Saskatchewan’s best U17 baseball players are getting ready to take on other provincial squads in the Big Seeds Baseball Canada Cup Championships next week.

The Queen City is playing host to the tournament this year, giving players from all across the province a chance to show off their talent.

“This is where we get evaluated for Team Canada,” Saskatchewan’s head coach Greg Brons said. “We get evaluated by major league scouts, there might be a few schools here too - NCAA schools watching. So we’re up against the best talent in Canada.

Sixteen-year-old pitcher Nolan Sparks is on in his second year with the team and hopes he can be a leader in the tournament.

“Definitely just experience and learning from leaders last year, and hopefully being able to lead some of the younger guys this year and being a positive energy on the bench,” he said.

Saskatchewan has seen recent success at the U17 level, winning the tournament in 2016 and the Canada Games in 2017.

Brons believes his team is looking to contend again in 2019.

“I always think we’re kind of an underdog because we’re Saskatchewan, even though we are in a pool with the big three of Quebec, B.C. and Ontario,” he said. “We’re going to be really competitive. I think we always have a chance.”

It’s the first time the championship will be played in Regina. Outfielder Kendall Keller, who hails from Pilot Butte, is heading into home field advantage with a chip on his shoulder.

“We’re just going to show them that we can hang with them and we’re no better or no worse than them,” he said. “Just because we’re from Saskatchewan doesn't mean anything.”

The tournament begins on Wednesday with games at Currie Field and Optimist Baseball Park. Gold medals will be handed out next Sunday night.