Cannons ace right-hander Connor Noble is off to the Dominican Republic to pitch for the Canadian national junior team.
Noble is one of 28 players selected by Baseball Canada to compete against Dominican Summer League pro prospects from May 23 to May 30. Connor will be on the hill this Friday when Canada tackles prospects from the Milwaukee Brewers in San Pedro and then again on May 28 against the Detroit Tigers.
The DSL camp is a major step as Canada gets ready for the 18u world championship in Taiwan in early September. “This camp allows our coaches to evaluate players in a highly competitive environment,” says Greg Hamilton, the head honcho of Baseball Canada. The trip showcases prospects for scouts who are preparing for the MLB draft June 6.
Connor has also received a scholarship to play for Central Arizona Junior College, one of the premier baseball schools in North America. Reportedly, it’s the top scholarship money Central has given to a pitcher.
Max Wood should be nicknamed Maximum Wood. That’s what he produced on the weekend as the Cannons took a pair from the North Delta Blue Jays. Max delivered a pair of clutch hits to lead Vancouver to a 6-5 victory in eight innings in the second game of the DH at Queen’s.
The Cannons trailed 2-0 early in this one but they picked up a run in the fourth when Nick Favaro scored on a wild pitch. They threatened again in the sixth when singles by Tyler Smythe and Favaro ignited a two-run inning but the attack fizzled when they struck out three times in a row with the bases loaded. That left the Blue Jays with a 5-3 lead into the bottom of the seventh. At which point Sam Mitchell and Wood delivered back-to-back doubles and Max advanced to third on Smythe’s ground-out. With two strikes on Brayden Rysstad the Cannons got a break and Max scored on a wild pitch to tie the game.
Then came the dramatic eighth inning. Mohamed Imdakem led off with a groundball back to the pitcher, who threw the ball away for a three-base error. Armand Ewusie then drew a base on balls and North Delta chose to intentionally walk Mitchell.
That set the stage for Wood, who drilled a line shot down the right field line for a walk-off base hit.
Ryan Matsuda threw six solid innings for the Cannons, scattering eight hits but walking absolutely no one, and Stefan Helyar picked up the win, allowing only one hit in relief.
The Cannons won the opener 5-2 on the strength of solid pitching from Brandon Marklund, who gave up only five hits while striking out five, and Ryan McGee, who picked up the save with another pair of K’s over an inning and two-thirds. Singles by Josh Gaudette and Matsuda paced a three-run second inning and Gaudette added an RBI in the third.
The Junior Cannons got solid pitching from Isaac Greer and Cole Masik, clutch hitting from Garinder Sarana and Nicholas Carusi and a pair of outstanding catches from center-fielder Zach Chaba to post their best win of the year, stopping the Whalley Chiefs 8-1 last week.
Right-hander Greer was lights out for four innings, giving up only three hits and striking out five before giving way to Masik, who shut out the Chiefs the rest of the way.
Meanwhile, the Cannons exploded for four runs in the first inning when Christian Cullen led off with a single, Lucas Soper added a two-strike line drive base hit, Sarana pounded a two-run double over the left-fielder’s head, and Carusi and Lucas Naidu chipped in with singles of their own.
Carusi sparked another four-run outburst with a blistering double to drive in a pair, Soper had two RBI’s and Naidu went two-for-four. Chaba also added a knock and tracked a pair of line drives in the gap to preserve the win.
Brandon Marklund dealt and Tyler Smythe and Armand Ewusie crushed as the Cannons clipped the Chiefs 4-1 at Whalley Stadium.
Right-hander Marklund gave up only two hits and padded his PBL leading strikeout total with four K’s over five innings on the hill. Lefty Patrick Smythe collected the save.
Meanwhile, Tyler and Armand paced the Cannons offence. In the first frame Ewusie led off with a single and stole second, followed by a base hit from Max Wood. Tyler then ripped a double to score them both.
Ewusie, who can fly, was at it again in the top of the third, popping a triple and scoring on Ryan Matsuda’s sac fly. Wood picked up his second knock, then stole second, and Tyler drove him home with a single for his third RBI of the night. Shortstop Sam Mitchell also had a pair of hits.
Things didn’t turn out as well the next night when the North Shore Twins dropped the Cannons 5-0 at Parkgate. Twins right-hander Clark Grisbrook gave up only one base hit to Tyler Smythe, which matched his performance last season at Queen’s. In that one Grisbrook, mixing fastballs and change-ups, had a perfect game until Connor Noble singled with two out and two strikes in the bottom of the seventh.
The Junior Cannons scored two touchdowns and a field goal to out-last the North Delta Blue Jays 17-14 in a helter skelter roller coaster ride at Mackie Park.
The Cannons gave up nine runs in the third inning but showed no signs of giving up as they responded with a pair in the fifth, ramped it up for five more in the sixth and then finally iced it with six in the final frame. It was an onslaught of offence led by:
Garinder Sarana—four RBI’s on three hits, including a triple. He also scored three times.
Lichel Hirakawa-Kao—a double and a triple, plus two walks, to drive in two runs and score three himself.
Lucas Naidu—Four runs batted in on a pair of base hits.
Joey Burgess—A base hit and a walk for a pair of ribbies and he scored twice.
Nicholas Carusi also crossed the plate three times on a knock and two walks and added an RBI. And Justin Maunahan, Lucas Soper and Isaac Greer all drove in a run. Maunahan eventually picked up the win in relief, notching three K’s and stopping the Blue Jays cold in two innings on the hill.
The second game of the doubleheader was a lot tamer as North Delta bounced back to handcuff the Cannons 11-1. Still, Carusi collected a pair of hits and Maunahan doubled. Naidu singled and scored the only run for the Cannons.
Connor Noble’s ERA is almost off the charts in the early going of the PBL. The Cannons ace right-hander threw six innings as Vancouver edged the Victoria Mariners 2-1 at Queen’s Park. Noble’s ERA leads the league at a miniscule 0.37.
Connor, who pitched for the Canadian national team in April in Florida, struck out eight Mariners and gave up only three hits while throwing 97 pitches. Workhorse right-hander Brandon Marklund notched the save with another K in the seventh.
Mohamed Imdakem singled in the third and stole second and Max Wood drove him in with another base hit. A pair of Victoria errors led to the winning run in the fourth.
The Mariners picked up a split by stopping the Cannons 7-3 in the nightcap. Armand Ewusie was a one-man wrecking crew, leading the Vancouver attack with a triple in the third inning and scoring on a wild pitch. Then, in the sixth, Armand singled, stole second and Sam Mitchell drove him in with a solid knock. Ryan Matsuda allowed only two earned runs and struck out three in a tough loss.
Earlier, the Cannons were clipped 9-2 by the North Delta Blue Jays at Mackie. Markus Helyar singled and Nick Favaro and Max Wood both ripped doubles to lead the C’s offence and left-hander Patrick Smythe posted two very solid shutout innings in relief with a strikeout and no hits.
On April 25 the Junior Cannons fell 16-3 to the North Shore Twins in a game marred by an accident that took Thomas Espig to the hospital after being hit in the face by a bad hop at Queen’s Park. Thomas lost seven pints of blood before the surgeons at Vancouver Children’s Hospital stopped the bleeding. It was a tragedy that made the game absolutely meaningless.
A week later the Cannons bounced back and played the Twins to a standstill before losing 6-5 in eight innings.
Lichel Hirakawa-Kao made his first start on the mound for Vancouver and it was impressive to say the least. Lichel went three innings and handcuffed the Twins, striking out two, walking only one and allowing no hits at all. Daniel Gosselin was also solid on the hill for two and one-third innings, giving up one hit and notching four K’s.
Lucas Soper led the Cannons attack with a pair of hits, including a triple, and another pair of walks. Garinder Sarana and Nicholas Carusi both drove in runs and Christian Cullen did the job as a lead-off man, drawing three bases on balls and scoring three runs.
It has been a roller coaster year for the Junior Cannons with more ups and downs than a runaway elevator. The doubleheader they played on the Island is a classic example.
The Cannons were hammered 11-1 by the Victoria Mariners in the opener with only Lucas Soper and Garinder Sarana managing base hits.
But the young Cannons showed resilience and courage as they battled back in the nightcap, edging the Mariners 5-4. Outfielder Zach Chaba scored the winning run when he singled and stole second in the fifth inning and Christian Cullen drove him in. Joey Burgess had a pair of hits and stole two bases, Lucas Naidu walked twice and drove in two runs with a double, Soper added a pair of RBI’s, and Sarana chipped in with a single and a stolen base.
Right-hander Justin Maunahan scattered five hits in three innings on the mound and Isaac Greer dominated for three shutout frames, striking out six Mariners. Soper picked up the save by striking out a pair in the seventh.
One of the key elements to a solid offence is a lead-off man who gets pitches to hit, doesn’t swing at curveballs on the ground, makes good contact, drives the ball…and can run like the wind.
Armand Ewusie has delivered on all accounts leading off for the Cannons this season. The doubleheader in Parksville was an excellent example.
Armand ignited the Cannons in the first inning, drilling a triple in the gap, and then scoring on Ryan Matsuda’s sacrifice fly. It was really all Connor Noble needed. Noble notched a season high strikeout total, 12 K’s in all, as the Cannons blanked the Parksville Royals 2-0. Matsuda picked up the save by fanning one more hitter in the bottom of the seventh.
Another key element is a hitter who can drive in runs without even posting a hit and Matsuda gave a seminar on that quality. First the sac fly. And then, after singles by Sam Mitchell and Ewusie in the third, Ryan drove in the second run on a groundout to short. Two runs batted in without a base hit, the epitome of productive outs.
Matsuda delivered a pair of knocks and two walks as the Cannons won the nightcap 5-3. Vancouver scored three in the third when Ian Creamore doubled, Mohamed Imdakem and Tyler Smythe both singled, and Nick Favaro put the icing on the cake with a two-run double. In the fifth DH Noble doubled, Favaro singled and Max Wood collected an RBI with another base hit. Then, in the sixth, Matsuda doubled and scored on a single by Patrick Smythe.
Meanwhile, Stefan Helyar was mowing them down on the hill, a dominant peformance, allowing only four hits in seven innings of work, while striking out seven and throwing 104 pitches.
Lucas Soper recorded a mound gem as the Junior Cannons stopped Abbotsford 10-1 in the opener of a doubleheader at Queen’s. Lucas handcuffed the Cardinals on two hits over six innings, while striking out five and walking absolutely no one. Daniel Gosselin wrapped it up in the seventh for the save.
The Cannons opened the scoring in the first when Thomas Espig singled and scored on Lichel Hirakawa-Kao’s double. Then, in the fifth, they exploded for five runs on a barrage of hits from Garinder Sarana, Soper, Dignan Ius, Blake Hobson-Dimas, Nicholas Carusi and Lichel. Ius finished with two hits and two RBI’s and Espig added two walks.
The nightcap was a 10-inning marathon with Abby edging the Cannons 4-3. Espig threw four innings in this one, giving up only four hits while striking out nine. And Cole Masik notched nine more K’s over six innings, throwing 119 pitches and also allowing only four hits. Eighteen strikeouts over 10 innings is a career for some pitchers.
Ius doubled in the sixth to drive in a run and scored on a passed ball and Hirakawa-Kao added an RBI single. Soper had the other Cannons knock.
Brandon Marklund leads the PBL in strikeouts and Connor Noble has the lowest ERA. It was no surprise then when they combined to clip the North Shore Twins 2-1, allowing only three hits at Parkgate.
Right-hander Marklund tossed the first five innings, striking out five. Noble, just back from pitching for the Canadian national junior team, then iced it with a save and four K’s in two innings.
Ryan Matsuda went two-for-three for the Cannons, including a single in the third. Markus Helyar added another knock and Tyler Smythe drilled a clutch double in the gap to drive in both runs.
The Cannons spread their attack over six hitters and Ryan Matsuda was lights out as Vancouver stopped White Rock 7-2 at South Surrey Athletic.
Nick Favaro—two hits, including a two-run double that opened the first inning with a bang.
Markus Helyar—Two more knocks and an RBI.
Patrick Smythe—Another pair of hits, including a double, plus an RBI.
Armand Ewusie—A lead-off double and a pair of ribbies.
Tyler Smythe—A double and two walks.
Brayden Rysstad—An RBI base hit.
Meanwhile, Matsuda went about his business on the hill in his usual professional manner. Ryan went the distance, throwing only 78 pitches, a tribute to his command, relinquishing only four hits and one walk, and striking out six Tritons.
The Junior Cannons exploded for 11 runs in the second inning as they toppled the North Delta Blue Jays 14-4 at Queen’s.
Lichel Hirakawa-Kao crushed a two-run triple to pace the onslaught that included base knocks from Ethan Taylor, Thomas Espig, Girander Sarana, Nicholas Carusi and Lucas Naidu. Overall, Hirakawa-Kao and Lucas Soper notched three RBI’s on two hits each and Espig and Naidu both drove in a pair. Espig and Justin Maunahan combined for three strikeouts on the mound to post the win.
It was the initial victory for the Junior Cannons, who lost their opening doubleheader in Langley, dropping a 5-1 decision in the opener before being edged 3-2 in the nightcap.
Maunahan drove in the run in game one with a double and Espig walked twice and stole a pair of bags. Soper threw five innings, giving up only three hits, and Isaac Greer struck out a pair of Blaze hitters in the sixth.
Malik Gleason was solid on the hill for four innings in the second game, scattering five hits with two K’s, and Espig struck out two more in two innings of work. Maunahan popped two base hit knocks and drove in a run.
2009—Vaughn Covington, Rowan Wick, Tom Robson
Rowan was drafted in the 19th round by the Brewers but didn’t sign. After a year at St. John’s University and another at Cypress Hills JC in California he was drafted in the 9th round by the Cardinals and signed for $75,000. He spent last season in Florida’s Gulf Coast League.
Rowan can crush. He recently ripped seven jacks in the semi-finals of the Los Angeles Trinity Home Run Challenge, which was attended by Angels slugger Mark Trumbo. Rowan took BP and caught bull pens with the Cannons during winter training.
Vaughn was drafted in the 11th round by the Reds, signed for $150,000 and played last season for Cincinnati’s Arizona Rookie League club.
Tommy was drafted in the 4th round and signed for $325,000. He spent last season with the Bluefield Blue Jays, Toronto’s Appalachian League team.
Connor is with national team in Florida for the next two weeks. He’s already received a load of college scholarship offers, which will multiply as he progresses this summer.
All NEW players, 14 to 18, are welcome.