Success, for the Abbotsford Cardinals, can be measured in ways that extend beyond wins and losses.
After a very good regular season, the local under-18 baseball team fell just short of its ultimate goal – a berth to the B.C. Premier Baseball League’s Final Four – after bowing out to the Okanagan A’s in the quarter-finals.
But there’s still plenty of reason for the Cards to celebrate, as the program is graduating seven players who have earned college scholarships.
Four Cardinals are headed south of the border. Pitchers Matthew Forsythe and Adam Balliet are attending Cloud County Community College in Kansas, while third baseman Adam Revel is ticketed for South Mountain CC in Arizona. Catcher/outfielder Tyler Krahn is headed to Cornerstone University in Michigan.
Three others found homes in the Canadian College Baseball Conference. First baseman Nic Sheehan and catcher Jonathan Gilroy are set to suit up for Okanagan College in Penticton, while shortstop Luke Cooke will take the ferry to Nanaimo to play for the baseball institute at Vancouver Island University.
“I’ve been playing with some of these guys since I was eight or nine years old, and they’re like brothers,” Revel said, reflecting on the completion of his Cardinals career. “To see it end, it’s very emotional. But you see them going off to colleges and succeeding, and it’s a good feeling.”
For most of the players, the recruiting process was somewhat standard, consisting of Cardinals head coach Corey Eckstein producing individual highlight videos and sending them out to colleges to generate interest.
Krahn’s road to his post-secondary home was a little more colourful. He was in Florida with a B.C. selects team last fall when a scout from Cornerstone University – a non-denominational Christian school – approached his coach and asked if there were any born-again Christians on the squad. The coach pointed to Krahn.
“They watched a few of my games, and signed me three weeks later,” he explained with a chuckle. “It was kind of neat how that worked out.”
Forsythe and Balliet (Cloud County), along with Sheehan and Gilroy (Okanagan), have the rare opportunity to stick together as the move on in their baseball careers. It’s a prospect they relish.
“That’s huge,” Forsythe asserted. “I’m rooming with Adam, too, and it’s going to be a lot easier than going down there alone. I roomed with him almost every time on the road this year, so I’ll be used to it.”