Devons collapse leaves players scrambling

Katie Brickman
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Cooper to play AAA in Estevan, Riendeau to tryout for Canucks

Picking a place to play baseball this summer was a difficult choice for two local players.

Chris Cooper pitches for the Moose Jaw Devons last season. With the Devons dissolution, Cooper will head to Estevan this summer to play for the Twins. Times-Herald photo by Matthew Gourlie

Chris Cooper and Wyatt Riendeau both had to a make a decision of where they wanted to suit up after the Moose Jaw midget AAA Devons folded earlier this month.

Cooper, played last season with the Devons and played in 27 games. He also pitched in 14 games and led the team with a 2.78 ERA.

Riendeau played with the Bantam AAA Mallards last season and was an affiliate player with the Devons for six games.

Both were eligible to play midget AAA this summer, but only Cooper is going that route, as Riendeau has decided to stay in Moose Jaw and tryout for the AA Canucks.

“The only other option I had was to go to Estevan and that is just too far and too much money for gas to go there for practices, so AA was the easier option,” said Riendeau. “It was frustrating because playing AAA is where I want to be.”

Cooper has decided to play for the Estevan Twins in the Saskatchewan Premier Midget AAA Baseball League.

“It was really the only team that was picking up players,” said Cooper. “Everyone was looking into Regina, but they weren’t letting anybody in.”

It wasn’t an easy choice for Cooper, as he and his mother had long talks about the decision. In the end, the tough decision was made to play in Estevan.

“It is going to be a lot different this year because I am going to have to billet down there this summer. It is going to be tough for the next month and half with school,” said Cooper. “I wanted to stay in AAA for more competition.”

Both players are on the radar of Baseball Sask, but the dissolution of the Devons could affect their chances.

“It is really important for them to be playing a brand of AAA baseball because we use that Select Tournament to evaluate players,” stated Greg Brons, high performance director for Baseball Sask. “It would be nice if they were playing on a local midget Moose Jaw team because if they don’t have a team to play on, it is going to be hard for them to develop.”

As second year midgets, this is their last chance at making the team for the Baseball Canada Cup, which will be hosted in Saskatoon this year.  The Select Tournament is usually held in Moose Jaw, but this year it will be held in the Bridge City.

“The only reason was that Saskatoon applied and our high performance committee decided to move it to Saskatoon to give them an opportunity as a test run for Canada Cup,” explained Brons.

Riendeau is hoping that if he has a successful start to the season, he can keep the eye of Brons and his staff at Baseball Sask and make the Baseball Canada Cup roster.

“I am just going to play my best and hopefully they will keep looking at me. If I just play my best in AA, hopefully I can still be on their radar,” he said. “That is definitely a goal. Playing there might get me a scholarship or something, which is definitely one of my goals.”

For Cooper, it is more about him developing into a good baseball player for the future and if he gets a chance to play for the province, it would be a nice bonus.

“I just want to play baseball. I am not too worried about it too much further. I hope to play after my high school career, but we will see how the next two seasons go,” said Cooper. “I just want to be a team player and hopefully help them (Twins) get to a championship and provincials.”

Follow me on Twitter @katiebrickman

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