15U (Bantam) AAA West Coast Cardinals
Welcome to the website of the 15U AAA West Coast Cardinals. This ballclub was established in October 2017 and is a merged team consisting of the following associations: Vancouver Minor (VMBA), Coquitlam-Moody (CMMBA) and Port Coquitlam (PCMBA). Grade 8s and 9s are the make-up of this team and compete together from March-early August in BC (Minor) Baseball's 15U AAA league. The Bantam AAA division is a top-tier wood bat league and involves teams from the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley, Vancouver Island and Interior. After the conclusion of February tryouts, we go through rigorous pre-season training all throughout March in order to prepare for the upcoming season, this includes indoor and outdoor training/practices, exhibition games, strength and conditioning as well as team-bonding events. Throughout the season, we will practice at least twice a week, play approximately 30-40 league games, 5-10 exhibition games and compete in at least 3 tournaments (April, May and June/July). The year concludes with Provincial Championship(s), where the winner(s) will have an opportunity to represent their province as Team BC at either Westerns, Nationals or a tournament in the U.S.A.
In the inaugural year of the West Coast Cardinals, the 2017 team had an excellent season finishing 1st in the league with a 26-6 record. Despite a 2-1 record in round robin, the Cardinals failed to advance to the playoff round of April's Best of the West tournament up in Kamloops, BC; the Cardinals finished 3-1 that tournament after defeating their cross-town rivals, the Vancouver Community Mounties in a consolation game. The annual May Long Richmond Invitational was a better result for the Cardinals as they went undefeated in round robin and defeated the reigning Richmond tournament champion, Delta Tigers in the semi-finals by a close score of 4-2. Unfortunately, for West Coast they came up short losing to a strong Okotoks team in the final settling for a silver medal finish. In early July, the West Coast Cardinals made their way to Puyallup, WA for the USSSA Firecracker Tournament where they went 3-1 in pool play but lost to the eventual champions, Bulldogs Red in the semi-finals. West Coast had their eyes set on the prize and that was the upcoming Provincial Championships, after coming out victorious in a thrilling loser-goes-home game against the Delta Tigers on the final day of the Baseball BC Qualifier the Cardinals placed 3rd in the Qualifeir and earned the right to play a one-game playoff against a Bantam PBL team in order to clinch the final spot in Baseball BC's Provincials. They would go on to lose a heartbreaker against the White Rock Tritons failing to clinch the final spot in the Baseball BC Provincials. The BC (Minor) Baseball Provincials had the Cardinals go 3-1 in round robin play but the Delta Tigers exacted their revenge in the semi-finals as the Cardinals were ousted from the Provincials by the eventual champion, Delta Tigers.
For many of these players, this is their first exposure to high performance baseball throughout the course of a single season. Our program’s vision is to prepare these young ballplayers to move up to higher levels of play (ie. Midget AAA/College Prep). Our program also wishes to provide as many opportunities to our players as possible to hopefully open the door for advancement in their baseball careers. We envision by the end of the season, each of our players will garner the necessary tools (such as baseball skills, attitude and work ethic) to compete and succeed at that level and beyond. Player development is a key component of our program; through off-season training, in-season practices and in-game feedback, we will teach sound fundamental baseball and introduce our players to more advanced strategies and thinking that will help them process the game at a level they have never been able to before. Among all things, compete level is something we preach towards these players, emphasizing the importance of hustle, grit and determination on the field. Our players are required to respect the game, their teammates, opponents, coaches and umpires at all times, they will learn to conduct themselves both on and off the field with class and respect.
We will develop our program through:
- High tempo, challenging and innovative practices that will build progressions, help players master fundamental skills through repetition and introduce advanced strategies and systems. These practices will push the players to be better ballplayers.
- The development of important life skills, including but not limited to the following: discipline, respect, teamwork, goal setting, problem solving, time management (the essential balance between baseball, academics, family, friends etc.) commitment and leadership in an environment where everyone is on the same page working towards one common goal.
- Push players to reach their potential by enforcing the importance of preparation, work ethic, focus and determination. The coaching staff will continually critique players on how they can be better, it is expected that players be not only open to the criticism but apply the advice given from the coaches.
- Emphasize the importance of team first, putting individual accolades second. With team success comes individual success.
For the second year in a row, Luke Yam will be the manager/head coach for this West Coast Cardinals team . This will be his 3rd year coaching Bantam AAA and his 6th year coaching at any level. His individual achievements consists of: 15U Coach of the Year for the 2016 season, assistant coach for Team BC that attended Chicago, IL (15U Select Team) and Repentigny, QC (13U Nationals). The past two years Luke has been in Bantam AAA his teams have reached at least the semi-finals of the BC (Minor) Baseball Provincial Championships (2016: silver medal; 2017: loss in semi-finals).
The coaching staff for the 2018 West Coast Cardinals consists of great youth and vast experience making it without question one of the most sought after staffs. Proud to announce that coaching alongside Luke for 2018 are the following assistant coaches:
Joseph O'Krafka – graduating player for the 2016 Richmond Midget AAA program, returning assistant coach for the West Coast Cardinals
Henry Ahn – graduating player for the 2014 Vancouver Community Midget AAA program, returning assistant coach for the West Coast Cardinals
Tomio Fukumura – assistant coach for the 2016 silver medalist Vancouver Minor Bantam AAA team, assistant coach for the 2017 Vancouver Minor 13U AAA team that competed in Nationals, highly regarded as one of the best technical coaches, founding member of the Asahi Baseball Association
Atsu Inomata – assistant coach for the 2016 silver medalist Vancouver Minor Bantam AAA team, long-time coach in the Coquitlam Little League, head coach of the Bantam Asahi program
Greg Miles – returning assistant coach for the West Coast Cardinals
If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us.