Anthony Owen is a dual-threat in the Sunburst League, playing center-field and logging innings on the bump for the St. Albert Tigers. You will often find the Edmonton Collegiate Baseball Club product stationed at the top of the order, sparking the young Tigers offence which features a deep lineup of collegiate (or newly college graduated) athletes that have averaged 4 runs per game this year. Late in games, Owen is the first guy to get the nod from head coach Brad Wolansky when the Tigers are met with a high leverage situation. Owen's ability to handle the bat paired with his effectiveness on the mound make him a very valuable asset to the Tigers in the Sunburst League.
The caliber of young players coming out of local associations like SAMBA and programs like the ECBC speak to the growing potential of the Sunburst League. Owen, without question, had the ability to play in collegiate summer leagues like the WCBL and WCL while he was playing in the CCBC. However, the 2-3 game/week Sunburst schedule (versus a 4-5 game/week WCBL schedule) can be more appealing to collegiate guys who want to work in the summer, focus more time on getting stronger and/or enjoy a little more down-time while still playing highly-competitive baseball to improve their skillset.
We sat down with Anthony to discuss his background, along with his reasoning for playing in the Sunburst League year after year:
"I played college ball for the Edmonton Collegiate Baseball Club (ECBC) that plays in the Canadian Collegiate Baseball Conference (CCBC). I made the second team All-Conference team as an outfielder in 2019, and I pitch as well. Before college I was a member of the St. Albert 18u AAA team for four years."
"This will be my fourth season with the Tigers (third league season because of the cancelled 2020 season), and I decided to play in the Sunburst because I wanted to play the best baseball I could while also being able to work and have free time to enjoy the summer. The Sunburst league is a great combination of competitiveness and recreation, because every team has a lot of talent and really does put their best effort in to win every game and have a shot at nationals, but the atmosphere within your own team and between other teams is always friendly and fun. The tournaments are one of the best things about the league, as they provide great competition and variety against other teams from around Alberta/Canada, and at the same time growing bonds between teammates and helping the team and players get better as a whole."
"I think that the league would benefit from having more teams, or possibly merging with the Calgary men’s league. Having four teams is just fine but it would increase the competition level if you really had to compete in the regular season to earn a spot in the postseason among the other top teams in the league. This would also create more opportunities for ball players to have a place to play, as the current four teams rosters will fill up quickly with more and more college players looking for a place to play in the summer. I would also like to see the innings go back to 9 innings to force teams to use more strategy with their pitchers and allow for more comebacks in the later innings."
In 6 games this year, Anthony currently has a stellar .500 OBP and a 2.25 ERA on the mound.