LIV­ING THE DREAM

Lay­ton Cuvilier lives and breathes base­ball

Valley Journal Advertiser - - COVER STORY - BY COLIN CHISHOLM HANTSJOURNAL.CA Colin.Chisholm@hantsjournal.ca

For Lay­ton Cuvilier, 16, base­ball is his life.

Day-in, day-out, if he’s not play­ing or prac­tic­ing, he’s prob­a­bly watch­ing it on TV.

But per­haps his favourite mo­ment of his base­ball ca­reer was when he and his fel­low team­mates on the pro­vin­cial U17 team took home bronze medals at the na­tional cham­pi­onship.

“I’ve been to four na­tional tour­na­ments now, and (at) all of the other na­tion­als we didn’t do so well. Seventh, eighth place. So this one was way dif­fer­ent,” Lay­ton said.

“It was a lot more dra­matic to be a part of those big­ger games,” he added.

“It was re­ally ex­cit­ing. I wasn’t re­ally ner­vous, but just be­ing on one of the best teams in the coun­try and play­ing at a tour­na­ment like (this), that was great.”

On the pro­vin­cial team, Lay­ton played out­field and pitched as well.

When talk­ing about him­self, he’s a bit shy, and tends to avoid the de­tails of how he did, but dur­ing the bronze medal game he made it on base four times. Pitch­ing against Man­i­toba, he only gave up three hits.

Lay­ton was one of two Val­ley play­ers on the pro­vin­cial team. The other, Micah McDow­ell, lives in Cold­brook.

The tour­na­ment was held in Moncton at Kiwanis Park from Aug. 8-12.

Life­long pas­sion

“I started play­ing when I was re­ally, re­ally young. I’ve been around base­ball pretty much my whole life,” he said.

It’s no sur­prise that Lay­ton, who’s been sur­rounded by the game for so long, has an in­cred­i­bly strong base­ball IQ, know­ing the game’s ins and outs. Be­ing light­ning fast and get­ting on the bases doesn’t hurt ei­ther.

But he’s work­ing on get­ting his fit­ness level up in or­der to get big­ger, stronger and faster.

He said the sport has also helped him de­velop his lead­er­ship and so­cial skills.

“My dad and I watch base­ball to­gether pretty much every night and when I was younger, I would usu­ally fall asleep watch­ing it,” he said.

“That’s helped me get a lot bet­ter at base­ball, just learn­ing more about it, watch­ing it, be­ing around it,” Lay­ton added.

“A lot of good friend­ships are made from the sport, es­pe­cially from pro­vin­cial teams be­cause you meet peo­ple from all over the province, new peo­ple and old friends,” he said. “You all learn from each other.”

Lay­ton isn’t the only Hantsport base­ball player to find suc­cess re­cently. Three Hantsport Sham­rocks pee­wee level play­ers re­cently found them­selves on a pro­vin­cial team.

He said the rea­son why Hantsport pro­duces so many great base­ball play­ers is the avail­abil­ity of the fa­cil­i­ties at HMCC and also the his­tory of the Sham­rocks in the com­mu­nity.

Out­side of play­ing his favourite game, Lay­ton en­joys math in school, and play­ing other sports with his friends.

But he doesn’t have a whole lot of free time in the sum­mer, with his coaches keep­ing him pretty busy on the pro­vin­cial team. But it’s clear he doesn’t re­ally mind.

The pro­vin­cial U17 team played against the U21 ju­nior club teams to pre­pare for the na­tional tour­na­ment and won, de­spite be­ing four to five years younger.

When look­ing ahead, Lay­ton said he’s hop­ing to play univer­sity or col­lege base­ball.

Proud dad

Chris Cuvilier, Lay­ton’s fa­ther, used to coach him when he was younger. He’s watched him grow up with the sport and said he’s in­cred­i­bly proud of what he’s been able to achieve.

“He puts a lot of work into it, and it’s def­i­nitely paid off,” Chris said. “He lives and breathes the game and he has since an early age.”

In 2016, Lay­ton had a se­vere break in his leg, which al­most ended his ca­reer in base­ball pre­ma­turely. But af­ter hard work with phys­io­ther­apy, he’s back on the di­a­mond.

Like his son, Chris lives and breathes base­ball. Chris has been play­ing and coach­ing the game of base­ball since he was a kid — play­ing for 22 years, coach­ing for 15. Now he’s tak­ing a break from that, fo­cus­ing on driv­ing Lay­ton to his games and sup­port­ing him.

Chris’ fa­ther has been in­volved with the Hantsport Sham­rocks since they restarted over 20 years ago.

It hasn’t al­ways been easy, how­ever. With the tour­na­ments comes a lot of travel and as­so­ci­ated costs — but Chris said the sur­round­ing com­mu­nity ral­lies around their base­ball play­ers, pitch­ing in where they can.

“With Lay­ton and the three pee­wee kids, we’ve had a lot of sup­port and spon­sor­ship,” he said.

“The roots of base­ball here run ex­tremely deep,” he said.

“For a small area, there’s a lot of ath­letes do­ing ex­tremely well.”

COLIN CHISHOLM

Lay­ton Cuvilier, 16, from Hantsport, show­cases a bronze medal that he re­ceived at the re­cent the U17 na­tional cham­pi­onship.

CON­TRIBUTED

Hantsport’s Lay­ton Cuvilier, right, with fel­low An­napo­lis Val­ley team­mate Micah McDow­ell, who hails from Cold­brook, both com­peted for Team Nova Sco­tia.

CON­TRIBUTED

The 2018 Nova Sco­tia U17 team was the first to bring home a bronze medal at na­tion­als in 23 years.

COLIN CHISHOLM

Lay­ton Cuvilier got his start at the base­ball di­a­monds at the Hantsport Me­mo­rial Com­mu­nity Cen­tre when he was about four-years-old. He’s been ob­sessed with the sport ever since.

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