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The Canada Reds and École Louis-Riel deliver a transformational blow to baseball in Ottawa with the launch of their Sports-Study partnership – OttawaSportsPages.ca

By Ottawa Sports Pages, for Louis-Riel Rebels

Read this article in English here.

From the very first meeting, there was already a perfect partnership between the Sports-Study program at Louis-Riel public high school and the Canada Reds Baseball Academy – their leaders were dressed almost identically in red and black uniforms.

“It was so funny that we had exactly the same colors,” recalls the Sports-Study coordinator at Louis-Riel, Ken Levesque, who quickly learned that he also got along very well with Robert Fatal in their philosophies and what they want to achieve.

“Robert saw the opportunity very well, because what we create here does not exist in Ottawa, and almost not in Ontario entirely. We are very enthusiastic about this project. We lacked that in Ottawa, and we lacked it in the schools. »

The product of their agreement is an innovative new program that will provide young people with all the tools necessary to advance as far in the world of baseball as they wish.

A program with a high-performance climate that offers the chance to train and develop individual skills throughout the school year – as they do in Florida and other locales like it – and the opportunity to tie up with the Reds academy for the summer season, compete in US tournaments, and enjoy an established network at the next level.

Robert Fatal.

M. Fatal – the general manager, head coach and owner of the Canada Reds Academy – will be the director of the Sports-Studies baseball program at Louis-Riel. He has experience with other Sports-Study programs, and he led the Baseball Canada Academy in Quebec from 2015 to 2019, with more than 60 of his players placed in American colleges, and others who were drafted by Major League MLB clubs.

“Louis-Riel School is a very active school in the development of sports within its structure and this is 100% in line with my principles and what we put in place with our program. Canada Reds Baseball Academy explains Mr. Fatal, a coach for the Canadian Junior Team at the 2019 WBSC 18U World Championships.

“I am very excited by the idea of ​​welcoming all young baseball players from the greater Ottawa region who want to reach another level,” he adds. “Regardless of their summer baseball ties or where they come from, the number one goal is to build this program. »

“A big step forward” for baseball at LR

Baseball already has a solid base in Louis-Riel. The Rebelles have been participating in the interscholastic league for 20 years, and a dozen baseball players started in Sports-Studies shortly before the arrival of the pandemic.

Jordan Forde,

Jordan Forde, a central infielder for the Reds and Rebels, appreciates having the support of a school that understands that he will sometimes have to take time off to pursue his sport, and that has become adept at mentoring its students. -athletes since the launch of the Sports-Study program in 2005.

COVID eliminated many of his planned trips, but he still felt privileged to have the chance to train in the LR Dome – site of the only indoor 400-meter track in North America, as well as a large multi-sport field, and high-performance weight facilities – during school hours when the majority of players were trapped at home.

“We are very lucky to have the perfect facility to practice, not only during COVID, but all year long,” says Jordan. “It was a big relief, and the Dome has helped me a lot throughout my career, that’s for sure. »

The prospect of attracting other top talent from the region and beyond through the new partnership will be another big plus, according to Jordan.

“This is a great opportunity and a great step forward for the program,” he said. “When we go to the United States, I think we will represent Canada very well. »

Sophie LeVasseur.

The program wants to reach new heights – an idea that resonates very strongly with another Rebelle, Sophie LeVasseur, among the pioneers of women’s baseball in Ottawa.

“I was always the only girl on my team,” says the student who has just finished his 11th year. “A lot of girls quit baseball when they’re around 10 because they don’t want to be the only girl, but for me, I was like, ‘It’s okay to be the only girl.’ It gave me a lot of motivation to keep playing baseball. It’s not good to let go. »

Sophie plays with the Ontario Women’s Team in Toronto most weekends, and sometimes practices and plays with the Ottawa Nepean Canadians during the week. She also loves the diverse approach offered through the Sports-Study program – for example: doing yoga, taking mental performance and nutrition workshops, and getting a personalized baseball fitness plan under the supervision of the trainer specializing in bodybuilding at Louis-Riel.

“It’s extra repetitions that we don’t get with our team,” notes Sophie. “It gives us an advantage over everyone else because we train and practice more than they do. »

The enthusiasm of young players is evidence of the resurgence of baseball in Canada, helped by stars like Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette who revive the Toronto Blue Jays at the top of the rankings. The Rebels and Reds are happy to add even more energy to the efforts of the guys in blue (even if they continue to dress in red and black).

“This is not a trend that will go away, our program is well rooted,” underlines Mr. Levesque. “This is a pretty special chance to get the best training possible in Ottawa, with very well qualified coaches, and on top of that, teachers and school staff who are strongly committed to their academic excellence.

“We really want to promote and build baseball in Ottawa, and in schools. Let’s play ball! »

The new Sports-Study baseball program at Louis-Riel in partnership with the Canada Reds Baseball Academy begins in the fall of 2022. Contact the Sports-Study Program Coordinator Ken Levesque at ken.levesque@cepeo.on.ca for more information and to register.

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