BASEBALL ACADEMY - Jason Chatwood, seen here hitting for the Red Deer Riggers, will take over as lead teacher at St. Joseph High School’s new baseball academy. file photo

Rigger Jason Chatwood to lead St. Joseph Baseball Academy

Chatwood previously played for the NCAA’s Gonzaga Bulldogs

Red Deer Riggers Manager and Sylvan Lake teacher Jason Chatwood has accepted a position to be the lead teacher at St. Joseph High School’s new baseball and softball academy.

Chatwood comes to the school after being being a part of the central Alberta baseball community for several years and also competing in NCAA Division I baseball at Gonzaga University in Washington.

“I am super thrilled about the opportunity and I am thankful for the school division and the school to hire me to take on that position,” he said.

“I am sad to leave my current position, but I am excited for this position. It is something that is needed in central Alberta for those guys and girls wanting to play baseball and softball.”

Chatwood said the academy is something that is going to help baseball and softball in central Alberta and the new facilities at St. Joseph will be key to the program.

“That is our primary focus, providing these kid an experience that will improve their skills and enjoyment of the game,” he said.

“It can provide them with opportunities and also, if they get the chance and they are wanting to, to reach that post-secondary level.”

Chatwood stressed that the Academy isn’t solely for high-level athletes.

“I think the big thing is that you don’t need to be at a certain talent level or have a certain skill-set to join the Academy,” he said.

“Our job will be to help everyone improve. If there is a higher-end player that is focusing on post-secondary, that will be our goal. If it someone who is wanting to improve their skills; we will do our best to help them, too.”

It will also be important for the Academy to focus in on long-term athletic development including strength, conditioning, agility, nutrition and other aspects that relate to sports as a whole.

The Academy will also build partnerships with baseball communities throughout central Alberta.

“Whether it is Innisfail, Sylvan or Lacombe — having connections with all those people will do nothing but benefit us. We really want to reach all of central Alberta and provide those kids with opportunities. Central Alberta really needs this and that is our goal to provide this experience for these kids,” he said.

He added, “I am looking forward to working with baseball and softball kids and making the program as good as possible.”

In addition to the senior high academy, Chatwood is also excited for the feeder system through St. Thomas Junior High which will lead into their main program.

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todd.vaughan@redddeerexpress.com

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