DUNMORE, AB – An exciting time of year at the Badlands Baseball Academy in Oyen, as they are fresh into their 2017 fall season.
On Tuesday, the Badgers visited Dunmore, not to play nine innings, but to discuss life away from the diamond.
The Badgers gave a team update at the Prairie Rose School Division’s board meeting, with organization members, coaches, and players making the trip.
Operating out of South Central High School in Oyen, the Badlands Academy features players from across Canada.
Registrations for the school have been on the rise over the last few years, and the team was able to fill out their roster by early July.
Head coach Jeff Amos said work put in at the ballpark needs to match the work ethic in the classroom.
“They all want to go to play college or university, most of the time down in the U.S. or Canada,” said Amos. “So, in order to do that, you’ve got to get accepted into the college or university. So, if they don’t get the marks now in high school, their opportunities won’t be there down the road. So, it is important, and school is a big part of it.”
Along with providing support throughout the year, the Prairie Rose School Division has also been involved with Badgers fundraisers over the last few years.
One of the veteran players on the fall squad is Grade 12 student Tanner Huber, who is hoping to attend school in the United States next year and become a teacher.
“We practice ball every day,” said Huber. “With schooling, I get extra help whenever I need it and they’re helping us study for the SATs.”
Since their last meeting with Prairie Rose, a number of upgrades have taken place at the Badgers facility, which includes a brand new dressing room.
While it’s a huge plus for the 2017 roster, the improvements will also go a long way to attracting new prospects to Oyen.
Amos said it’s a large batch of rookies this season, which he expects will generate some chemistry as the year progresses.
“We’ve got a lot of new guys,” said Amos. “We’ve graduated a lot, so I think there’s a lot of learning going on in the first month. I think by spring we’re going to be a really good team. I think offensively we got a really good group, I think it’s something that will kind of come together as the year goes along.”
The Badgers continue their season on Saturday, when they host Edmonton’s St. Francis Xavier Academy.
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