Spa­niard’s Bay teen named to Team NL

Spa­niard’s Bay teen named to pro­vin­cial U-18 ros­ter

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER THE COM­PASS PHOTO BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER/ THE COM­PASS

Spa­niard’s Bay’s Noah Wil­son is headed to Que­bec for the sec­ond straight year with New­found­land and Labrador’s un­der-18 base­ball squad. The tour­na­ment, set for Aug. 13-17 in Sague­nay, Que., brings to­gether some of the best am­a­teur tal­ent the coun­try has to of­fer and is sure to be a chal­lenge for Wil­son and his team­mates.

Sit­ting on a bullpen bench at the Julien-Morin Park-Coat­i­cook ball field must’ve felt like the ma­jor league for Spa­niard’s Bay’s Noah Wil­son.

The then 16-year-old would sit there chomp­ing on Big League Chew bub­blegum or spit­ting the rem­nants of a hand­ful of sun­flower seeds onto the floor in an­tic­i­pa­tion of the hear­ing the shrill sound of the tele­phone hung a cou­ple feet away at the park in Ma­gog, Que.

On the other end would be New­found­land and Labrador un­der-18 coach Scott Mercer. Co­in­ci­den­tally, Mercer was also his coach with the mid­get ver­sion of the Base­ball CBN Bull­dogs.

If Wil­son were go­ing in, he’d start warm­ing up with the backup catcher. If he was next in line, he’d get loose with another re­lief pitcher.

That was the pitcher’s first ex­pe­ri­ence with this province’s un­der-18 male base­ball team and this year, he is hop­ing for more of the same.

“It was like be­ing in the show,” Wil­son told The Com­pass.

He was re­cently se­lected for his sec­ond go around with the team this sum­mer. The Un­der18 Base­ball Canada Cham­pi­onships tour­na­ment is sched­uled for Aug. 13-17 in Sher­brooke, Que.

It is an ex­pe­ri­ence Wil­son is read­ily look­ing for­ward to. He con­sid­ers the ball­parks a high­light for his first go-around with the team.

“They were un­real,” said Wil­son.

“They had tun­nels run­ning un­der the field and just felt like a ma­jor league park.”

Know­ing ev­ery­body

Last year, Wil­son was one of four play­ers from Base­ball CBN to suit up with the team.

This year, he is the lone player rep­re­sent­ing the re­gion. Nor­mally, one might be a bit ap­pre­hen­sive about get­ting to know a dif­fer­ent group of play­ers.

How­ever, Wil­son knows most of the names on the ros­ter and is look­ing for­ward to head­ing back to La Belle Province with the group. That in­cludes man­ager Kevin Higgins of Gan­der.

“They’re all great guys,” he said. “It’ll be fun.”

Wil­son is a left-handed spe­cial- ist who likes to change speeds and work all parts of the strike zone with an ar­se­nal that in­cludes a fast­ball, change-up and a slider. “My arm an­gle won’t let me throw a curve­ball,” he said.

With that in mind, Wil­son fig­ures to be a key arm out the pen for Team NL and could pro­vide a solid start should the coaches feel they need to cre­ate some matchup prob­lems for op­pos­ing hit­ters.

“I’m not sure how it is go­ing to work,” said Wil­son.

“There might be more op­por­tu­nity this year.”

Base­ball, or any sport re­ally, has the abil­ity to take you places if you’re good enough and work hard enough. For Wil­son, he’s toed the rub­ber on mounds in Que­bec and Prince Ed­ward Is­land. And, it is all be­cause he is tal­ented at throw­ing and hit­ting a ball with a nine-inch cir­cum­fer­ence.

“It’s been pretty cool to play in those places be­cause of base­ball,” he said.

One thing al­ways strikes Wil­son when he suits up for his home province at na­tional tour­na­ments. “The skill level the play­ers have is un­be­liev­able,” he said. “They make all of the plays cleanly and smoothly.

“And, the pitch­ers throw gas.”

Spa­niard’s Bay’s Noah Wil­son will be trav­el­ling to Sher­brooke, Que., for the Un­der-18 Base­ball Canada Cham­pi­onships

Aug. 13-17.

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