Tournaments | Story | 7/14/2013

Naylor leads team to victory

Sam Brazenas        
Photo: Perfect Game

MARIETTA, Ga. – After suffering a tough loss on Saturday, the Ontario Blue Jays Black came out strong against the Next Level Titans on Sunday.

We had a tough one yesterday,” said Head Coach Dan Bleiwas. “I think we came out angry in the first inning and we did a good job at putting up some zeroes.”

The Blue Jay took an early 3-0 lead and were able to put up two more runs later in the game. Their solid work in the field held the Titans at three for their 5-3 victory.

Jade Salmon-Williams went 2-for-2 hitting a single and a triple. Tony Hrynkiw went 1-for-3 with 2 RBI. Josh Naylor hit a clutch single in the first inning, and reached base another time on a fielder’s choice which scored two runs after the Titans intentionally walked the bases loaded for his at-bat.

I was trying to keep my head in, get a double hopefully and score a few runs,” explained Naylor. “I hit it in the ground and scored two runs. I thought I did really well in that situation just keeping my head down and getting the ball on the ground and scoring runs.”

He’s an unbelievable talent,” added Bleiwas. “He’s always been a fantastic hitter. He’s starting to understand there’s more to baseball than seeing the ball and hitting the ball. He’s starting to get a good approach. He has a lot of pride and competes harder than mist kids.”

Isaac Anesty started on the mound for the Blue Jays and pitched 3 1/3 innings. He only allowed one run, walked three and struck out three. While he was on the mound, Naylor, who was playing first base, took a few trips to the mound to talk to Anesty.

I just kind-of told him to relax,” explained Naylor. “No pressure, we’re up by three runs. Just chill out, throw strikes. I was trying to bring him back down to earth."

Both Naylor and his coach, Bleiwas, consider him to be a team leader.

He’s a great kid. He has a lot of fun. His teammates all love him and he’s definitely the leader of the team,” said Bleiwas.

I try to keep the team always pumped up, and ready for the next team, ready to battle,” added Naylor. “I always try to get everyone involved in the game.”

Naylor is ranked No. 9 on Perfect Game’s High School class of 2015 National Rankings, and is ranked No. 1 overall in Ontario.

It was pretty exciting when I first heard,” said Naylor. “I was really pumped up and really proud of myself for how I did. I want to get that No. 1 spot by the time I’m 18.”

Naylor is from Mississauga, Ontario and attends St. Joan of Arc high school. He graduates in 2015 and hopes to continue to play in college. However, he said he hasn’t been focused on talking to scouts quite yet.

Right now I’m just focused on having fun and playing the game,” explained Naylor. “I really want to go to Rice or Florida, those are my favorite schools. I just want to have fun right now (and) be myself. (I) just take it day by day, and focus on what I’m going to do today, (and) how I’m going to play today.”

Naylor played in the Perfect Game WWBA World Championship last October, and also was a part of the 2013 Junior National Showcase earlier this summer.

I came in and I was kind-of nervous at first,” said Naylor about the Junior National Showcase. “But after my first throw in the outfield I was ready. I let it go from the arm and I hit 95 and was pretty proud of myself. I was pretty happy with my BP, I felt I was little off though. I did personal best on my running. (Overall) I did well.”

Naylor was honored with the opportunity to play around the world with Team Canada’s Junior National Team at the age of 15.

It’s really a fun experience,” said Naylor about playing with Team Canada. “We travel the world and play the best competition worldwide. Last year in the World Championships we played Team Korea, U.S., Team Japan, Taiwan and it was a great experience. We came second in the world. It’s very humbling playing with Team Canada. Going around the world playing the best teams around the world is just really fun.”

The 6-foot, 205-pound outfielder and first baseman has been playing with the Ontario Blue Jays since he was 11.

(The Blue Jays are) the greatest program in Canada, probably in the world,” said Naylor. “I love it. (They provide) a clubhouse, batting cages, (and) workout area. We can train anytime we want. (We have) the best coaches around. The training is just fantastic. We all come together as a family. All our 16u, 17u teams are all family. We all train with each other and all have fun with each other.”

Being from Canada, Naylor said he really enjoys coming down and playing teams in the United States.

We’ve got to train our hardest and practice our hardest to beat U.S. teams,” explained Naylor. “We always look forward to playing them because competition in Canada isn’t as strong as the U.S. We always look forward to playing U.S. teams and we’re thankful to be able to play them. It makes us better personally because we play the best in the United States.”

The thing that we have to deal with in Canada is that they haven’t played a lot of quality baseball,” added Bleiwas. “Sometimes it gets fast for them at this age but the talent (on this team) is better than anything we’ve had before. So we’ve got to get down here (to the U.S.) and start playing good teams on good fields in competitive environments.”

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