The Oshawa 17U Legionaires have been one of the frontrunners since the opening weekend of the PBLO regular season. They finished the season with the most wins in the league with a 12-6 record. Add to this that the majority of the competition is a year older than the 17U Legionaires, something that should not be simply brushed off. Overcoming physical and mental hurdles, the 17U Legionaires are one of the favourites to take the league title this weekend.
One would think that playing an entire age group up would be a disadvantage, but the team and the coaching staff hardly even thought about it. In a conversation with Coach Aaron Marshall, he said that “it hasn’t been a focus for his team throughout the year.” And looking at the standings as well as the margin of victory in those games, it obviously hasn’t been a hindrance to their performance as they have been ahead of the pack from day 1.
“There are a lot of great run programs out there, and we wanted to measure ourselves up to the best,” head coach Aaron Marshall said about his team.
The 17U Legionaires have had great coaching, which has developed their players to where they are today.
“We have a great coaching staff, which is an integral part of our success. Tony Quick and I have shared coaching duties throughout our time together. Tony has a great baseball mind and has developed our defence to take pride in the little things,” Marshall said.
They also added two former college grads, Connor May and Kadeev Bembridge. Being closer in age to the players, these two connected with the players as they preached the importance of hard work and discipline.
When asked if there were any breakout players from his club, Coach Marshall said he had to shout out Michael Quick.
“We have a lot of players that work hard, but Michael Quick is having one of those breakout seasons. He has always been one of our hardest workers, and he used this pandemic to further develop himself. He came back this season stronger, which has shown with his strength as a hitter.”
The Legionaires leadoff hitter is hitting just under .500 on the season and sees a fair amount of pitches every at-bat, which should help the rest of the team see the opposing pitcher’s pitch selection.
“He has been key behind the plate for us this year and does a great job calling the game for us.”
A fun and interesting part of their success lies in their post-practice routine in which the 17U Legionaires participate in yoga to calm the body and the mind.
“We have been fortunate to have a certified yoga instructor guide us through a yoga session at the end of each practice,” Coach Marshall stated. “The players and coaches have found this to be a great way to centre us at the end of practice. Doris Quick has been a great addition to our team in guidance and reflection.”
Teams usually have an extensive warmup routine but forget about the cool-down phase, making this effective at injury prevention as well as a mental health benefit.
The Oshawa 17U Legionaires have overwhelmed the competition with their high level of play, and all of this comes with another year of development in the tank.
“We feel that competing at our level and playing the game the way we do when we do the little things well big things happen,” Coach Marshall said about his club. “Regardless of wins and losses, we focused on the areas we knew we needed to get better in and as we faced teams, we saw other areas we needed to develop.”
The Legionaires, as well as all other teams in the 18U division, are prepared for the 18U Championship Tournament with games beginning Friday, August 13th.