By Ned Bekavac
The Guelph Minor Baseball Association is taking over the city’s Junior Inter-County Baseball League team and giving it a new, but familiar, moniker.
Last season, Guelph didn’t have a junior team. Prior to that, they were called the Guelph Silvercreeks.
In the fall of 2011, Brian Brown, a former Silvercreeks player, took over the junior team and they were to debut this spring as the Royal City Wolfpack.
But now that’s not happening.
Brown told the Trib he had to give up the team “due to personal health reasons.”
This week, Guelph Minor Baseball Association president Shawn Martens confirmed that the GMBA is taking over the club.
The team will be called the Guelph Junior Royals, said Jeff Laplaunte, general manager/coach of the team.
Both Martens and Laplaunte said it’s crucial for the city to have a junior team.
“We have rep teams in every age group, but there was a break in junior, and we would lose players (to other teams) in that age group,” Martens said.
“These kids would graduate from the midget level and they would have nowhere to go. We lost a lot of good players to other centres,” said Laplaunte.
Martens said it was important to use the name that is household to so many baseball people in Guelph.
Guelph Minor Baseball Association rep teams use the Royals handle, as does the city’s Senior Inter-County team, and using it for the juniors gives the name continuity right through all the age groups in town, said Martens.
The junior team has 17 players confirmed for the upcoming season, said Laplaunte, and they’re putting an emphasis on having a big makeup of local talent.
The team has been approved by the league to play in the 2012 season. They’ll be playing their home games at Hastings Stadium.
With the return of the Guelph team, the JICBL this season will have eight teams, said Laplaunte.
Last year, there were only five.
The local ball club was last called the Junior Royals in the late ’90s, before they became the Silvercreeks.
For info on the team contact Jeff_laplaunte@bell.net or 519-836-1272.