South Surrey pitcher back on world stage
Semiahmoo Peninsula pitcher Leon Boyd is back on the world stage.
The 29-year-old former White Rock Triton was in Tokyo, Japan last week with the Dutch national baseball team, which is competing in the World Baseball Classic.
On Thursday, Boyd’s Netherlands squad defeated Cuba 6-2 in the second round of the tournament, and Sunday, with a berth in the final round on the line, the Dutch squad again knocked off the Cuban national team 6-5. The final round will be played in San Francisco.
Prior to Thursday’s victory, the Netherlands finished with a 2-1 record in the first round, which was held in Taiwan, beating Korea 5-0 and Australia 4-1, and losing to Chinese-Taipei, 8-3.
Boyd, a six-foot-five relief pitcher, has been one of the busiest Dutch pitchers. So far in the tournament, he has pitched in four of the team’s five games, for a total of 5.2 innings. He’s allowed six hits, two walks and just one run – a home run against Cuba – in that span.
Boyd, who holds dual Canadian/Dutch citizenship, is no stranger to the World Baseball Classic, having been among its stars in the 2009 event.
In that tournament, Boyd – who has also played pro in the Dutch league – helped the Netherlands to a pair of huge upsets against a powerful Dominican Republic team – with a roster chock full of major-leaguers.
He pitched well enough to earn a contract with the Toronto Blue Jays.
Boyd pitched in the Jays’ minor-league system for a few seasons before leaving the pro game and returning to the Peninsula, where he now coaches the sport and plays in the summer for the Burnaby Bulldogs, a men’s amateur team.
Despite not playing professionally any longer, he's still a staple of the Dutch squad. He was also a member of the Dutch team that won a World Cup title in 2011 in Panama – the first time a European nation had won the tournament since 1938.
After that victory, all members of the team were knighted by Queen Beatrix, the queen regnant of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.