Recurrent Themes Emerge in our Coaches’ Reviews of the Titans’ Fall Ball Season

by Jim Stewart

Despite the myriad challenges posed by the COVID19 pandemic, the Titans Baseball Club’s four teams soldiered safely through the Autumn schedule.  Closing out the organization’s Fergie Jenkins Showcase League obligations and the transition to our first CPBL exhibition games as an expansion franchise in Canada’s top league yielded some cherished memories.  We asked our dedicated coaches about the memorable aspects of this historical Fall Ball Season. The coaching staff provided us with timely and poignant insights about the Titans organization, the capacity to develop a family-based community amid challenging circumstances, and the development of our baseball players over this seven-week period.  Here are our coaches’ reflections on the past season and their insights into Fall Ball 2020:

Lawrence Vera –Titans Director of Player Development & Baseball Operations; 17U Head Coach

“Looking at the program as a whole, we are really excited with the talent that we have. While we know the CPBL will be tough competition, I believe we have the right coaches in place to get our players prepared for league competition. As we continue our journey this November, in-depth strength and conditioning will be followed by 4 months of baseball skill development. While our Fall season looked a little different this year, I appreciate all of the players, coaches, and parents for complying with all COVID rules and getting us through a full fall ball season.”

John Bethune—15U Titans Head Coach

As a coaching staff, we are excited to get these boys into our strength and conditioning program this winter and then hit the ground running come January for our positional specific training.” Coach Bethune—an original Titans coaching staff member—acknowledged the importance of player development in a high performance baseball program:  “As a whole, the organization has taken huge strides within the last year. A common word used frequently throughout the organization at all levels is family. We have created a culture and atmosphere here that brings out the best in each athlete, on the field and in the classroom.  The Titans organization has quickly developed a reputation as a place players want to play, and an organization that is for the players, and puts them at the forefront. Reflecting on this Fall season, I've seen growth in each player and team in 6 short weeks. Players walk around in the community wearing their Titans gear with pride and you can sense an overall buzz about the direction of the program and about playing at the highest level in the CPBL.” 

Jesse Barker—16U Titans Head Coach

“As my first Fall season as Head Coach of the 16U Titans comes to an end, I first and foremost would like to thanks all the players and parents within the Titan family for the continued trust and support. Although it wasn't exactly how we envisioned the Fall to go, I am proud of how we adapted to the times and restraints that faced us. To the entire Titans coaching staff, I am excited for our opportunity to work together over the winter months and put in place the values and atmosphere we all agree will be the cornerstone of the Titans organization for years to come.  Coach Barker, also an original Titans coach, appealed to all Titans players regarding the importance of hard work:  “And lastly to the players of both my 16U team as well as all players from 15U to 18U, now is the time to really prove to us, your teammates but most importantly yourselves just how bad you want this, the next 5 months will determine the success you will have in the summer season. We will not always be the most talented team on the field, but we will be the HARDEST WORKING team. Family on three….”

Paul Barker—16U Titans Assistant Coach

“Having been a player, coach, and fan of baseball for more years than any of you, I must say how impressed I am with Lawrence and the entire Titans organization. The most impressive part of this Fall has been watching the incredible improvement and development of the entire 16U team in just 6 short weeks. Not only have I seen this in the skill level, but in each player’s self-confidence and self-esteem. I look forward to the strength and training part of the program and getting back onto the field next spring with the Titans 16U team. I believe this team has the potential to be very competitive in the CPBL next spring and summer.”

Sean Demelo—16U Titans Assistant Coach

“They say, ‘You can pick your friends but you can't pick your family’, but over the past 2 months, one common goal has brought twenty 16-year-old kids together as one big family.

The level of respect for the game, respect for their peers, and respect for themselves these young adults have developed, has really opened up my eyes to the Titan's Baseball Club culture and the level of maturity everyone brings to the table.  Thank you to the partners, players, and especially the other coaches for all the hard work, patience, and RESPECT in obtaining our goals thus far. I personally can't wait to see how our next chapter plays out. Stay the course and believe in yourself.”

Denis Bailey--17U Titans Associate Head Coach

“In my 1st Fall as a Titan, I would really just like to touch on the word "Family". I see it from top to bottom. Each team I have been around truly embodies that word. Picking each other up at our lowest and keeping us level headed at our highest. This player group is something special and I am excited to get to work with each and every player and developing them into young adults and players. The future is bright north of the 401.”

John Michael Tashos--17U Assistant Coach

“Fall baseball with the Titans Baseball Club provided a great look at the talent we have throughout the organization. I believe we have the right combination of players and coaches to make the Titans inaugural CPBL season one to remember! I want to thank the players, coaches, and parents for a Fall to remember, and look forward to building on the family dynamic that we pride ourselves on! Family on 3!”

Alex Crocco—18U Titans Assistant Coach

“The future looks bright in Titans navy & orange. I'm honoured and beyond grateful to have the opportunity to help our players develop alongside my fellow coaches. Something very important to me in life is balance -- part of my goal is to help guide our boys on the path to becoming upstanding young men, not just better baseball players. This Fall season was an amazing start, and I know we have the perfect staff to be able to bring out the potential of each and every Titan player. Now comes the real grind -- putting the work in off the field during the winter, especially when few are watching. Let's take this time to build on our strengths, and attack/develop our weaknesses. I can't wait for spring!”

Jeremy Uylenbroek—18U Titans Head Coach

“This Fall season has come and gone amidst this whirlwind of troubling times we face.  There were times we didn't know what was around the corner or even if we’d play from week to week, but our Titans players never faltered and came to the park ready to give it their all in any circumstance.  Cold, hot, wet,or dry-- nothing held back our players nor did I ever hear complaints.” Coach Uylenbroek acknowledged the many roster additions and the challenge of getting to know a new team:  “As with any group of new players ,they came together and took a couple weeks to get to know each other in practices and game settings.  When they did, they began to play for each other and gel as a team which brought up our level of play as a team. They harnessed the gamut of emotions / hormones these young men brought; it was like saddling a wild mustang.  Our emphasis was on effort and attitudes and they really got to see first-hand exactly what we were speaking about over the first few games.” The 18U’s also “harnessed that power by the end of the Fall and felt the power that they possessed. As a staff, we got to know each player on a personal level as well as what each player brought to the field between the lines. Our Titans stood tall over the Fall and we are excited to grow and develop into a bigger, faster, stronger team come spring. It will be a tough journey that were embarking on into the CPBL 18U loop but we’re excited to be doing so with this group ...this family of Titans.” 


A big thank you to our Titans Coaching Staff for sharing these insights on the Fall season and for their excellent work on and off the baseball field during the challenging months of 2020.  We look forward to seeing them take the field to support the Movember Foundation during our Coaches Versus Players Charity Game at Tottenham Community Centre on Saturday, October 24 at 11 AM.