LSS ready to play ball with academy

Langley Secondary is set to play ball.

The Langley Board of Education unanimously approved the new program at its Feb. 25 meeting and it will be offered for the first time in the 2014/15 season.

“It is something we have been trying to get going for five or six years,” said Jamie Bodaly, who will run the program with his business partner, Corey Eckstein.

Bodaly is part of the Langley Blaze Premier program while Eckstein is with the Abbotsford Cardinals program.

The pair are already involved in a baseball academy at Abbotsford’s Yale Secondary.

They each have their own business — Bodaly’s is Gamers Baseball Academy while Eckstein’s is Sandlot Baseball Academy — but the baseball academies are affiliated with their respective Premier Baseball League programs.

The Yale program will run from September to January, while the LSS program will be held January to June with both coaches — Eckstein has a pitching background while Bodaly’s speciality is hitting — working together.

“It is not a team, it is a skills academy,” Bodaly said.

“It is all about developing them and their skills.”

The students will have a double-block where they will focus on different aspects of the game.

LSS used to have a soccer academy and their hockey academy is currently on hold due to a lack of enrolment.

Baseball academies seem to be on the rise with six or seven now offered around the province.

“We really thought baseball was a natural fit because of where Langley Secondary is located in connection with their (Blaze) baseball diamond,” said Sean Wicker, a vice-principal at the school.

“And the facilities — we have the artificial turf field we can access the entire day, the lacrosse box if we need to do indoors, and their diamond as well — it is all right in their backyard.”

The school was approached last April and began doing their groundwork in September.

The program costs each student $1,800 and the goal is to have 25 in the first year.

“Our goal down the road is 50 students in two classes, one in the morning and one in the afternoon,” Wicker said.

Bodaly expects interest to be high in the program and not just with Langley students.

“We are strategically located with Cloverdale and Maple Ridge and Surrey,” he said.

“(And) I really think the program will take off because of the access we have to the facilities.”

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