Ladner pitcher and University of Washington commit Boston Warkentin is among 30 players selected to represent Canada in a seven-game Friendship Series against the United States U18 National Team, starting Friday in Florida.
The Canadian roster was finalized following the 15-day Junior National Team Training Camp held at the Ajax Sportsplex in Ajax, Ont. where 38 athletes participated in daily practices and intra-squad games.
Warkentin, a 6-foot-2 right-hander, came through Ladner Minor Baseball, the Delta Tigers and North Delta Blue Jays programs, before taking his career across the Rockies to the Okotoks Baseball Academy in Alberta. The 18-year-old’s 90-plus mph fastball got the attention of NCAA Division One before Warkentin committed to the UW Huskies as part of their 2022 recruiting class.
He is the first player from Delta to be part of the national junior men's team since former Toronto Blue Jays draft pick and pitcher Tom Robson.
With the postponement of 2021 WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup in Sarasota/Bradenton, Fla. to 2022, the Friendship Series will be used as a final event for the 2003 age group with the start of the next Junior National Team program cycle (2021/22) beginning with the Fall Instructional League Camp in Fla. this October.
“We’re extremely fortunate to be able to provide our players with an international baseball experience given the difficulties of running our program over the last 18 months,” said Junior National Team Head Coach and Director of Men’s National Teams Greg Hamilton. “Our players will be challenged against a formidable opponent in the United States, and we look forward to the opportunity of competing and representing Canada down in Florida.”
The first three games of the series will take place this weekend at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, the spring training home of the Baltimore Orioles, before moving to Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, home of the Tampa Bay Rays.
The series will shift to Bradenton and the spring training home of the Pittsburgh Pirates, LECOM Park, for games on Tuesday and Thursday with a game at Pirate City in between on Wednesday.