Locals to play on the coast

November 16, 2017

Baseball in Edmonton is the strongest it’s been in years. The 2018 season will likely feature three AAA baseball teams.

With programs offering elite coaching, great facilities and great learning opportunities,
Edmonton has seen many players sent to colleges across North America. After strong campaigns in the 2017 season, Gavin Turinek and Julius Robinson have gone to Vancouver Island to play for the Vancouver Island University Mariners.

Growing up playing baseball in Edmonton, infielder and pitcher Gavin Turinek appreciates the fact that he “got to learn from great coaches, as well as play with amazing teammates who can become lifelong friends. It was overall just a great atmosphere to be in.”

As one of the top players on the 2017 South Jasper Place Blue Jays, Turinek led the team on and off the field with his hard work, which he looks to bring to the Mariners this upcoming season.

Teaming up with catcher Julius Robinson, they look to build upon an already strong friendship as they take on the other college teams in Western Canada.

“College ball really puts things into perspective, playing college ball while going to school is kind of like having two full-time jobs,” Robinson said.

“A lot of people back home gave me the necessary fundamentals to be able to handle everything and anything on and off the field.”

Robinson looks to continue to be a solid defensive catcher and a game changing vocal leader on his new team at VIU.

One person who helped the two players was Matty McGee, who attended NAIT for four years. He achieved his Bachelor of Business degree last year, which helped him “learn the importance of chemistry, to learn how to handle business one on one and gain knowledge of the outside world. Life is about much more than baseball.”

McGee believes that VIU is a great fit for the two players and, and believe it or not, college ball in Canada is as good, if not better than junior college in the States.”

Robinson and Turinek are loving it at VIU. They’re “outside in shorts and a T-shirt until mid-November,” said Robinson. Turinek said he “has a passion for the criminology program he’s enrolled in.”

As baseball continues to grow in Edmonton, there are hopes that more players will be sent out to good colleges. The coaches and new facilities are going to help the players move on to a college lifestyle.

“The first week was a lot of running and conditioning to show who really wanted to be there … we’ve been full-go since the moment I got here,” said Robinson.

– Conner Toffan, Sports Co-Editor