Monday , 19 October 2020
Wranglers player sliding home. Courtesy: LNA Photography.

Local ball players slide into a new opportunity

If you build it, they will come to the “Village of Opportunity” known as Consort, Alta.

Four boys from surrounding areas are looking to get to the next level by attending a new academy.

The Neutral Hills Baseball Academy officially opened in December after approximately a year of planning and recruiting.

“It’s exciting to have kids from different parts of Alberta come down to small town Consort and be apart of an academy. You see that there is talent in these small towns and they come out to an Academy and get more exposure this way,” said Head Coach and Director Drew Boyer.

Riley Starko joined the the Marwayne Huskies one weekend at Tier 1 Provincials and managed to impress a scout from Baseball Alberta.

“It was just one of those right place right time kind of things,” said Riley’s dad, Aaron Starko.

Once Coach Boyer was told about the right-handed pitcher, catcher, and third baseman from Vermilion, Alta., he extended an invite to visit the facility.

After hitting the field, Riley decided he wanted to see his last name on a Wranglers jersey.

“A couple years ago, I was telling my parents basically every day that I wanted to play college baseball and maybe pursue it overseas. That’s why I wanted to come here. Just to get better and face the more challenging pitchers and hitters.”

Nolan Dechaine is a right-handed pitcher and outfielder brought in from St. Lina, Alta.

Dechaine previously played for Boyer at the Alberta Zone Championships in 2019.

After Dechaine’s visit to the Academy, he pitched the idea of joining the team to his friend Evan Gauthier.

Gauthier, from Plamondon, Alta. agreed to the deal and made the roster as a right-handed pitcher and an outfielder as well.

Vegreville, Alta. born and raised Corbin Lochhead throws south paw, plays first base, and also snags balls in the outfield.

The Wranglers won their opening weekend series against Strive Baseball Program from Calgary 2-1.

The cohort league consists of three other teams which they will play about 20 games against throughout September and October.

“They’re doing really well for only playing together for two weeks,” mentioned Boyer.

The program currently has 12 boys in high school and 20 in junior high.

The Junior Wranglers program is for ages 9-14 and runs two days a week for an hour and a half a day.

Boyer was previously the Head Coach for Team Alberta Women’s Baseball and is looking to add some ladies to the rosters next semester as well.

“I’m really big on growing the game for women and getting women and girls the opportunity to play baseball so they don’t just think softball’s the only outlet they can play.”

Student athletes have the opportunity to work on more than just baseball skills at Neutral Hills.

Nutrition, general athletic skills, and strength conditioning come along with the Academy programs which goes hand-in-hand with their school motto.

“Building better baseball players on the field and more importantly better students in the classroom,” said Boyer.

If players are looking to join the Academy, they can do so by getting Drew Boyer’s contact information through the Neutral Hills Academy Facebook page.

About Montana Getty

Montana is a recent graduate of the NAIT Television program where many greats have come and gone. She is inquisitive and committed, especially when focusing on her passions, which include but are not limited to sports and videography. Her curious nature helps take her to new heights as she strives for excellence. Her sense of humour shows no boundaries as she makes her way through life with a passionate and positive outlook.

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