RICHMOND – Team camaraderie has been the main focus of the Summerside Chevys the last couple of weeks.
It’s not that the Chevys didn’t have strong chemistry all season, but the 12-member team has been joined by six pick-ups to fill out the mandatory 18-player roster for the Baseball Canada national bantam championship, which gets underway for players aged 15 and under in Vaughan, Ont., on Thursday.
“We are going as Team P.E.I., not the Summerside Chevys,” said head coach Rob McCormack. “I wanted all those six pick-ups to feel a part of the team.
“It was easy with the 12 we have had all year to become a good unit, now let’s incorporate the other six.
“I think if you asked any of the six they feel a part of the team, and we’re ready to go represent P.E.I. as best we can.”
The Chevys, said McCormack, have “worked hard the last few weeks” since adding Chandler Laporte, Hunter McQuaid and Gabriel Penalver of the Sherwood Knights along with Elijah Hood, Kallum Muirhead and Gavin Hickey of the Charlottetown Royals.
“We’ve gotten together four or five times, and we are ready to go,” said McCormack.
The Chevys defeated the Knights 8-3 in the championship game of the provincial elimination tournament in Summerside on July 13 to earn P.E.I.’s berth in the nationals.
However, that victory also presented the team with the challenge of raising the necessary funds to attend nationals. Parents and team officials began discussions on possible fundraisers before they were off the field following the traditional team photo after the elimination tournament.
But, instead of dwell on the huge task ahead, the Chevys turned it into a positive.
“We used it as a team building thing,” explained McCormack. “The boys went in the Gold Cup and Saucer Parade in Charlottetown on Friday, and we organized a co-ed ball tournament at Slemon Park on the weekend, and most of the kids were able to attend.
“They had a great time getting to know one another, especially our pick-ups.”
The Chevys also had the opportunity to become familiar with each other on the bus trip to Vaughan. The team left early Tuesday morning, stayed in Quebec that night and was scheduled to arrive in the city north of Toronto early Wednesday afternoon.
“Our goal is to keep each game close, and hopefully we can get a bounce our way and come up with that key hit at the right time, or a big strikeout or a big double-play ball,” said McCormack.
The P.E.I. representative’s first game is against Manitoba on Thursday morning. They will also play New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador and Saskatchewan in round-robin play.
“We would like to get to a game that matters, a game that could get us into a cross-over game,” said McCormack. “Sometimes they say P.E.I. is a little smaller province, but I think we have a good team and I have some high expectations.
“Of course we want a couple of wins for sure. You would love to win all five round-robin games, but realistically we would like to have three. . . that’s our goal.
“We need some timely pitching, hitting and some good defence. It all has to come together in a national tournament like this.”
Roster for Summerside
Chevys’ bantam team:
Rob McCormack, head coach
Troy Myers, assistant coach
Randy Perry, assistant coach
P.E.I.’s schedule at
national bantam ch’ship:
Thursday, Aug. 21
9:30 a.m. – vs. Manitoba.
3:30 p.m. – vs. New Brunswick.
Friday, Aug. 22
9:30 a.m. – vs. Nova Scotia.
3:30 p.m. – vs. Newfoundland and Labrador.
Saturday, Aug. 23
3:30 p.m. – vs. Saskatchewan.
Note: All times are Atlantic time.