Midget baseball has been the highest level played at Fairfield Island to date

Midget baseball has been the highest level played at Fairfield Island to date

Corness building new team from scratch

Shawn Corness will need all of his recruiting contacts to make Chilliwack's college baseball team competitive from the start.

Shawn Corness was feeling bold Tuesday morning.

Coaches in any sport at any level don’t often make predictions or set expectations too high.

They open themselves up to second guessing if they fall short, so they just keep their mouths shut. But Corness, the newly-minted head coach of Chilliwack’s newly-minted collegiate baseball team delivered a doozy at the introductory press-conference.

“My hope is within three years we’re competing in the final game for a Canadian College Baseball Conference championship,” he said.

The six-team league his team joins has been dominated by the Lethbridge-based Prairie Baseball Academy, winners of the last five CCBC championships.

They are the big dogs Corness and company will be chasing down, and he anticipates epic clashes with PBA.

“Todd (Hubka) has done a great job of recruiting, has some good connections across the country including a really strong one in Nova Scotia,” Corness said. “He’s drawn a lot of quality players from back east. They have a great facility. He runs his program well and I look forward to bringing us up alongside.”

Corness has his own network of Canadian contacts, developed over the last decade, seeking recruits for the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds. He doesn’t feel overmatched by anyone in the recruiting game and feels he has an edge building a roster that will be competitive from day one.

“We’ve been on the go about two weeks now and we already have 15 signed recruits,” Corness mentioned. “We have another 10 guys who are excited about this and close to signing. They’re excited about being the first guys in here to kick this off.”

“We’re giving them the challenge of a new program where, ‘It’s not going to be easy boys, but you get to be the first guys in something that’s going to grow and flourish over the years.’”

Corness leaves a championship calibre program at UBC to do this.

There’s excitement as he starts something from scratch and puts his own stamp on it.

There’s also nervousness, a little fear of the unknown.

“When you talk about UBC you’re talking about the number one program in the country, so it wasn’t easy making the decision to leave,” said Corness, who served as UBC’s pitching/assistant coach. “I had 10 years and a lot of great experiences there, and when you start something new there’s a lot of, ‘What’s it going to be like next week? Next month? Next year?’ So yes, there’s nervousness. But also a lot of excitement.”

Still up in the air is how closely, if at all, his program will be affiliated with the University of the Fraser Valley.

Corness sounded confident something will happen, but UFV was more cautious, saying the application is still ‘in process’ with nothing green-lighted.

No matter what, the program will hold ‘club team’ status for the first two years, with a long term goal of becoming a UFV varsity squad.

“Down the road hopefully UFV looks at us, sees a really formidable club and thinks we should be a varsity program.” Corness said. “Having varsity status with UFV would get us support from the school, financially and otherwise, which helps. And just having that affiliation with them and being the UFV Cascades would make it more legitimate.”

“Our players will have to be enrolled in a minimum of six credits the first year, and academics will be first and foremost with our program.”

Of the 15 recruits Corness has landed so far, six are from Chilliwack, including Liam ‘Soupy’ Campbell.

“My goal for a long time has been to play university baseball, and I thought I’d have to leave Chilliwack to do it,” Campbell said. “I was selected to play for the Premier Baseball League’s Abbotsford Cardinals, but when I heard about this I decided to stay.”

“It was the best baseball decision I ever made because I won a Western Canadian Championship with Shawn’s midget AAA team last summer, and now I get this opportunity to stay home and still be coached by him.”

Corness seems to inspire rave reviews from all his players, and Campbell’s no different.

“A lot of coaches will get mad and scream and throw stuff, and punishment running’s a big thing with some guys,” he said. “Shawn’s a guy who’s easy to play for as long as you stay focused and play hard.”

Campbell was offered a spot this year on one of Chilliwack’s soon-to-be rivals, the Thompson Rivers University Wolfpack.

But the opportunity to get in on the ground floor of a new program was too appealing.

“I think this will be much more rewarding,” he said. “We’ve got guys here who are ready to work hard. We’re going to have a good young team and I think we’re going to be very competitive.”

Get CCBC info at ccbc.pointstreaksites.com/view/ccbc

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

Just Posted

Stephanie Higginson, president of the B.C. School Trustees Association, says people need to focus their attention on the upcoming byelection in Chilliwack. (BCSTA image)
‘Let’s not talk about Barry’ says BCSTA president on Chilliwack trustee

Higginson says impending Chilliwack byelection will require ‘laser focus’ to ensure balance of power

New Chilliwack Chief Ray Fust.
Chilliwack Chief Ray Fust in the mix for Swiss U20 roster spot

Fust is hoping to make the team that will compete in the World Junior Hockey Championships

An employee at a Chilliwack McDonald’s location tested positive for COVID on Nov. 21 (File photo by The Associated Press)
Employee tests positive for COVID-19 at McDonald’s restaurant in Chilliwack

One case was detected at the Vedder Road location, which briefly closed its doors

Asbestos bag from 2011. (Chilliwack Progress file)
New limits coming for asbestos at the Bailey Landfill in Chilliwack

Restricted to 20 bags per day per property because they don’t have capacity for larger loads

Cascade Falls Regional Park is one of several Fraser Valley parks that saw record usage during the summer of 2020. (File photo)
Residents flock to Fraser Valley parks amid pandemic

Some trails saw usage double during summer months of 2020

Kyle Charles poses for a photo in Edmonton on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. Marvel Entertainment, the biggest comic book publisher in the world, hired the 34-year-old First Nations illustrator as one of the artists involved in Marvel Voice: Indigenous Voices #1 in August. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
VIDEO: Indigenous illustrator of new Marvel comic hopes Aboriginal women feel inspired

Kyle Charles says Indigenous women around the world have reached out

B.C. Liberal MLA Shirley Bond questions NDP government ministers in the B.C. legislature, Feb. 19, 2020. (Hansard TV)
Cabinet veteran Shirley Bond chosen interim leader of B.C. Liberals

28-member opposition prepares for December legislature session

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, November 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-19: What do rising positivity rates mean for B.C.? It’s not entirely clear

Coronavirus cases are on the rise but the province has not unveiled clear thresholds for further measures

A rider carves a path on Yanks Peak Saturday, Nov. 21. Two men from Prince George went missing on the mountain the next day. One of them, Colin Jalbert, made it back after digging out his sled from four feet under the snow. The other, Mike Harbak, is still missing. Local search and rescue teams went out looking Monday, Nov. 23. (Sam Fait Photo)
‘I could still be the one out there’: Snowmobiler rescued, 1 missing on northern B.C. mountain

As Quesnel search and rescue teams search for the remaining rider, Colin Jalbert is resting at home

Care home staff are diligent about wearing personal protective equipment when they are in contact with residents, but less so when they interact with other staff members, B.C. Seniors Advocate says. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
More COVID-19 testing needed for senior home staff, B.C.’s advocate says

Employees mingling spotted as virus conductor in many workplaces

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

This 2019 photo provided by The ALS Association shows Pat Quinn. Quinn, a co-founder of the viral ice bucket challenge, died Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, at the age of 37. (Scott Kauffman/The ALS Association via AP)
Co-founder of viral ALS Ice Bucket Challenge dies at 37

Pat Quinn was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, in 2013

Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada David Lametti speaks with the media following party caucus in Ottawa, Tuesday, January 28, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Exclusion of mental health as grounds for assisted death is likely temporary: Lametti

Senators also suggested the exclusion renders the bill unconstitutional

Most Read