by Sam Aucoin

BARRIE – May has arrived!

Not too long after the Welland Jackfish celebrated their first Intercounty Baseball League championship against the Barrie Baycats, 2024 was on the minds of many around the organization. Obviously not wanting to forget all the great moments from 2023, but a new year meant a fresh start.

With all four Baycats All-Stars from a year ago returning along with many other core players, the eight new additions – as of right now – help to complement the roster. Split in half with four pitchers and four position players, the theme seemed to be power.

Power arms and power bats, coupled with some more IBL experience. Mentioned in the beat’s third entry, pitchers Carlos Sano and Cesar Rosado were intriguing – fire throwing – additions. Ricky Phillips and Noah Hull, on the hitting side, are also welcome sights.

But the Baycats were not done – and maybe still not, we will just have to wait and see – adding pitcher Ryan Lacasse and infielder Nolan Machibroda.

Lacasse, still in college, is a young arm that will probably see most of his appearances be out of the bullpen as he gets used to the IBL level. Machibroda, signed by the Minnesota Twins a few years back, is another dangerous weapon for manager Josh Matlow to throw in the lineup.

“Nolan is the big middle of the order impactful first basemen we were looking for,” said Matlow. “He not only fills in the roster nicely but fits the culture. We are thrilled to have Nolan join us this summer and believe the fans will enjoy watching him too!”


As soon as the schedule was released, most would have looked for when the home opener is, special theme nights, or maybe even the IBL All-Star game on July 20th. But with the way last season ended, Baycats fans may have noticed that the second game of the season comes against a very familiar opponent.

The Baycats, like many teams, will be on the field for two home openers, their own, and for another team. That other team just so happens to be the Jackfish, who – because of what they accomplished a season ago – will be getting their championship rings on that night.

The line “unfinished business” – brought up by catcher Hayden Jaco on episode two of Baycats Banter season three – will be on the minds of all in that first base dugout at Welland Stadium before an epic finals rematch on May 18th.

“Having the Welland ring ceremony against us... That just adds more fuel to the fire,” said newly acquired Baycats left-handed pitcher Chris Lazar. That fire has already been brought into the minds of those on the roster.

“There’s a healthy hunger with this group,” Lazar added.


As the Baycats get better, so does the rest of the league. With that said, Barrie’s roster is deeper, especially in the infield and the pitching. Here is a look at how things might shape out this season.


The obvious number one in the rotation is Frank Garcés, accomplishing what he did last year and in years past, not just with the Baycats, but in his entire career. After that, keep your eyes on Carlos Sano, who has created some buzz internally and has an electric arm.

You can expect to see Juan Benítez in the rotation as well, probably towards the middle (third or fourth). A five-man rotation, used regularly in Major League Baseball, does not happen all the time in the IBL, due to not as many games played, but can be big in the playoffs.

The Baycats have that option with the additions they made. Garcés, Sano, and Benítez are clear starters, but realistically, this team has many more. Cesar Rosado is another appealing fire baller who is most likely to start in the rotation, but could be a bullpen arm down the road, considering the velocity he possesses.

Then there are three – most likely – bullpen arms who can, and have, been starters before, including Evan Soules, Brad Grieveson, and Chris Lazar. With that said, not all is clear, but having all these options is a good problem to have. Soules is the most likely to see some starts.


Just about any arm can come out of the bullpen, and that is huge come playoff time. Grieveson was the closer for most of the year, and because of his experience, it would not be surprising to see Brad start as the closer. Lazar and Lacasse will also be very important for this team.

Right-handers Brandon Hillier and Chris Cox will be regularly used as well and are expected to work middle relief. Both Hillier and Cox have experience in high-leverage situations but may not need to with some of the new arms available.

As mentioned, Soules and Rosado could also see time in the pen, with their high strikeout stuff. Rosado could become the team’s closer at some point this season because of his velocity.


Hayden Jaco and Tyler Plumpton are the two main catchers heading into 2024. Jaco, who recovered from knee surgery last season, got back behind the plate in the playoffs and is expected to return full-time to the position.

Speaking of the playoffs, we saw just how many players on this roster can play the catcher position. Carson Burns, Kyle Maves, James Anderson, and newly acquired Zachary Orchard can all call the game for Barrie.


The Baycats have plenty of players who can play on the corners, and they added two more this offseason. Barrie has no shortage of power at these positions, with Ryan Rijo, Adam Odd, or Hayden Jaco – who played most games at third and first last season due to a recovering knee – hitting a combined 20 home runs in 2023.

Odd is expected to play the most at the two positions, with Rijo as the designated hitter and Jaco returning to his primary spot behind the plate. But it would not be surprising to see the other two guys slide in if need be.

Coming into the mix are two more left-handed power bats, Noah Hull and Nolan Machibroda. Hull is expected to join the team at the end of May, wrapping up his senior year at Mary University. When in the lineup, the pair present a big challenge for opposing pitchers.

Branfy Infante and Carson Burns can also shift in at third base. Infante will probably see most of his playing time at the hot corner, with Burns playing shortstop. James Anderson and Kyle Maves have also played some third in their careers and can fit in as well.


The main double-play combination of Royce Ando and Carson Burns – second base and shortstop respectively – are great defensively and provide some sneaky pop. Kyle Maves and Adam Odd saw a bulk of time in the middle in 2023 and provide an excellent backup heading into this season.


This Baycats outfield got a big boost with the re-signing of Canice Ejoh, who is expected to roam centre field for the majority of the year. Ejoh possesses a five-tool set, showing off all five last season.

He will be joined by a few new faces: Ricky Phillips and Zachary Orchard. Phillips is a very intriguing pick up, boasting elite power numbers the last two seasons. Orchard has experience in the IBL, having played three years with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Brad McQuinn, James Anderson, Branfy Infante, and Kyle Maves round out the outfield rotation for the Baycats.

Cover Photo: Bob Hurley Photography