It will be a young roster that takes the Kamloops Player's Bench RiverDogs into the midget AAA baseball season.
The RiverDogs, who went 26-9 in 2012 to finish second overall in league play, have solidified their team for the season, says head coach Sean Wandler. The 12-man roster features six rookies and six returning players - five of those returnees were also on the 2011 squad that won the B.C. championship.
The RiverDogs will open their 14th season at the Best of the West midget AAA tournament at NorBrock Stadium from March 27-30. Kamloops will play Okotoks Red on March 27, 7 p.m., the Tri-City Indians on March 28, 7 p.m., and the Badlands Baseball Academy on March 29, 2 p.m.
Lefty Tyler Cousineau is one of five Grade 12 players on the RiverDogs' roster, and is looked at as their ace after a 10-1 season. RHP/SS Kyle Pouncy, who led the RiverDogs with a .409 average in 2012, also is a Grade 12, as is RHP/3B Jordan Kealty.
Grade 12 Steven Rintoul, normally a third-baseman, will move behind the plate to catch, while righty Leyton Edye is expected to start for Kamloops and play in the outfield.
There are two Grade 11 players on the RiverDogs' roster - 1B/RHP Jackson Lowes swings a big bat and should hit in the middle of the order, while 2B/RHP Riley Johnson, who redshirted in 2012, will make his debut this season.
All five of the RiverDogs' Grade 10 players are graduates of the bantam AAA program, including Riley Jepson, a catcher and outfielder from Salmon Arm. The 6-foot-2, 195-pound 15-year-old will be joined by former bantam teammate Lance Martin, a righty who has a chance to slide into the starting rotation.
C/3B Connor McKenzie also is making the jump to midget, as are IF/RHP Bryant Jameus and 2B/RHP Keaton Noble.
The RiverDogs' roster sits as 12 players, down two from the 14 they normally carry. Wandler has had a 12-man roster three previous years - 2006, 2008 and 2009 - and is pleased that Kamloops has 10 players able to pitch if needed.