Next level

Jarod Leroux, Adam Sarafinchan, Jaden Parsons, Colton Schaper-Kotter and Mason Glowacki are five of the seven Okanagan A’s heading to play college baseball this fall. Missing are Carter Morris and Alex Wright.

Mason Glowacki credits his coach with not only preparing him for the next level of baseball, but that next phase of life, too.

The 18-year-old Okanagan A’s infielder is headed to East Central University in Oklahoma a month from now.

He’s one of seven graduating A’s set to play college baseball this fall.

Glowacki, an infielder from Kelowna, said it was coach Evan Bailey’s outlook that helped him land his scholarship opportunity.

Coach has “a grinding mindset” that prepares you for bad days on and off the field, Glowacki said.

“That’s really when the good players show up,” he said. “When you can fight through that, it’s really a mental game. Having a good mindset and a not-giving-up mentality really helps. He’s nailed that in my brain. I live by that day-to-day and carry it on into my regular life.”

Glowacki will join teammate Colton Schaper Kotter at ECU this fall.

Schaper Kotter said the school and the city are great boosters of Tigers athletics, with new or nearly new facilities and a dedicated fan base.

The city of Ada, Oklahoma, only has about 20,000 people, but most of them will be watching ECU football games each Saturday this fall and baseball in the spring.

As for making the jump to NCAA Div. II, Schaper-Kotter said it will be an adjustment.

“It’s really good baseball down there,” the 18-year-old catcher from Vernon said. “There’s some really good teams down there. It’ll be good competition all the time, which will be fun.”

They’re not the only teammates headed to college together. Jaden Parsons and Jarod Leroux, both of Vernon, will attend Cloud County College in Kansas while Adam Sarafinchan and Alex Wright are staying closer to home and will suit up for the Okanagan College Coyotes.

Carter Morris will also have familiar teammates at school, but not from the A’s. Morris is part of Baseball Canada’s national junior team. Morris, a pitcher, will be the fourth member of Team Canada to play this fall at Sacramento State University in California.

He leaves Aug. 4 to join the Hornets.

Morris said all the A’s who have earned scholarships or the chance to play college ball did it the right way.

“Every day, this is one of the hardest-working teams,” the 17-year-old Seaton Secondary student said. “We’re a grinding baseball team. We hate losing more than we like winning.”

Coach Bailey said he’s never had so many players heading to college in the same season. It’s not unusual for college scouts to haunt B.C. Premier Baseball League games and parks, but seven in one season is likely a new benchmark.

He said this year’s crop of A’s are not only good ball players, but have the grades to back up their talent. Parsons said in the age of social media, video portfolios and recruiting websites, there are more avenues than ever to catch a school’s attention.

Beyond that, however, he’s just excited to play at the next level.

“That was my goal coming into the program,” he said. “When I’m older I can say, ‘Well, I played college baseball,’ and no one’s going to be able to take that away from me.”

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A’s OK

Seven members of the Okanagan A’s Premier Baseball League team are heading to college in the fall:

Jaden Parsons: Cloud County (Kansas), NJCAA Div. 1

Jarod Leroux: Cloud County (Kansas), NJCAA Div. 1

Colton Schaper Kotter: East Central University (Oklahoma), NCAA Div. 2

Mason Glowacki: East Central University (Oklahoma), NCAA Div. 2

Carter Morris: Sacramento State University (California), NCAA Div. 1

Adam Sarafinchan: Okanagan College

Alex Wright: Okanagan College