More Diverse Attack Proves Successful As Blues Rebound From Tough Weekend
Friday, June 01, 2012
The North York Blues bounced back after a tough weekend in Oakville with one of their strongest performances of the season topping a solid Whitby Chiefs team 6-4. In this one the Blues gave the ball to Andrew Baxendale for his first start of the season and he was on top of his game. Baxendale extended himself for three innings and 60+ pitches holding the Chiefs to just one run over three innings. "A great performance for Andrew as he continues to get stronger each and every day." said his Manager Mark Cotgrave. The Blues in fact held a 3-1 lead after four innings where they incorporated somewhat of a different look on the offensive side of the game.
North York Blues
Date: May 31, 2012 Time: 7:30pm Venue: Bond Park
The Blues embraced a more diverse attack with a mixture of hard swings and bunts to keep the opposition of balance. Both Aaron Federman and Alex Trenton had bunt singles, while Andrew Baxendale and Anthony Vavaroutsos had RBI doubles. Samy Abu-Hssleh returned to the lineup after a week away on personal leave to pitch a scoreless fourth inning while also chipping in with single to left. In the fifth the Blues handed the ball over to Abrar Khota. Khota had a rough patch in the fifth giving up three runs, but to his credit he bounced back with a great sixth inning to record the win and hold the fort for the Blues. "This is what you look for in your pitchers. Guys that have the ability to fight through a little adversity. Everyone was very proud of the way Abrar handled himself and came back to get the win."
In fact there were a lot of positives to take away from this one. The Blues played with a little added intensity and drive. "Guys were sliding a little harder, running a little faster and competing. You have to be competing to come back in the bottom of the last inning to score three runs and retake the lead." said one team official.
The deciding hit came from Trevor Omoto who with one out and the winning run hit a two run double up the middle to clear the bases. "It was clutch and he's been trying so hard you could tell it must of felt great for him." said Cotgrave. With the win the Blues continue to be in the hunt for first place in the interlock league with a 3-1 record. Interestingly they have yet to play a TBA opponent. Next up for the Blues is a return to tournament play with the Mississauga North tournament over the June 1st weekend.
- NY Reporter
Blues Coaching Situation Makes Modest Gains
Evers Brothers Remain In Limbo, Dan Found Plans A Debut While Alex Federman Joins Staff
Thursday, June 21, 2012
Well it wasn't how it was supposed to be, perhaps for the Blues coaching staff the next few weeks may see some progress when it comes to the Blues coaching staff. It comes as no surprise when NYR contacted Manager Mark Cotgrave to discuss the status of his coaching staff that he could only shrug his shoulders and put on a brave face, "were piecing things together with the hope that we'll see some additions in the coming weeks."
Reports out of the Blues camp is that the team's coaching staff has been hit with a number of unforeseen occurrences. Mike and John Evers were to be significant members of the staff have not made their formal debuts and remain in limbo at this stage. John Evers has been called away on travel and Mike Evers has had major shoulder surgery and is currently recovering. NYR was able to reach Mike Evers for a comment, "the arm is still in the sling and will be for the next two weeks. I'll be out of commission for a little longer, but am looking forward to taking bigger and bigger strides in July. I'll do my best to get out once I can move around a bit more. I'll know more after my first round of physio."
Meanwhile Dan Found has been battling his own illnesses and has not been able to get out with the team at this point either. Found was asked for comment and indicated he expects to make his debut (once a week) starting next week. "We'll look forward to having Dan with the club when he's ready," said one insider with the Blues.
Finally, the Blues confirmed that Alex Federman will be playing a greater role with the team as a coach moving forward. Federman who already has been out with the team over the past few weeks agreed to become more of an active member of the staff going forward. Federman was asked to comment on his new role, "I'm very happy to become a member of the North York Blues coaching staff for this year. I hope to be able to teach the boys some new skills, as well as provide them with a wealth of my own baseball knowledge that I have accumulated throughout my playing career. I feel very confident that this team has all the right tools in place to become very successful as the season progresses. Thank you very much to Coach Mark and Chris for giving me this wonderful opportunity. Go Blues Go!"
For the Blues they expect to have Federman with the team when they travel south along with periodic appearances in the weeks leading up to the trip. "We'll certainly enjoy having him, he's been great with the players so far and Alex is going to be a great resource to the team." said Cotgrave.
- NY Reporter
Blues Add Another Coach To The Staff For 2013
Jared Federman Signs With Blues
Saturday, December 29, 2012
The North York Blues announced today that they have added another new name to their coaching staff for the 2013 season.Jared Federman has signed with the Blues coming over from the Leaside organization.Federman who last season was a contributor to the Leaside Minor Peewee team made it official when he signed his contract with the Blues a few weeks ago.Manager Mark Cotgrave commented that he was “excited” by the addition of Jared to the squad.”
Cotgrave when asked about the level of commitment that Jared could provide to the team indicated that “it remains to be seen.”For the time being there is a commitment in place to be at the indoor workouts with the team and then a “review” of his schedule in comparison to the team’s schedule will highlight what to expect going into full season.
Jared Federman is the brother of Blues player Aaron Federman.When Cotgrave was asked what that dynamic within the team would be having an older brother on the coaching staff he made it clear, “this will be great.With the likes of myself, Kerhoas and Seto the addition of a younger coach will help him relate to the players while we deal with the more contentious issues that a team may have to deal with throughout the year.”
Jared was contacted about his move to the Blues and commented, “I’m looking forward to the opportunity to help out however I can.I’m also excited and can’t wait for the season to start.”
- NY Reporter
Blues Management Head To Winter Meetings
Cotgrave and Kerhoas Headed To Best Ever Clinic Thursday, January 17, 2012
The North York Blues are headed to the annual winter meetings at the Best Ever Baseball Clinic this weekend for a weekend of instruction and discussion. Trade talk always takes place amongst the Managers of the various teams but usually very little comes of it. "There's always scuttlebutt but that is about it." said one team official.
For the Blues coaches it is a chance to sit down amongst themselves and develop a game plan for the upcoming season. "We'll go over things more than a few times that's for sure," said Manager Mark Cotgrave. Last season teams began to learn what other organizations were able to accomplish in the off season. "Well teams catch up and talk about what has gone on over the off-season." said Cotgrave. It will be interesting to see who might surprise the most at the meetings this year.
The most important aspect of the conference is the fact that the coaches will be able to come away with more information to share with the players, the driving reason why the Blues in fact have two team workouts during the same weekend as the conference. "Typically we come away with two or three new ideas that we incorporate into our training. It can have a significant impact." said Cotgrave. The coaching staff is very interested to hear from the likes of Gregg Zaughn. "Its rare to pick the brain of such talented individuals. You have to take advantage." said Kerhoas.
Blues management purposely has scheduled team practices around the winter meetings to be able to try and bring the things they have learned right into workouts. "It has been effective in the past. From there we can see how players react to new drills and exercises." The meetings run from Friday January 20th through to January 22nd.
- NY Reporter
NY Reporter Welcomes Former Manager Of Blues For Interview
James Craig Agrees to One-On-One Exclusive With NYR
November 5, 2011
In a NYR exclusive former Manager of the Blues James Craig agreed to sit down for a one-on-one interview with NYR. In what is clearly NYR's most anticipated interview since the scribes rebirth in early September, the former manager of the Blues was gracious in granting an interview. In an open discussion Craig agreed to talk about the team, last season's results, the players of the Blues and what he expects to see from the team going into the 2012 Minor Peewee year.
NYR - Well first how did you get into coaching in the first place?
Craig - I have coached hockey for many years. As my older son got into baseball, it seemed like a natural progression for me. I love to teach, in every aspect of my life. I took it upon myself to become a Regional Level Coach.
NYR - Coaching can be significant commitment, but you kept working at it with this group as best you could ....
Craig - Coaching is definitely a significant commitment. As I have moved forward in my professional life, I made sure I still made time for the boys.
NYR - You had a chance to see this team perform for the entire season last year, what can you tell our readers about the team?
Craig - As anyone who knows me will tell you, I have always said that this group of boys is one of the best defensive teams in the province. I have been saying that since Junior Rookie ball.
NYR - So in a word the teams biggest strength is ...
Craig - Defense...Defense...Defense!
NYR - You know its funny, NYR has spoken to some scouts regarding the and they told us the same thing. This team can play "D." What is so special about their ability on the defensive side?
Craig - It is so funny that scouts notice this about this team. I give all the credit to Steve Davis. A good portion of this team played Junior and Senior Rookieball with him. Steve may be one of the best coaches in all of Ontario, if not Canada. He taught a good majority of these boys how to play baseball, defense and the proper fundamentals. If you ask the majority of boys where they learned to play defense, I am convinced that Coach Steve would be the answer.
NYR - I guess as further evidence if you look at the runs against in the TBA in the league they were way below all other teams. The Blues allowed 102 runs in 20 games played an average of 5.1 runs a game allowed. The closest to the team in that category last season was Scarborough with a 5.6 average for runs allowed.
Craig - Yet again, that is mostly due to the work the boys have been doing since Junior Rookieball.
NYR - If there was one thing they need to focus on for next season to get better, and every team needs to get better, what would that be?
Craig - The whole team needs to become better hitters. We had far to many occasions where a clutch hit would have won us the game or put the game out of reach and we could just not come through. Hitting is a definite issue with this group. NYR - Scouts also told NYR that this team may have struggled more in tournament play? Did you find that? Is that an area of development moving forward?
Craig - We did struggle in tournaments. There were various reasons for this. First and foremost, we would always pitch our number one pitcher on Friday nights to make sure we could get the first win under our belts and have him available for Sunday playoffs. If we pitched him on Saturday's he was limited to 45 pitches to allow him to pitch on Sunday due to pitch counts. Unfortunately our next pitchers could not come up with the performances we needed to allow us to move on.
NYR - Not to mention the hitting ...
Craig - We could also spend the whole interview talking about our inability to score runs at crucial times.
NYR - Sources also tell NYR that the players really seemed to get along - was that something you found.
Craig - The players were a close knit family. They all got along and were a great group to coach.
NYR - The team lost one player from 2011, would you care to speak on his behalf and thank him for his time with the team.
Craig - The player North York lost was a great contributor to the team. He batted lead off most of the year and was great defensive player. He will definitely be sadly missed, but he has other things he wants to experience. They are only 11, turning 12, it is completely understandable.
NYR - Sources also indicate that the team was amidst some controversy during the playoffs. Was there disagreement about where the team should have been seeded for the playoffs? Do you care to comment?
Craig - Oh boy. We were 5-2-1 against our TBA opponents in league play. We deserved the number one seed for TBA Playoffs. How we did against YSBA and EOBA teams should have no bearing on our standings for TBA. We defeated the number one seed three times against one loss and defeated the number three seed twice against one loss and one tie.
NYR - So the league took into account the team's overall record in the interlock league versus the games only played against the TBA.
Craig - Regardless of how it worked out, when all is said and done, we did not do the job in the first round of TBA playoffs and that has to fall on myself as the Manager of the team.
NYR - Its always hard to pass along the benefits of one's hard work to others. You and your staff built this team and now another coaching staff gets the privilege of coaching this group. Are you at piece today with how things have played out?
Craig - I don't find it hard to pass on. The whole concept is to develop the players to the best of their ability and hope the next group can build on that and make them even better. I have coached single A hockey for over 10 years. This is what is expected from me and I relish the challenge and look forward to the improvement of the boys. When it all comes down to it, this is all about the boys and no one else.
NYR - A comment from Manager Mark Cotgrave regarding the team and he had this to say, "Well I just want to thank James for the work he has done with this team in handing over a group of players that seem excited and eager to play the game. He's given us a great foundation to build from and he should be applauded for his efforts."
Craig - I am flattered that Mark feels this way. The coaching staff and I worked hard with these boys. We not only taught them baseball skills, but life skills as well. This is a huge thing for me. We are not just coaching athletes, we are also helping to raise young men. That should never be forgotten.
NYR - James finally any thoughts on how the 2012 edition of the Blues will fair moving forward?
Craig - I must be honest, I did not attend many of the tryouts or practices due to work commitments. From what I understand, we are a much stronger defensive (didn't know that was possible...lol) and much stronger offensive team with the new additions. I cannot wait to see the boys in action.
NYR - Thanks James and we greatly appreciate your time and answers.