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Orillia teaming up with other groups to offer elite baseball

New Northern Osprey Elite program will allow 'top players ... to develop in our communities going forward on a cost-effective basis,' says Wes Winkel
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Wes Winkel is shown pitching to kids during a practice at the Orillia Legion Minor Baseball Association indoor training facility, which will be the winter home of the new Osprey Northern Elite baseball program. Tyler Evans/OrilliaMatters File Photo

NEWS RELEASE
NORTHERN ELITE OSPREY
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The minor baseball programs of Midland-Penetang, Orillia and Muskoka are pleased to announce a collaboration to offer elite baseball locally. Starting in the fall of 2022, the Northern Elite Osprey will join the Elite Baseball League of Ontario (EBLO), Baseball Ontario's highest level of competition, with a 15U team.

Over the following two years, the program plans to add 16U and 18U teams and expects that the Osprey teams will be made up primarily of the top-level players from each of the three local community programs.

"For years, our top players were required to travel to other communities or expensive private programs if they wanted to play elite level baseball. With the Osprey offering elite baseball locally, we think these top players will be able to develop in our communities going forward on a cost-effective basis," stated Wes Winkel, President of Orillia Minor Baseball.

"By offering elite baseball locally, we believe the Osprey will keep elite athletes considering baseball as they get to high school," added Doug Beckett, President of Midland-Penetang baseball.

"A few years ago, we were able to offer elite baseball for our 2000 age group in Muskoka and 11 players from that team went on to play post-secondary baseball. With the Osprey operating locally, we know from experience that the program will help to send several of our players to post-secondary baseball in the future " said Peter Haynes, President of the Muskoka Hornets.

The Board of the Osprey will be made up initially with two executives from each of the three sponsor organizations. Haynes will take on the position of President initially and the organization will be looking for additional executives and volunteers over time.

The Osprey will form its first 15U team in the fall of 2022 and play home games in each of the three communities. The teams will practise during the winter at the Orillia indoor baseball training facility and Osprey executives expect to tap local baseball alumni to assist in player development and training.

The Osprey plan to host talent assessment clinics in the fall of 2021. The first 15U team will be for players born in the year 2008. In order to ensure that players remain local up until 15U, the program will only add under-age players on an exceptional basis.

Please contact David Gemmell, Director of Player Development, at david_gemmell10@hotmail.com if your son or daughter is interested in being considered for a spot on the 2023 team or if you are interested in coaching in the program.

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