Rempel suits up for the Abbotsford Cardinals in the B.C. Premier League.

Rempel suits up for the Abbotsford Cardinals in the B.C. Premier League.

Abby ballplayer into the swing of things in Florida

At 17, Tanner Rempel is playing with the big boys in Florida, and rubbing shoulders with prospects a half-dozen MLB teams.

Justin BEDDALL

Abbotsford News

Ever wonder how hard it is to hit a major league fastball?

Seventeen-year-old Tanner Rempel can tell you.

The Grade 12 Yale Secondary student is one of 30 players participating at Baseball Canada’s national junior team fall instructional league camp in Orlando, Fla.

The camp includes nine exhibition games against teams composed of Major League Baseball prospects from the Houston Astros, Atlanta Braves, Detroit Tigers, Washington Nationals and Toronto Blue Jays.

During his first at bat on Monday, Rempel faced an Astros pitcher with a 98-mph fastball.

“You have such a little window of time to react to where the pitch is and whether or not to swing. It comes in so fast that if you blink you won’t see the ball at all,” he explains.

In the B.C. Premier League, where he plays third base for the Abbotsford Cardinals, most pitches are in the mid- to high 80s.

Still, Rempel’s not  daunted by speed-limit change in Florida.

“Well, I knew stepping into the box that this was nothing I couldn’t handle – we have nothing to lose being so young facing these professional pitchers.”

He struck out his first at-bat but felt more comfortable his second time up knowing that “we weren’t going to see anything over 98” and cracked a hit.

“I really don’t even remember even seeing the ball. It just came in so quick. I just kind of saw it out of his hand, picked up where it was going to be, then swung. Once I saw it through the infield I felt a little bit of relief now that I had my first hit under my belt.”

During the 10-day camp, the junior Canadians are training and playing most of their games at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports facility, the spring training home of the Atlanta Braves.

“Unbelievable stadium, super nice field,” Rempel says.

And while the sprawling Walt Disney World looms in the distance, Rempel’s been too busy at the diamond to play tourist.

“[Disney World] is close, 10 minutes away. No time for that unfortunately.” .

On-field training, led by Greg Hamilton, Baseball Canada’s director of national teams, starts at 8 a.m. daily and players don’t return to their hotel rooms until 9 p.m.

“The coaching has been amazing,” says Rempel, who is hoping to earn a spot on the Canadian U18 team for the 2015 IBAF World Cup in Nishinomiya, Japan.

But for now he’s focused on the team’s remaining exhibition schedule in Florida.

Rempel, who models his game after his favourite MLB player, Brett Lawrie of the Blue Jays, is especially excited for the upcoming game against Toronto’s prospects on Oct. 12 in Dunedin, Fla.

“I’m really looking forward to playing those guys.”

Just Posted

The intersection of Blueridge Drive and Blue Jay Street is one of three intersections in Abbotsford approved for traffic lights this year. (Google Street View)
Traffic signals approved at 3 Abbotsford intersections

Projects part of $1.45M in road upgrades around community

An apartment building and townhouse project has been proposed at 2236 McCallum Rd. in Abbotsford. The development was given third reading by city council on June 14. (City of Abbotsford)
Apartment-and-townhouse project planned on McCallum Road in Abbotsford

Development across from old hospital site consists of 174 suites and 10 townhouses

Adam Hobbs went missing from a Langley work site on Monday, June 14 and may have gone to Vancouver. (Special to the Langley Advance Times)
Family, RCMP seek Abbotsford man missing from Langley job site

Adam Hobbs lives in Abbotsford and is a minor hockey referee

Police were on scene Monday afternoon (June 14) in the area of George Ferguson Way and Ware Street. (John Morrow/Abbotsford News)
Police called out after reports of possible home invasion in Abbotsford

Incident on Monday afternoon at George Ferugson Way and Ware Street

Migrating sockeye in the Fraser River August 7, 2007. (Fisheries and Oceans Canada)
First Nations, commercial, and recreational harvesters join forces to save Fraser River fish

‘We have to work together to rebuild these stocks while there is still time,’ says delegate

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
VIDEO: Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

St. Joseph's Mission site is located about six kilometres from Williams Lake First Nation. (Photo submitted)
Williams Lake First Nation to search residential school site for unmarked graves

St. Joseph’s Mission Indian Residential School operated from 1886 to 1981

Tuesday’s Lotto Max draw went unclaimed. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Tuesday’s Lotto Max draw went unclaimed. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lotto Max jackpot goes unclaimed again

42 of the 64 Maxmillion prizes of $1 million were won, the majority were sold in Ontario

FILE - This July 6, 2017 file photo shows prescription drugs in a glass flask at the state crime lab in Taylorsville, Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)
Contaminants in generic drugs may cause long-term harm to DNA: B.C. researcher

Scientist says findings suggest high volume overseas facilities require strict regulation

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., on April 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Labour shortages, closed borders major obstacles to B.C. restaurant, tourism restarts

Industry expert says it won’t start to recover until international travellers can visit

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read