When many people think of collegiate baseball their first thought is towards teams south of the border, as many top prospects are the product of United States college leagues. What people often overlook is the number of highly talented baseball teams that play in many universities and colleges in Canada. Part of that is due to many numerous leagues and divisions and the lack of a country wide tournament, such as a U SPORTS National Championship, that is afforded many of the big sports such as football, hockey, and basketball
Casey Auerbach, associate head coach of the McGill Redmen, is working to help showcase the talents of Canadian post-secondary baseball. He is recruiting baseball players from across the country, with the goal to enter them in a tournament that would showcase their talent on the international stage.
This tournament is hosted by the Attnung-Puchheim Athletics, who compete in the top league in Austria. The tournament is coupled with a music festival and is widely considered to be a top highlight of summer ball in Europe. The players would compete against National Teams and top division-league teams from across Europe.
“Over 2500 players from 100 teams from 22 different countries have participated in the past 20 years,” says Auerbach. “We are proud that we will be the first Canadian team to compete in Europe’s biggest baseball festival!”
The tournament is only one element of the trip. The trip in its entirety will run from May 11-23, including the Finkstonball Tournament which runs between May 18 and May 21.
“We will play games (and tour) in Switzerland and Germany leading up to our arrival in Austria for the tournament. The trip itself will allow us to play 8-10 competitive games in three different countries, while also taking advantage of the cultural and historical opportunities that Europe has to offer.”
Auerbach’s idea for entering a Canadian team into the tournament came from his own experience of playing and coaching in Europe for two seasons. “It was an unbelievable experience to be able to pair my passions for baseball and travel in a unique way. I wanted to expose and share the baseball and cultural opportunities available overseas with other Canadian players who could benefit from the experience.”
The team is recruiting college/university baseball players, who are ready to challenge themselves against strong international teams and are willing to explore new cultural opportunities. They have extended preliminary roster spots, but do have a few spots remaining for new players.
Auerbach is hoping this will be the first step in a process of bringing together the different college/university baseball leagues across the country.
“It will be great to gather players who represent different baseball programs from across the country to compete together.”