Play­ing with the big boys

Base­ball in Up­per Is­land Cove more than just a pec­u­lar­ity

The Compass - - SPORTS -

play­ers and other coaches.

And if he needed fur­ther mo­ti­va­tion, Mercer said some­one com­mented to him dur­ing a pro­vin­cial base­ball meet­ing some years back that teams from Up­per Is­land Cove could never com­pete with the big­ger cen­tres.

“ Telling me that only makes me try harder,” he said.

In less than a decade, vol­un­teers in the com­mu­nity, in­clud­ing the likes ofDen­nis Pen­ney, Scott Adams and Brian Drover,have built a solid base­ball pro­gram, al­most from scratch. Nearly 150 young play­ers were reg­is­tered this past sea­son; some as young as seven. That’s up from just 32 play­ers the first year.

There’s also been a no­tice­able in­vest­ment in in­fra­struc­ture.

“ Ten years ago we were play­ing on rocks, and we had no dugouts. But now we even have a club­house, with bath­room fa­cil­i­ties and stor­age. We also have an um­pire’s box be­hind home plate,” he said.

The field has also been en­larged from 220 to 275 feet.

Mercer stated proudly that the com­mu­nity has es­sen­tially done it all on its own, and he said the num­ber of vol­un­teers who con­trib­ute to the pro­gram are too nu­mer­ous to men­tion.

“ We’ve fund-raised just about ev­ery cent. I think we got $10,000 from the govern­ment,” he said.

Teams have since won a half-dozen pro­vin­cial ti­tles at var­i­ous age lev­els, and that’s com­pet­ing in the dou­ble and triple A di­vi­sions.

“No other com­mu­nity of this size has had that much suc­cess,” Mercer said. “ We’re play­ing with the big boys and we’re more than hold­ing our own.”

There are now plans to es­tab­lish an in­ter­me­di­ate league next year for play­ers ages 16 and up, draw­ing on play­ers from through­out the area, Mercer added.

“ We want the ju­nior team to com­pete for the provin­cials next year,” he said.

Mem­bers of the Up­per Is­land Cove Bull­dogs mid­get base­ball team in­clude: Front (l-r) — Jared Adams, An­drew Par­sons, Wil­liam Rose, Bradley Sparkes, Mathew Coombs, Cody Meaney; back — coach Scott Mercer, Zack Mercer, Zack Nose­wor­thy, Mitchell Drover, Tyson Drover, Justin Coombs, Jor­dan Drover, Travis Drover and Bran­don Crocker.

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