Chilliwack getting college baseball team

Ex-UBC pitching coach Shawn Corness will guide a new crew in the Canadian College Baseball Conference.

Jared DeVuyst of the Chilliwack midget AAA Cougars makes a hit during a doubleheader game against the Vernon Canadians at Fairfield Island Park last Saturday. DeVuyst and other Chilliwackians are getting a new local option for post-secondary baseball with the introduction of a Canadian College Baseball Conference franchise.

Jared DeVuyst of the Chilliwack midget AAA Cougars makes a hit during a doubleheader game against the Vernon Canadians at Fairfield Island Park last Saturday. DeVuyst and other Chilliwackians are getting a new local option for post-secondary baseball with the introduction of a Canadian College Baseball Conference franchise.

The Fraser Valley Collegiate Baseball Group is bringing a new team to Chilliwack this fall.

Led by deep-pocketed local businessman Brian Finnie, the FVCBG has been green-lighted by the Canadian College Baseball Conference, granted a franchise that will start play in September.

“My son is 13 years old and we’ve realized more and more that the top players migrate away from Chilliwack because there’s no where to go in the higher levels of baseball,” Finnie said. “This team is going to change things for a lot of young people.”

The group is looking to affiliate with the University of the Fraser Valley, and UFV is reviewing their application.

If UFV accepts — and reading between lines at the introductory press conference, it seems as close to a done deal as it can be — Finnie would look to run the fledgling program as a ‘club team’ for a year or two with the long-term aim of applying for varsity status.

UFV has acknowledged the existence of the application and will make an announcement soon.

“Some of these kids who don’t see school as an attainable goal, we can work with them in special prograns, tutor them and upgrade their grades,” Finne said. “We want to do whatever we can so we don’t lose them through the cracks — thinking they’re going to be major league baseball players and forgetting about their education.”

Finnie has already secured a head coach, luring Shawn Corness away from the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds, where he’d been for nearly a decade.

Before that Corness coached at Kwantlen and he’s also scouted for the San Francisco Giants.

“In business you build around key people, and here’s some things you’d probably never hear from Shawn,” Finnie said. “Five provincial, three Western Canadian, two national and one World Series title. Sixteen major league draft picks and 32 years of coaching. He’s a premier guy, as good as they get.”

Corness has already started recruiting. Fifteen players have signed letters of intent for 2016, including six Chilliwack Minor Baseball products.

Longtime CMBA coach/manager Lee Rogers will serve as the new team’s general manager.

The team will play its home games at Fairfield Island.

The CCBC regular season normally runs from mid-March to the second weekend of May.

The new team will be the sixth in the league, joining two foes — the Calgary Dinos and Thompson Rivers Wolfpack — who are familiar to UFV sports fans.

The Prairie Baseball Academy has won the last five CCBC titles, and is based out of Lethbridge, AB.

The Okanagan College Coyotes play out of Kelowna’s Elks Stadium and the Vancouver Island Baseball Institute (VIBI) Mariners are based in Nanaimo.

“The league is excited to be adding a team in the Lower Mainland,” said CCBC president Ted Hotzak. “There’s tremendous elite-level baseball talent in the Fraser Valley that will now have an opportunity to showcase itself at the college level right at home.”

The CCBC is under the umbrella of the Premier Baseball Association and is affiliated with the BC Premier Baseball League and BC Junior Premier Baseball League.

Economically, Finnie expects to carry a heavy load for the first two years.

Player fees help off-set costs, but Finnie is also looking for partners who share his passion for baseball.

For more information contact Rogers by email at leerogers999@gmail.com or call 604-316-0188

 

— Find more in-depth coverage in Friday’s Progress sports section.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Jessica Peters is a reporter at the Chilliwack Progress.
COLUMN: Bouncing back from a brain injury isn’t easy

‘We didn’t know how bad it was until I tried to return to work’

The 11th annual Christmas Stocking Drive hosted by Royal LePage runs now until Dec. 11. (David Sucsy, Getty Images via Metro Creative Graphics)
Chilliwack Realtors asking people to help fill Christmas stockings for kids, seniors

Donations of cash, items needed for Christmas Stocking Drive hosted by Royal LePage

The BC Court of Appeal in Vancouver.
BC Court of Appeal hearing Barry Neufeld’s arguments why defamation suit should go ahead

BC Supreme Court tossed out lawsuit against Glen Hansman a year ago following anti-SLAPP legislation

File
Exterior Christmas decorators wanted Agassiz Seniors Community

Call to action to brighten the upcoming holiday season for isolated seniors

A new ‘soft reporting’ room is opening inside the Ann Davis Transition Society offices on Dec. 1, 2020 which is thought to be the first of its kind in B.C. (Ann Davis Transitional Society/ Facebook)
First ‘trauma-informed’ reporting room of its kind in B.C. opening in Chilliwack

The ‘Willow Room’ is for reporting domestic violence, sexual, or gender-based violence to police

A man wearing a face mask to help curb the spread of COVID-19 walks in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest day of pandemic with 13 deaths, 738 new COVID-19 cases

Number of people in hospital is nearing 300, while total cases near 30,000

The COVID-19 test centre at Peace Arch Hospital is located on the building’s south side. (Tracy Holmes photo)
B.C. woman calls for consistency in COVID-19 post-test messaging

‘Could we just get one thing straight?’ asks Surrey’s Deb Antifaev

(File photo)
Alberta woman charged after allegedly hitting boy with watermelon at Okanagan campsite

Police say a disagreement among friends at an Adams Lake campsite turned ugly

Court of Appeal for British Columbia in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. woman loses appeal to have second child by using late husband’s sperm

Assisted Human Reproduction Act prohibits the removal of human reproductive material from a donor without consent

B.C. projects targeting the restoration of sockeye salmon stocks in the Fraser and Columbia Watersheds will share in $10.9 million of federal funding to protect species at risk. (Kenny Regan photo)
13 projects protecting B.C. aquatic species at risk receive $11 million in federal funding

Salmon and marine mammals expected to benefit from ecosystem-based approach

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

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

File photo
Surrey RCMP investigating death threat against Surrey councillor

‘On Monday morning I received a threat on messenger that basically said to put a bullet in me,’ Councillor Jack Hundial told the Now-Leader

Krista Macinnis displays the homework assignment that her Grade 6 daughter received on Tuesday. (Submitted photo)
B.C. mom angry that students asked to list positive stories about residential schools

Daughter’s Grade 6 class asked to write down 5 positive stories or facts

Most Read