Kelowna’s entry in B.C.’s midget AAA baseball league has a new name and new look for 2016.
The Kelowna Sun Devils will make their official debut when they kick off the regular season next Wednesday night at Lombardy Park against the Vernon Canadians.
The Sun Devils are the product of a merger between the Kelowna and Rutland baseball associations, which is now known as COMBA (Central Okanagan Minor Baseball Association).
Sun Devils head coach Rob Law—who coached the Kelowna Cubs U18 team last season—is excited about the new arrangement for minor baseball in the region.
“Two big associations coming together, I think it’ll be a big asset for our kids,” said Law. “It should help them better compete against teams from the coast, and should also benefit the overall development of the game in our area.”
The Sun Devils will compete in the 11-team B.C. Midget AAA (U18) Baseball League, playing a 40-game schedule.
Based on talent and attitude, Law expects his team to more than hold its own this season.
“We’ve got a better all-around team than we had last year, so I think we’ll do well,” he said. “We’re young, but we have some really good athletes. We’ve got kids that are fired up to play and compete, so I think it’s going to be a fun year.”
Eight of the 11 teams will qualify for provincials and Law fully expects his Sun Devils to be included in that group.
Kelowna has six returnees this season and will look for leadership from the likes of clean-up hitter Brandon Denis, as well as Noah Ringness-Law who led the team in hitting (.396) and stolen bases last season (54).
The Sun Devils will also feature the first female player to play at the U18 boys level in Kelowna, Kensington Renneberg.
The 2016 Sun Devils are: Brandon Denis, Brandon Mallam-Kunz, Noah Ringness-Law, Gavin Barrett , Jonathan McCarthy, Kurtis Wall , Tyson Lamb, Matt Aschenbrenner, Kensington Renneberg, Zane Webber, Noah Foufoulas, Jackson Sowerby, Spencer Klassen, Jackson Miner, Jordan Laidlaw , Jay Taylor and Nathan Ringness-Law.
The coaches are Rob Law, Travis Kunz, Derek Renneberg and Jeff Minary.
Meanwhile, the West Kelowna D’Backs, who were in the B.C. midget U18 league last year, have moved over to the B.C.’s eight-team College Prep League for 2016.