iCASE heads to Florida for Spring Training

Ricardo Suarez headshot

(L to R) Cam McDougall, Colton Gill, Yanik Leroux and Ricardo Suarez lead the iCASE team to Florida.

Yanik Leroux headshot 1Colton Gill headshot Cam McDougall headshot Cocoa Beach – The iCASE Baseball Academy has a 10,000 square foot indoor facility where it has been able to train during Mother Nature’s deep freeze, but enough is enough!  The full-time, student-focused college prep program based out of Stratford Northwestern Secondary School in partnership with the Avon Maitland District School Board left today for Cocoa Beach, Florida for an action-packed schedule on and off the field.

The 15-player Huskie roster will train in Melbourne on Saturday and then Merritt Island on Sunday before playing four times in the following five days.

On Wednesday, the hard-working teens will take a break from the action, touring the University of Central Florida campus before taking in the Knights game when they host Florida State University.

iCASE will get back between the lines on Thursday and Friday, then head across the state to St. Petersburg for their final day in the sun.  On Saturday, March 15th, they will begin the day with a tour of the Toronto Blue Jays Spring Training facility given by the Jays director of development, Charlie Wilson.  Following that, iCASE will watch the 18u Canadian national team play against the Detroit Tigers minor leaguers at Al Lang Stadium, and they will close out the day taking in the Tampa Bay Lightning NHL’ers hosting the New Jersey Devils.

“iCASE Indoors is a excellent training facility, but it will do the players wonders to get outside and see the balls off their bats fly into the air versus into netting, to be able to play long toss the way it is meant to be played, and just to feel clay and grass under their cleats again,” said iCASE field manager/GM Tom Valcke.

A first may also take place in Florida, as Jenna Hillman, an outstanding female baseball player from Tecumseh, Ontario is considering playing with iCASE during their Florida training program.  Valcke just finished coaching Hillman in Cuba with the Team Canada Women’s development program.

“Jenna is the real deal, and while physicality obviously becomes a factor as girls get into the upper teens playing with boys, pound-for-pound, she’s every bit as much of a player as any male that we will step on the field with this week,” praised Valcke.

“She’s the female version of Stubby Clapp, finished every game with the dirtiest uniform, she has outstanding range at shortstop, her arm is fully capable of playing on Major League dimension fields, she runs well, and hits for both contact and surprising gap power.  We’re planning to start up a female program in the Fall of 2014, and Jenna is absolutely on our radar.”

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