With the heat in Quebec these days, it feels like the middle of baseball season. However, the Elite Junior League (LBJÉQ) takes off this Saturday, May 14, with seven games on the menu.
Double programs at Quillorama Stadium, in Trois-Rivières, as well as at Raymond-Daviault Park, in the Pointe-aux-Trembles district, in Montreal. There will also be action in Coaticook, Repentigny as well as Stade Canac in Quebec.
Reigning champions of the LBJÉQ, the Saint-Eustache Bisons will also have to wait a few more days before starting their campaign. The opportunity will be a good one to scrutinize the opponents.
"For us, honestly, it's a championship that came out of nowhere last year," said Bisons manager Luc Desgroseilliers, recalling the triumph in the grand final against the Trois-Rivières Junior Elite Eagles. We had not planned it, we were then in semi-reconstruction. This year, we have a club betting on several veterans, including 12 22-year-old players. The objective will obviously be to bridge the gap between the young people who arrive and the older ones.
Legault on a mission
Pitcher Nicolas Legault will be one of the players to watch for the Bisons, as will versatile player Félix D'Arcy, among others.
"I don't think we have a target behind us, but the fact that we are defending champions is sure that the other teams will be waiting for us and want to beat us," adds Desgroseilliers, who also holds the position. general manager of the Bisons.
A “normal” season
Regardless of the eventual winners, it should be noted that the LBJÉQ, after two more complicated seasons due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will finally be entitled to a campaign of 42 games for each of the teams. It will also be possible for clubs to face opponents from other divisions and to travel more.
“It is sure that the excitement is there at the idea of traveling a little more with the team”, recognizes Desgroseilliers with enthusiasm.
Everything will probably start under the sun! And as the LBJÉQ slogan says: “see you at the stadium”!
The LBJÉQ has a total of 13 teams: Charlesbourg, Coaticook, Gatineau, Granby, LaSalle, Laval, Longueuil, Montreal, Quebec, Repentigny, Saguenay, Saint-Eustache and Trois-Rivières.