Ace and Vernon Wells with the Hawk.
On Monday night the Laurier Athletic Complex was a-buzz with baseball fever. The Toronto Blue Jays made Kitchener-Waterloo a stop on their 2011 Winter Tour and over a hundred local baseball players got a thrill of a lifetime as they learned various baseball skills from Major League Players.
Vernon Wells, Travis Snider, JP Arencibia and Jesse Litsch jumped on a bus and made their way down the 401 to participate in the skills clinic and give back to the local baseball associations. The tour is an effort by the Blue Jays to get back into the local Canadian communities and make the Blue Jays truly a Canadian team. Jamie Campbell of Rogers Sportsnet was the MC for the event that saw over a hundred children participate in throwing, fielding and base running drills which were led by the Major League players, as well as coaches and members of the Wilfrid Laurier men's baseball team.
"This was a huge event for us and allowed our guys to give back to the community" commented Laurier's head baseball coach, SCOTT BALLANTYNE
. "When the Blue Jays approached me asking if we could host this event I jumped all over it as I love the idea and any chance that we can get young people fired up about baseball I'm all for it. Our guys really enjoyed the event as well and got a chance to interact and hang out with professional players. This will do a lot to grow the exposure of our program."
The Blue Jays also made a donation to the local Intercounty Baseball Association and there were representatives from various local associations on hand during the clinic.
The Jays players were presented with a Laurier Baseball hat and t-shirt following the event and they graciously decided to stick around after the clinic to sign autographs for the kids. This initiative was led by Wells as he understands the importance of giving back to the community. Following the autograph signing, the players picked up some basketballs and worked on their hoops skills.
The Laurier Baseball program would like to thank the Blue Jays organization for choosing Laurier to host this event.