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Maple Ridge athlete joins Canada Baseball Junior National Team for spring training

Owen Fernandes is participating in the Florida training camp until April 29
Owen Fernandes is training with the Canada Baseball Junior National Team from April 20 to 29 in Florida. (Langley Blaze/Special to The News)

One of Maple Ridge’s own is rubbing shoulders and swinging bats with some of the best young baseball stars in North America over the next few days as the spring training camp for the Baseball Canada Junior National Team continues on.

Owen Fernandes, 17, is a Maple Ridge Secondary student who plays for the Langley Blaze and is one of only five players from B.C. to make the junior national team for spring training.

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This intensive training camp runs from April 20 to 29 and involves the young Canadian team playing with prospect squads from the Pittsburgh Pirates, Tampa Bay Rays, Washington Nationals, and Houston Astros.

There are also a few inter-squad games at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches in Florida, where junior national team members will get a chance to go toe-to-toe with other members of their team.

The opening inter-squad match on April 20 resulted in a 7-4 game, where Fernandes played as the third baseman for the losing side but managed to score one of his team’s four runs.

The junior national team then followed it up with an 8-3 loss against the Pittsburgh Pirates extended team on April 21.

Their April 22 match against the Tampa Bay Rays extended team saw the Canadians get their first win, with Fernandes sharing pitching responsibilities with Elliot Cadieux Lanoue and Nick Frers. The Maple Ridge athlete managed to strike out four batters, only allowing a single hit to end the game 4-3 in favour of the junior national team.

The next few days saw two more inter-squad matches and a game against the Washington Nationals extended squad, which was cut short after three innings due to bad weather, resulting in a 2-0 loss for the Canadians.

On Wednesday, the team was firing on all cylinders, managing to rack up 11 runs against the New York Mets extended team. Unfortunately, the Mets were still able to outscore them, with the junior national team losing by a final score of 16-11.

As one of four pitchers against the Mets, Fernandes allowed only three hits – the least of his teammates – and managed to strike out two batters.

The junior national team will finish up the spring training camp with games against the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals extended teams.

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