wednesday. Below, team officials were joined by city councillor Ken Popove.

 

he Fraser Valley Collegiate Baseball Group is pleased to announce that there will be a college baseball team playing out of the Fairfield Island Ballpark in Chilliwack starting in September 2015.

The Fraser Valley Collegiate Baseball Group is headed by Brian Finnie, a local Chilliwack businessman who has been supporting the local baseball community in Chilliwack for the past five years. Finnie worked part time with several of the volunteer’s on the Chilliwack board and was totally blown away by their commitment to the baseball community. Based on his gained trust, he has assembled a staff and an enthusiastic group of volunteers to acquire a Canadian College Baseball Conference (CCBC) franchise. The CCBC franchise has been granted!

Application has been made to affiliate with the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV). UFV is currently reviewing the application and hopes to make an announcement soon. On acceptance by UFV, Finnie expects to run as a “club team” for a year or two with the aim of applying for varsity status. If all goes well, we would love to see this team as a permanent fixture in our community and make UFV the first choice for student athletes looking for high performance baseball and top quality education.

The team will be the sixth team in the Canadian College Baseball Conference (CCBC). League president, Ted Hotzak, said that “the league is excited to be adding a team in the lower mainland.” He went on to say that “there’s some tremendous elite level baseball talent in the Fraser Valley that will now have an opportunity to showcase itself at the college level right at home.”

Finnie was able to secure the services of Shawn Corness as head coach of the team and Lee Rogers as General Manager. Finnie is pretty clear that without these two main characters, he wouldn’t have brought this full circle. Corness, a former scout with the San Francisco Giants and most recently the pitching coach and head assistant with the UBC Thunderbirds is thrilled to be bringing college baseball to the Fraser Valley. Corness has a long resumé when it comes to baseball in British Columbia and his decision to settle in the east end of the Fraser Valley means that baseball fans in the Valley can expect to see the superb baseball talent and exciting championship calibre teams for years to come.

Corness has been very busy recruiting players. With 15 players already having signed Letters of Intent for 2016 (including 6 Chilliwack Minor Baseball Association products), and more talented players being considered, this promises to be an exciting first season.

The team will begin its development and exhibition schedule in September 2015, playing both on the road and out of Fairfield. The CCBC regular season normally runs from mid-March to the second weekend of May.

Watch for the launch of the website soon.

 

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