Langley Blaze alum help Canada qualify for World Baseball Classic
Canada has qualified for next year's World Baseball Classic.
The Canadians did so after winning a four-team qualifier tournament in Regensburg, Germany, beating the hosts 11-1 on Monday in the game to decide which team would earn the berth to the WBC.
"We came here knowing that we had to win three games and we accomplished our goal," said Canadian manager Ernie Witt, on the Baseball Canada website.
"I can't say enough about this team — they're gamers. They're guys that play hard and with passion."
The roster featured a trio of Langley baseball players in Jordan Lennerton, Kellin Deglan and Tyson Gillies.
Canada was a perfect 3-0 at the tournament, winning 11-1 against Great Britain in the first game and then advancing to the final with a 16-7 win over Germany.
In that latter game, both Lennerton and Gillies hit home runs.
Lennerton finished 2-for-2 with two runs scored while Gillies went 3-for-5 for the second straight game. He also crossed home plate four times over the two games and drove in three runs. Gillies played in all three games, batting .500 for the tournament.
"This is my first experience in international baseball and it's exciting," he said.
The trio all played for the Langley Blaze Premier program with Deglan and Gillies going straight to the pro ranks after being drafted while Lennerton went the college and university route.
Deglan, 20, was a first round draft pick of the Texas Rangers in 2010. The catcher played this past season in A ball with the Hickory Crawdads of the South Atlantic League.
Lennerton, 26, is a power-hitting first baseman. Lennerton was drafted twice — Toronto in 2004 and Milwaukee in 2005 — but opted to attend junior college and then Oregon State University. He was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in 2008 and has spent the past four years in the Tigers' farm system.
He spent last year in AA ball with the Erie Seawolves of the Eastern League.
Both Deglan and Lennerton are from Langley while Gillies is originally from Kamloops.
Gillies, 23, is an outfielder in the Philadelphia Phllies organization. He was originally drafted by the Seattle Mariners before being sent to Philadelphia as part of the package the Mariners surrendered to acquire ace pitcher Cliff Lee.
He spent this past season at the AA level with the Reading Phillies of the Easter League.