By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
WHILE Antoan Richardson continues to make his presence felt with the New York Yankees, two more players from Grand Bahama have been added to the Major League pipelines in the Minor League.
The Cincinnati Reds have signed both outfielder Reshard Munroe and catcher Quinton Rolle to their organisation.
Rolle, the youngest member of the Bahamas Softball Federation’s team that represented the Bahamas in the qualifying tournament for the Central American and Caribbean Games earlier this year, also represented the Bahamas at the Pony Baseball’s Caribbean Zone Championships in 2012 and 2013.
The 16-year-old currently attends the Sir Jack Hayward High School in Grand Bahama where he is expected to graduate in June. He played organised baseball from the age of six to 12 years with the Grand Bahama Youth Little League’s Legacy Hurricanes and Focal Predators.
At the age of 13, he joined the Grand Bahama Amateur Baseball League (GBABA) where he has played at a number of positions on the infield. He has also represented the GBABA in the BBF National Baseball Championship since 2009 and was a member of the GBABA 16-18 national champions team this past June.
He is the son of Annair ‘Buffy’ Cooper and the brother of Terrann.
Munroe, 18, graduated from Sunland Baptist Academy in Grand Bahama in June. He got started in organised baseball at the age of six and played up to his 12th birthday for teams in the Grand Bahama Youth Little League. At the age of 13, Munroe joined the Grand Bahama Amateur Baseball League (GBABA) where he has played as a centre fielder and left -handed pitcher.
He has played for the Borco Buccaneers and the BCA Tigers, both teams were coached by REDS Freeport associate Patrick Knowles and has represented the league (GBABA) at the BBF National Baseball Championship since 2009 and was a member of the GBABA 16-18 national championship team in June.
Munroe has represented the Bahamas on the Caribbean Zone Championship teams in 2010, 2012 and 2013. His parents are Stephen and Shevonne Munroe and he is the brother of Stephen Jr, Shevanno and Stephanique.
Brian ‘Ambi’ Armbrister and Patrick Knowles, the local scouts for the Cincinnati Reds, were both responsible for getting the two players under contract, following last year’s signing of Bimini native Dario Saunders last year.
The three players are a part of Cincinnati’s major league organisation that employed former outfielder Ed Armbrister, who had a five-year sting from 1973-77 with the Reds. Armbrister had played with the Houston Astros before he was traded in a deal that sent Joe Morgan, Cesar Geronimo, Denis Menke and Jack Billingham to Cincinnati for Lee May, Tommy Helms and Jimmy Stewart.
Bahamas Baseball Federation secretary general Teddy Sweeting, who has been monitoring the progress of the young players during the involvement in their national championships, said they are excited about the movement in the sport over the last few years.
“This brings a great joy of satisfaction because we’ve just witnessed as a country, having an opportunity to watch Antoan Richardson over the weekend play in the Major Leagues and now we have two more young men that will be aspiring to achieve just what he is doing,” Sweeting said.
“Right now, in all aspects of baseball, we’re seeing all of the hard work behind the scene taking place throughout the membership of the federation. Previously, we had young men drafted out of the Freedom Farm system and we now have young men drafted out of the Junior Baseball League of Nassau and out of the Grand Bahama Amateur Baseball Association.”
Both players will be heading to the Dominican Republic next year to participate in the Summer Rookie Ball Programme that Saunders played in this year after he was signed out of Bimini.
The other Bahamian players in the pipeline are Albert Cartwright with the Philadelphia Phillies’ Reading Fighin Phils, Jervis ‘Champ’ Stuart with the New York Mets’ Savannah Sand Gnats, Anfernee Seymour, drafted this year by the Miami Marlins in the 7th round with the 297th pick and Byron Murray, drafted as well this year by the San Francisco Giants in the 25th round with the 748th pick.
Todd Isaacs, who was drafted by the Toronto Bluejays in the 22nd round with the 654th pick, opted to head to junior college with the view of getting a much better pick in the June 15 draft when he is expected to be joined by a number of other Bahamians who are also playing exceptionally well in high school and college.
“The pipeline looks extremely good because we have a lot of young men who are playing very well,” Sweeting said. “We’re looking for another exciting time next year. And it’s good to see these young men getting drafted right off the island because the scouts are coming back.”