The B.C. Premier Baseball League’s North Delta Blue Jays are welcoming back four Richmond players for the fall campaign.
Dustin McElwain, Jonny McGill, Peter Broderick and Reid Dawson were all rookies this past regular season on a Blue Jays senior team that started with a lot of promise, but in the end couldn’t pull through.
“It was a real learning experience for a lot of our guys playing at the Senior PBL level”, said head coach Ernie Hawkins. “Guys come into this league having had success in BC Minor or the Junior PBL, but most PBL teams are loaded with Grade 12s who will be making the jump to college ball and it’s tough to compete with a young team.”
Fifteen of the 18 Jays were rookies so they’ll be big expectations in 2019.
Leading the city contingent was Dawson, a 6-foot-2 right-hander Dawson who finished top 10 in the league with a 2.23 ERA and in a team-high 16 starts. The Grade 12 McMath Secondary student concluded his summer on the B.C. Selects team that finished second at the Canada Cup in Moncton, NB.
He finished with a 1-0 record, defeating eventual champion Ontario to help B.C. secure a semi-final berth.
Dawson also pitched on the Nike MLB Showcase team.
McGill capped his underclassmen season with a selection to the 16U BC Prospects team. That September stint features games against some of the best players from the Pacific Northwest. The Grade 11 Burnett Secondary student and catcher played in 45 games last season with the Blue Jays. McGill still has two more years of eligibility.
Coming back for their final season of eligibility are Broderick and McElwain — both outfielders who are in their Grade 12 years at Steveston-London.
The Jays have a heavy workload to prepare for the 2019 season.
Fall Ball runs through Thanksgiving.
That will be followed by winter training and spring trips to Florida, Kamloops, Kelowna and Okotoks, AB. Hawkins believes this group can compete for a provincial championship.
Blue Jays alumni include former American League MVP Justin Morneau, pitcher Jeff Francis and current Seattle Mariners ace James Paxton.