Tournaments | Story | 6/28/2020

Canes Looking to Compete for Championship

Brett Greenberg        
Photo: Canes National (Perfect Game)
MARIETTA, Ga. – The 2020 15U WWBA National Championship is in full swing with over 180 teams participating in this year’s tournament.

One of the more intriguing teams competing in this week-long event is Canes National 15U out of Fredericksburg, VA. The Canes have nine players committed to D-1 schools including Georgia Tech, Virginia, Arkansas, Duke, Ole Miss, South Carolina, and Oregon State. 

The Canes are led by the number one ranked LHP in Maryland, Virginia commit, Tommy Roldan, the first ranked catcher in South Carolina, Ole Miss commit, Campbell Smithwick, the first ranked catcher in North Carolina, Duke commit, Macon Winslow. The three players listed are all ranked in the top 100 for the class of 2023.  

“The work really starts once you verbally commit,” said John Bachelor, head coach of Canes National 15U. “We tell our players that committing at this age is a product of performing well, but now is when the players need to really buckle down, keep improving, and play at the highest level.” 

Coach Bachelor says opportunities do not wait around; it is up to the players to continue to put in work to keep their commitments. 

“Our organization has done a great job getting connected with schools all over the country, so we try to get the right contacts for our players,” said Coach Bachelor, “These kids are so talented, so they don’t necessarily need our help.” 

The Canes organization is known for running their teams like professionals and that is why they have so much success year in and year out. This team, in particular has players committed to play college ball before they have stepped on a high school field. That is a testament to our kids, coaches, and culture surrounding the Canes organization. 

The Coronavirus pandemic effected this Canes team is numerous ways. As previously mentioned, these players were not able to play high school ball, so this is their first games in the last six months. The roster is filled with players from all around the country, so each player’s situation is different. Coach Bachelor says the team was able to get out and put together a couple of intrasquad scrimmages before heading down to Georgia for the 15U WWBA. 

“This is only our tenth game of the season, so we have had some difficulty with our pitchers not being in the proper shape to throw sixty plus pitches and our bats struggled for a few games, but we’re slowly getting to where we need to be,” said coach Bachelor. 

When asked about what he wanted to see his team working on this summer, Coach Bachelor made it clear he wanted to see his players finally get over the hump and win a championship. Coach Bachelor and the rest of the coaching staff preach to the players to give their total effort every day. The culture around the Canes organization is a point of emphasis for the teams. Canes National 15U has established a culture starting years back. This team has been together for several years. 

“The coaches and I instill three principles in our players,” said coach Bachelor. “Be a good teammate, have fun, and put in the work needed to be successful.” 

Coach Bachelor acknowledged that at 15 years old, most of the kids are different sizes and some are more physically gifted than others at this point. He has made it clear to each and every player on his team that just because you are the biggest guy out there or the smallest guy, there is always something you need to work on to get better. 

“From a pitching standpoint, it’s about getting our guys to feel comfortable with their body, but at the plate, it's teaching our guys the right way to approach an at-bat because even if you’re the biggest guy, you still can make adjustments,” said Coach Bachelor. 

When asked to list some players on his roster that have not committed yet, Coach Bachelor mentioned 4 guys. They are all players in the 2023 class that have not committed yet but will be on plenty of college program’s radars this summer. 

1. Mason Yokum: “He’s a guy at 6’2 with a high ceiling and lots of upside who is still filling into his body.” 
2. Gavin Gallaher: “Gavin’s a guy with a bunch of offers. He handles the bat really well and he can hit anywhere in the lineup. He is a great infielder as well, with good baseball IQ.” (#1 ranked shortstop in North Carolina)
3. Chace Chaplin: “He can really swing the bat. He’s got power to all fields. He has been playing the corners a little bit but is still finding his position in the field.” (#1 ranked third baseman in North Carolina)
4. Colby Wallace: “Colby is one of the big physical guys on our team, he just needs to continue to grow comfortable with his body and make some adjustments at the plate.” (#7 ranked infielder in North Carolina)

Coach Bachelor has been coaching the 15U National team for the Canes Organization for 4 years now and says he loves it because, “this is the age group that the players are still hungry and have lots of room for development and growth.” 

“This is true amateur baseball at its best,” said Coach Bachelor. “I am a big trip and fall guy, so I like to see the players fail because it shows me they are giving effort and willing to learn and get better.” 

Coach Bachelor says Perfect Game events are his favorite because it allows his players to face the best teams from around the country and allows for his players to play at the highest level, while also getting scouted. 

Canes National 15U are 2-0 in pool play and look to carry their winning ways into the final 3 games, before heading to bracket play for a chance to get over the hump and win the 2020 15U WWBA National Championship. 
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