Maple Ridge’s Michael Stovman hit a great landmark in the career of a young hardball prospect – making the provincial team.
And what makes him an even better prospect is the fact that he did it at the age of 16 – he’s one of only three Grade 10 players with Team B.C. for the Canada Cup. That tournament goes in Saskatoon, Sask. on Aug. 5-10.
The Thomas Haney secondary student played minor baseball locally until second year pee wee. Now he’s with the Langley Blaze organization, playing for its junior team, and he tore up the B.C. Junior Premier Baseball League in both hitting and pitching. He was among the top 10 in the league both on the mound and in the batter’s box.
As a pitcher he was stellar. He topped in the league in ERA at 1.21, and was second in both wins (seven) and strikeouts.
He pitched in nine games, starting seven of them. He won every start, and pitched a complete game in four of them. In 46.1 innings pitched he allowed just 28 hits and eight earned runs. He struck out 39, walking 17.
As great as those numbers are, Langley Blaze GM Doug Mathieson thinks Stovman will make his mark with a bat.
“I think he’s more of a hitter,” said Mathieson, who heads up arguably the best program for high school kids in the country, having graduated the likes of former Toronto Blue Jay Brett Lawrie and more recently Maple Ridge’s Tyler O’Neill, who is a prospect in the Seattle Mariners’ system.
He said Stovman is a left-handed hitter, which is a positive, and he’s “a solid, physical kid,” listed at six-foot-two and 200 pounds.
“He’s a line drive hitter, makes solid contact, and he’s got some strength and power to the opposite field.”
Through 25 games, 75 at bats with the Junior Blaze, the corner infielder hit .373 (ninth in the league) with seven doubles, one homer and 19 RBI, while scoring 17 runs. The RBI total was good for seventh in the league.
He moved up to the Blaze senior team, and continued to hit, batting .345 in 13 games, and also allowed two earned runs in 10 innings as a pitcher.
In the pecking order of prospects with the Blaze, Stovman is “right up there,” said Mathieson.
“He’s got a good future.”