Morrill happy to be back home

JASON HILLS

, Last Updated: 4:09 PM ET

Even though Edmonton's Lionel Morrill was drafted by the Minnesota Twins this past June, he knew he wouldn't have a spot cemented on Team Canada's World Junior team.

There was more than just representing his country at this tournament. The 18-year-old outfielder was coming home, a place he hasn't spent too much time in the past two years.

"I always knew I could make the team, but I still had to have that belief inside of me that there was no guarantee," said Morrill.

"I have represented Canada before, but with this tournament being, literally, in my own backyard, I didn't want to look back and have a regret if I didn't make the team, because this tournament is extra special for me."

ONLY ALBERTAN

Morrill is the only player from Alberta on the Canadian roster. Many of his team-mates are going to him for that sense of comfort. On Day 1 of the tournament he took many of his teammates back to Sherwood Park to his parents house to give them a tour, and he's been showing them around the city he grew up in.

They made stops at West Edmonton Mall and Capital EX. Morrill said they avoided going on the rides today because they already have enough butterflies in their stomachs when they opened the tournament last night against Italy.

"I guess I am the official tour guide," he joked.

"Being the only kid from Alberta, and in particular Edmonton, there is some pressure, but it's fun pressure. There will be a lot of extra eyes on me, but it builds me up and gives me more motivation."

Morrill has decent power, but his biggest attribute is his speed. Team Canada head coach Greg Hamilton will look for him to bat lower in the order to provide Canada with a strong one-two punch with speed at both ends of the batting order.

Morrill has spent the last two years going to high school in Vauxhall. He is one of the premiere players in thebaseball academy. He's spent the majority of this year down there. After his high school graduation last month, he came home for two weeks, before he began his exhibition tour of games for Team Canada. Before that, he was just home for a short stint during Christmas break.

TOUR GUIDE

When he and the rest of Team Canada arrived in Edmonton Wednesday, he had a sense of relief as they drove past the City of Champions signs.

"I kept saying to myself ,OK we are in Red Deer now. OK, we are in Leduc, and seeing that sign made me so happy. The rest of my teammates just saw it and didn't say anything, but it was different for me, because this is home," said Morrill.

"This is the City of Champions, and that's what I want to be and I think we can be."


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