Playing with the big boys
Baseball in Upper Island Cove more than just a pecularity
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.