Coach Paul Ludzki (standing, far left) has been the NYBA light behind our Junior team for several years. At the end of the 2022 season, we asked him to provide some insights on playing baseball at the Junior level.
Here’s what Coach Paul had to say….
The Junior team story isn’t really about any single event, but more of a “year in the life” story, about the progress we made this year and how we’re doing in our 4-year plan, which started in 2021 when a new core group of players joined the team, along with Coach Mike [Morin, pictured here on the far right].
The 2022 season has been our best in quite a few years. Our season record in our TBA division was 9-9-3, with wins and ties and truly competitive games against all the top teams including East York, Etobicoke, Newmarket (national champions), Leaside, High Park, and Oshawa. Those are all AAA teams, and we finished just a few points behind them in the standings.
Our Monday night games are starting to be a bit of a regular local event, so I really hope that we can build on that by keeping the same time slot in 2023. [For the past several years, the Juniors have played at Bond Park, Diamond 1, Monday nights at 7:30PM].
Our plan had been to classify as AA this year and compete in the OBA provincial championships, before classifying as AAA next year. As it turned out, there was no AA tournament, so we — and a bunch of other solid AA teams — reclassified as single A and played in the A championships in Brantford, the first weekend in August.
We got through to round 5 (the final 4 teams) and lost to the eventual champions (Brantford, playing at home.) If a couple of our starting pitchers hadn’t missed the tournament — or if we had gotten a bye, like Brantford did — we would have been in great shape to win that tournament.
So all in all, we had a pretty successful season and we have been noticed. Coaches from other teams have commented on our improvement, and players from other teams have started contacting us about switching to our team. We are on track with our plan for Year 3 and 4, to classify as AAA, and compete in the Eliminations.
We are only losing 2 players to the 22U age limit, and so far most of this year’s players say they plan to play again. So we may have very few open roster spots, a kind of nice problem to have, but one which might limit the opportunities for players from the 2022 18U team, if they want to keep playing.
Of course, things always change over the winter, so we’ll know more in a few months. We expect to schedule at least a couple of indoor workouts during school breaks (around Christmas and winter Reading Week).
Great story Coach Paul. We wish you, Coach Mike and the rest of the team a great 2023 season and hope you reach your goals!
When asked to a photo, the Junior team provided us with one above. It was taken after their last game at the August OBA tournament (third game of the day and the fifth of the weekend). It was 30 degrees so that guys got quickly of out their uniforms.
North York Baseball Association provides House League and Elite/Rep/Select levels of play for boys and girls 6-18 and a Junior team. . Games are played at Bond Park in North York. NYBA is celebrating 50 years of serving the community!