Prep Baseball Report

Team Canada: Future Games 'A Can't Miss Event'

Bruce Hefflinger
PBR Canada Senior Writer

Interested in attending a PBR Ontario event? Check out our schedule by clicking here.

Complete Statistics

To view the Positional Stats, Click Here.

***** If you were on Team Canada and did not share your thoughts, feel free to email us and we will get them included within this article. *****

Team Canada: Future Games 'A Can't Miss Event'

EMERSON, Ga. - Schools from around the nation were in attendance at the eighth annual Future Games, held for the first time at LakePoint Sports Community just north of Atlanta.

From Miami, Fla. up to Boston College, to Ohio State and Vanderbilt over to Washington and down to Stanford and LSU, there were 320 college coaches in all represented. That easily surpasses the previous best mark of 253 set a year ago when the event was held at Grand Park near Indianapolis.

“With more than 300 college coaches in attendance, there is simply no better event in the country,” explained Shooter Hunt, National Crosschecker for Prep Baseball Report. “Lakepoint is a one-stop shop for recruiters. Without multiple complexes to drive to, it gives each program/coach the ideal setting to see the largest number of potential recruits in one setting. Most of the schools in attendance came with multiple coaches, and there was a large collection of head coaches that made the trip. This says it all: the Future Games is a can't miss event.”

Canada Director of Scouting Chris Kemlo came away impressed.

“Lakepoint was perfect for what players, coaches, and PBR staff needed for an event like this,” Kemlo said. “It was spacious, yet close from field to field. I really enjoyed waking up and going to the complex each day.” 

The talent, including Team Canada, also jumped out.

“As always, the amount of schools catches your attention right away, but I feel like we have made an impact with the Canadian teams we bring down and the unseen talent that makes up our roster,” Kemlo explained. “The vibe around the event seems to be that the Canadian squad is a team coaches and scouts need to make sure they see, usually more than once.”

Finding standouts on Team Canada was, admittedly, a priority of college coaches according to Hunt.

“The Canadian team might have sneakily been the biggest treasure trove for college coaches,” Hunt noted. “Everywhere that you looked, a new prospect was popping up, and each pitcher that they rolled out was excellent.”

There was certainly a lot to see no matter what team you were watching.

“I think the biggest thing that stood out this year was the overall depth of talent,” Hunt pointed out. “Speaking with some of the college coaches in attendance, and watching it myself, the average talent-level rose at this year's event. Even trying to break down a ‘top prospects’ list has been a challenge because there were so many good players.”

Kemlo was more than happy with what he saw from Team Canada.

“This year’s team was an athletic group who could hit, run, and pitch it from the mound,” explained Kemlo, whose team handed Michigan its lone defeat at the event. “The guys really stepped their game up to the level of the competition and made a great impression of themselves, their teams back home, and the country. They were an enjoyable group to be around, and I wish nothing but success and health to all of them moving forward.”

The ability to make an impression is something Hunt feels players need to understand.

“There is so much to be said about how you, as a player, handle yourself on and off the diamond throughout the event,” Hunt explained. “With the college coaches so close to the action, and getting a chance to ‘lock-in’ on their targeted players for four days, it is important to present yourself well. Those players bringing energy and enthusiasm each day definitely stood out, and their preparation pregame and generally how they carry themselves does not go unnoticed.”

No matter how the event went, the Future Games certainly leaves a lasting impression.

“It was a great experience and I appreciate the opportunity to be included,” said Turner Spoljaric, a 2021 right-handed pitcher ranked sixth in Canada, who threw 2.1 innings of relief in the win over Michigan. “I want to thank PBR for such a great experience. It was definitely a highlight in my baseball journey.”

Playing for your home country made it even more special.

“It was an amazing experience to be part of Team Canada,” said Griffin Almond, the 15th-rated junior in Canada. “I loved the group of guys that I played with and we all came together very well. It was awesome to throw that jersey on for three days in a row and just wear it with pride and joy.”

At the same time, it was about trying to make an impression to the scouts and coaches in attendance.

“This is such a great opportunity to see what talent exists in North America,” explained Nathaniel Ochoa, the lone 2022 player on Team Canada. “It helped me to set new goals for my own personal game. It is such a great way for me to showcase my baseball talent in front of so many college coaches.”

A PBR thank you to all that participated and a special thanks to the following players on Team Canada that gave their thoughts about the event (including what schools have been in contact with them since the event):

***** If you were on Team Canada and did not share your thoughts, feel free to email us and we will get them included within this article.

Griffin Almond RHP / 1B / Georgian Bay Community, ON / 2021

PBR: What were your Future Games highlights?
Hanging out with the guys during the games, seeing all the talent across North America and getting a chance to pitch for my country in front of a big crowd.

PBR: Assess your performance.
I thought that I showed well in my first inning on the mound, however my second inning was not what I would have liked it to have been  But it is what it is, and I thought I showed well over my two innings.

PBR: Give your thoughts on being part of Team Canada and what stood out.
It was an amazing experience to be part of Team Canada. I loved the group of guys that I played with and we all came together very well. It was awesome to throw that jersey on for three days in a row and just wear it with pride and joy.

PBR: Touch on the competition you faced at the event.
The competition was great. There were many great pitchers we faced at the event, some of the best I've ever seen. The hitters were just as good and the kids all had great arms and could all run very well.

PBR: How can participating in the Future Games help you in the future?
The Future Games helped me to see what my competition is like to get to the next level and I got to see how many great baseball players I have to battle with for me to be able to reach my goals. It has helped me a lot in the recruiting process, as there have been some schools starting to talk with me.

PBR: What, if any, college coaches did you talk to at the event or hear from since the event ended?
I have talked to coach O'Conner from Xavier University, coach Beemer from Ball State University, and SEMO University.

/var/www/html/login/modules/Playerss/shortcodes.json not found

Premium Content Area

This article is only available to PBRPlus Subscribers. If you wish to continue reading this article:

Login to the Subscriptions Website.
To purchase a NEW SUBSCRIPTION, please click here to go to our subscription products page.