Over the past eight seasons, the Langley Blaze have averaged 33 wins a season and boasted a winning percentage of .719.
And there is no reason to doubt the 2018 edition of the 18U Premier team should not be as good, if not better than those squads.
The reason for such optimism?
An enviable collection of arms.
“We have really deep pitching — probably one of the deeper pitching staffs we have had in quite some time,” admitted coach Jamie Bodaly.
“We have four (Canadian junior national team) arms and there might even be a fifth one added here, so we are pretty deep.”
“It should be a good year.”
Tate Dearing, Zack McQuaid, Theo Millas and Justin Thorsteinson were all in Florida at the junior national team’s camp last month. The first three are right-handed pitchers, while Thorsteinson — a 2020 grad — is a lefty.
And Dearing is currently ranked eighth on the Canadian Baseball Network draft list for the 2018 class.
McQuaid also finds himself on that list, as do Jayden Knight and Colby Ring.
And for the 2019 MLB draft class, threee more members of the current Blaze roster — Ryan Beitel, Daniel Martin and Brandon Nicoll — are on the list.
Martin led the Blaze — and was second in the BCPBL — with 32 RBIs.
The Blaze are in Kamloops this weekend for the annual Best of the West tournament and are scheduled to open the BC Premier Baseball League season on Tuesday (April 17), with a game at McLeod Athletic Park against the Abbotsford Cardinals.
The Langley Junior (16U) Blaze get their season underway on Sunday (April 15) as they host the Whalley Junior Chiefs in a doubleheader at MAP. Game times are noon and 2:30 p.m.
And the Blaze are also fielding a pair of bantam (14U) teams this spring, with the Blue and Black squads.
Blue gets their season going tonight (Friday) vs. Delta and Black plays on Saturday.