Ball season begins for Junior Blaze

Langley U16 baseball team looks to return to the top

While their opponent may be familiar in the season opener, it will be a whole new team that takes the field this weekend for the start of the B.C. Junior Premier Baseball League campaign.

The Langley Junior (U16) Blaze went 41-7 in 2011 to win the regular season pennant for the second straight year, but lost 3-1 in the provincial championship game to the North Delta Junior Blue Jays.

And those two teams will kick off 2012 with a doubleheader on Saturday at McLeod Park. Games are at noon and 2:30 p.m.

However, only two players from last year’s Jr. Blaze are back as the core of the squad — five pitchers and seven positional players — have graduated to the Premier (U18) team.

Mitchell Kennedy was dominant in 2011 as the right-handed pitcher was 14-1 with a 0.97 earned run average. He also struck out 61 batters in 94 innings.

Offensively, the lone returnee is infielder Justin Lawrence, who hit .315 with 25 RBIs.