St. Marys ball player seeking Division 1 U.S. baseball scholarship
By Pat Payton
SANFORD, Fla. – It appears that Jake Douglas put himself on the ‘baseball radar’ here over March break. The St. Marys native attended a week-long baseball camp with the U-18 Ontario Nationals, and was named Spring Training MVP.
The first-time camp, held north of Orlando, was sponsored by PBR Ontario (Prep Baseball Report) which ranks and promotes young ball players.
Douglas, who displayed impressive and consistent power, was the story of the week — going 8-for-15 with one home run, one triple, four doubles, two singles and three walks. “He definitely put himself on the map, and he has earned every single bit of it,” Jeremy Jayaweera, the Nationals’ Director of Baseball Operations and manager, said in a press release. “As an organization, we were happy that people got to see Jake during game play.
“He has developed into a mature player, and it showed. Being his graduating year, we couldn’t of asked for anything more during this trip. We cannot wait for what comes next for Jake,” he added.
Douglas, who is 5 ft., 11 inches and 180 lbs., slugged the first and only home run by a Canadian player at the camp “sending a pitch over the fence by a mile” at the Boombah Sports Complex.
“Right away when I hit the ball, I knew it was going to go and it felt good just to get off to a good start to the year and it really sets the tempo for myself as well as our team, and I think it really just kind of fired everybody up,” Douglas said in the press release.
His improved athleticism was also evident at the camp as he ran a 7.02 second 60-yard dash.
Lots of hitting
It was obvious as well what Douglas had focused on during his off-season.
“Lots of hitting,” Douglas said. “I’ve always been a big fan of getting in the cages a lot and taking some swings and consistently working out a lot as well. I feel like strength is a big part of my game and I wanted to build on that and continue to get better.”
Nationals went 3-3 at the eight-day spring training camp, including a two-game split with TNXL Academy from Florida, a team with 12 players committed to Division 1 U.S. schools. A total of 10 teams, including five or six from Canada, took part in the PBR camp.
Primarily an infielder
Douglas, who recently turned 19, is primarily a catcher and first baseman, and also plays a little in the outfield with the Nationals, a team stocked with players from all over the province. He is now looking forward to the Canadian Premier Baseball League (CPBL) season, which kicks off May 2. Nats’ first home game is Sunday, May 5.
The CPBL is widely regarded as one of the best high school-aged leagues in the country. For Douglas, it will be his second season with the U-18 Nationals and fourth summer in the Nationals’ baseball program. The Nats play their home games at the Baseball Hall of Fame’s Cement field, and practice at facilities in Kitchener and Guelph.
There are about 30 games in the CPBL regular schedule. Spring training and tournament games turn it into approximately a 60-game season. From May to July, Nationals play doubleheaders every weekend at the CBHFM’s Cement field.
Other teams in the CPBL are: Great Lakes Canadians, Ontario Blue Jays, Toronto Mets, Fieldhouse Pirates out of Burlington, and Team Ontario based out of Aurora.
U.S. scholarship a goal
A goal for Douglas is to obtain a Division 1 baseball scholarship south of the border. His recent MVP week at spring training in Florida certainly won’t hurt his chances.
“That’s the plan,” Douglas told the Independent. “I’ve had a few emails to me directly. My coaches have also been talking to a few schools.”
–While attending high school, Douglas played for the DCVI Salukis baseball team.
–Jake’s favourite Major League ball player is Toronto Blue Jays’ first baseman Justin Smoak.
–Jake is the son of Dan and Wanda Douglas, of St. Marys.