The U16 Team Alberta tryouts were hosted in Strathmore over the Aug. 19 weekend, with the three-day long tournament determining next year’s provincial team.
Among the players from the Zone 2 team is Strathmore’s Aubrey Stender, who was selected to participate in the tournament from the Strathmore Reds.
Andy Stender, Aubrey’s father, said though the tournament wasn’t one of a more competitive nature for a provincial title, all the participating players are there to show off in hopes of being selected to play for Team Alberta.
“What we basically have is … the best 15-year-old players in Alberta. And basically, the province has split up into eight zones and each zone had a large group bulk trial,” said Stender, who explained that several large trial camps were held to assemble the eight zone teams all over the province. Strathmore, included in Zone 2, being the southernmost situated.
“Basically, what it is, is an evaluation camp for what will be the U16 Team Alberta next year. Team Alberta plays in all events, including a fall cup, there’s one in the spring and then of course, the bigger one is the summer games in Ontario,” said Stender.
The Zone 2 team is comprised of kids from High River to Olds, and east towards the Saskatchewan border. Aubrey Stender is the only athlete on the Zone 2 team hailing from Strathmore, though Strathmore hosted the zone tournament.
According to Stender, the Zone 2 team has been practicing together since the conclusion of the regular baseball Alberta season provincials, roughly three weeks ago.
“The team has kind of been put together for probably, I’d say six weeks total,” said Stender. “What had happened was they selected I think it was about 20 kids … (and) we had a second kind of trial camp. Out of that, we kept 17.”
Though the team selection took place in July, practices together did not start until the first week of August.
Stender added the tournament itself is not one of particular competition, but more-so as an evaluation camp in the form of a tournament. Inter-player competition is centered around vying for spots on Team Alberta as opposed to winning a sort of championship.
Friday’s games were hosted in Cheadle, with Saturday and Sunday having been hosted at the Kinsmen Park ball diamond.
John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times