Kyle Franco-Franta (#10 Carnarvon) and Michael Losier (#24 - NB) wait for the next pitch during the coastal matchup between the two intermediate teams at Carnarvon Park on Sunday. The game was the first in a series to take place during an exchange organized by one of the team’s coaches, Rick Spriggs. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

Carnarvon Baseball Club exchange creates coast-to-coast experience for teens

New Brunswick team in Victoria for baseball, cultural adventure

A little bit of lightning didn’t stop New Brunswick’s Dieppe Cardinals from getting to Victoria this weekend.

The AAA baseball team’s Saturday night flight was delayed thanks to weather, but even after rolling into Victoria at 2:15 a.m., the boys were ready for their first game against the Carnarvon Baseball Club’s U15 Bantam team Sunday afternoon.

The match is the first of three that the Cardinals will play during their coastal visit – all part of an initiative headed by Carnarvon coach Rick Sprigg for a Canadian team exchange.

READ ALSO: Field named for longtime Hampton Little League volunteer

“He sent about 50 emails last fall and summer to coaches across Canada, and we got a reply from the coaches [in New Brunswick],” explained team manager and baseball mom Leann Finlay. “They set it up and we got approval through the baseball club and it moved ahead.”

Carnarvon U15 AA pitcher Tyler Finlay is determined during the first game against the New Brunswick Dieppe Cardinals. The Maritime team ended up leaving the field with a 12-5 win. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

The Cardinals played Victoria’s AA team first – leaving the field with a 12-5 win over Victoria – then the AAA team before a final match with the two Carnarvon teams combined. All the players are 15 years old and younger.

But the exchange, which cost each player only $100 each, isn’t just about baseball.

“It’s a cultural exchange, so they’ll be doing cultural activities while they’re here,” Finlay said.

The visit starts with the Carnarvon boys giving the East Coasters a tour of downtown, and Monday will offer the Maritimers a West Coast Canada day experience.

READ ALSO: Victoria Mavericks baseball league showcasing top-level talent

The teams will also do tours of the Parliament building and Chinatown.

The Carnarvon players will head to New Brunswick on July 19 for a one-week stay.

“It’s a good combination of sports as well as some cultural and Victoria-centric experiences,” Finlay said. “It’s a really cool opportunity for the kids to all have an experience that they probably wouldn’t otherwise have had.”

Darcy Spriggs bats during the first game between the Carnarvon AA team and the New Brunswick Dieppe Cardinals. The match is part of a weekend exchange that mixes baseball and cultural experiences, showing the young Maritimers around Victoria. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

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