Humber baseball, softball recruitment camp

Men’s Baseball head coach Denny Berni addresses a crowd of eager young prospects pooled from all over Southern Ontario. (Katherine Green) Men’s Baseball head coach Denny Berni addresses a crowd of eager young prospects pooled from all over Southern Ontario. (Katherine Green)
By Katherine Green

Ontario’s next generation of elite ball players showcased their talent and abilities in hopes of being slated as future college-calibre athletes; and perhaps worthy of wearing a Humber Hawks blue and gold jersey.

The Humber men’s baseball and women’s softball programs hosted back-to-back prospects camps over the reading break on Feb. 15.

The teams invited nearly 90 athletes between the two camps to showcase their skills for the coaches and returning veteran players. But it was also Humber’s opportunity to promote their programs’ impressive resources offered to student-athletes on and off the field.

Assistant coach Matthew Ferreira is the lead recruitment liaison for the men’s baseball team. He recognizes that the off-season grants a head start on finding those players that are potential gems in the rough.

“Based on current players now and past players we know where the needs are,” Ferreira said. “We have pitching coming back, but we’re still looking for three or four next level pitchers, and then after that it’s the best available athlete.”

Returning Hawks’ outfielder Andrew Thomson was a prospect in last year’s evaluation camp after coming off a three-season career played at Western University.

“University is four-year schooling so there is a lot less turnover,” Thomson said. “At Humber our right fielder this year was only here for a year program and our short-stop for two. So building a program can be a bit more difficult.”

Players as young as 16, and from as far as Ottawa, were invited to the 2015 men’s baseball camp to broaden the recruitment pool. Ferreira anticipates that early exposure to Ontario college ball will facilitate a slew of top prospects to join the Humber family for the 2016-17 and later seasons.

For now Ferreira is confident this camp spells success for the immediate future.

On the women’s side, assistant coach Duaine Bowles approaches the recruitment in a similar way to offset the challenge of shorter college careers.

“We want to get some girls that will be good for the long term, we want to make it in the situation were we win and keep winning,” he said.

Despite having a focus on certain spots, the coaches from both teams are always looking for talent that could improve their team.

“We never turn away anyone, we could find a diamond in the rough,” Bowles said.

“Case in point, last year we found Kaitlyn Piteck and she is one of our most valuable players on our roster,” he said. “She just showed up out of the blue.”