Hey LLN’ers! Last Sunday Jonathan Hodgson, the Communications Director of the VIBI Mariners, invited us to watch the boys take on the University of Calgary Dino’s. It’s a bit shameful that this is our last year at University and it took us this long to take part in such a great activity. The Vancouver Island Baseball Institute boasts players from all over western Canada from Vancouver Island to Saskatchewan. In fact, only twelve players originate from Vancouver Island. The team members are aged 17 to 23 and all go to Vancouver Island University!
LLN: What do you think the strengths of the team are this year? What are they doing well?
Nick Salahub: We have some depth this year, which we haven’t had in the past. Depth is probably our biggest strength. Plus we have some senior leadership which we didn’t have as much [in the past] and our young guys are doing a great job of stepping up when we need them to.
LLN: Is there anything the team is really working on this year?
NS: [We’re] really working on improving the quality of our batting in the middle innings and bottom of the order guys, trying to find a way to get on base and not just saying, eh it’s a no situation. They do a really good job of focusing on every hit. LLN: What are your goals for the season? (other than winning obviously!)
NS: Pretty much our goal every day, every year, every time we step onto the field is to get better.
LLN: How do you feel about your chances in the Canadian College Baseball Conference?
NS: This year we have a strong team and a good chance of going pretty far. We’re excited to see how far we’re going to go.
Once Jordan was finished helping the team set up the field for game-time he came over for a quick chat. LLN: Where do most of your players come from?
Jordan Blundell: It is 99% Canadians on our team. We’ve had one kid from the Dominican Republic […] we are [always] looking to open up to the US, Japan, and China.
LLN: Do you encourage your players to be involved in the community?
JB: [Yes] it’s good for them and when you have to teach the game it makes you a better player so it’s good. I like that aspect of it.
In fact, Jordan actively encourages his team to help coach up and coming players. Jordan believes that the Island is a “hot bed for baseball in Canada.” He would love to see a big league player come from Nanaimo and believes VIBI is on the cusp of having the quality of player to do so. Jordan, who’s been head coach since 2005, started coaching the VIBI Mariners when he was only 24 years old!
The VIBI Mariners finish up their home schedule on April 13th and are encouraging people to come down and support the team. “Next Saturday we are going to do College Day, so we encourage a lot of the college people to come down, and they can get in for free. Hopefully the weather will hold out.” say’s Nick Salahub. On Sunday it’s Senior Day where they honour all five of the senior VIBI Mariner players.
After they finish up their home schedule, it’s on to their away schedule later this month leading up to the CCBC tournament held in Lethbridge (May 8th to 11th). Nick is confident that the team will go far. If you don’t want to miss out on the last of the home games come down to Serauxmen Stadium this weekend where they take on Okanagan College! Games start at 11:00 AM on Saturday and Sunday (April 12th & 13th).
~ Sarah & Sean