As one of the top midget AAA baseball teams in the province this summer, it only made sense that the Cowichan Valley Mustangs would be well-represented in the 2018 BC Baseball All-Star Showcase.
The Mustangs sent five players to the all-star events in Richmond earlier this month, one of the larger contingents in attendance for the games — one for Grade 12 players and another for Grade 11s — that allowed the players to show what they can do in front of scouts, recruiters and coaches from college and university programs.
“Kelowna had quite a few, too, but Cowichan had one of the bigger groups,” said Mustang all-star Billy Ramwell, who played four innings at first base and pitched for one inning. “I thought all the Cowichan boys showed quite well. I felt I did quite well and so did most of the boys.”
Ramwell, Morley Scott and Hayden Plester represented Cowichan in the Grade 11 game, and Nolan Fothergill and Cam LeSergent took part in the Grade 12 game.
“I really enjoyed it,” said Scott, who admitted he is hoping to earn a college scholarship eventually. “It was good entertainment, good talent.”
Scott went 0-for-2 with a groundout and a strikeout, and caught three innings and pitched one, holding his opponents without a run.
LeSergent went 1-for-3 while playing mostly third base and centre field, getting just one inning at his natural position of shortstop.
“It was a lot of fun,” he said. “It was a good experience to be around other guys in the league with the scouts watching.”
LeSergent plays hockey as well, and had a successful season in 2017-18 as a rookie with the junior B Saanich Braves. Still, he wouldn’t rule out going farther in baseball if he caught a scout’s eye and got the right opportunity.
“Hockey is more my No. 1 sport,” he said. “But if I get an offer down the road, I’d think about taking it.”
Fothergill felt particularly good about his performance as he struck out five batters over two innings, and had success at the plate, going 1-for-2 with a walk and a ground-rule double.
“I thought it went pretty good,” he said. “I played a pretty good game, to be honest.”
Fothergill definitely knows he garnered interest from the scouts in the audience.
“I got talked to by VIU, which was pretty cool, after the game,” he recalled.
With a record of 17 wins and six losses through last weekend, the Mustangs are tied for second in the provincial midget AAA standings, and are taking aim at the B.C. title, which would come with a trip to a high-level tournament in New York.
“We’re doing really good this year for a small team,” Scott said. “We’ve got good pitching and good defence.”
Kelowna sits atop the standings with a perfect 23-0 record, although Cowichan beat them in a tournament game that didn’t count in the league standings.
“I think that’s who it’s going to come down to,” Scott said. “If we play our game at provincials, we have a good chance of going to New York and representing B.C..”
LeSergent also believes his team is capable of winning the B.C. title.
“Of course that’s our end goal,” he said. “I think if we peak at the right time and get all of our horses pulling in the same direction, we can do it.”
In addition to sending five players to the all-star game, the Mustangs have played five games this month, winning three and losing two by narrow margins.
Cowichan thumped the Victoria Eagles 13-4 on June 6. On June 17, they split a doubleheader with the South Fraser Giants, winning 10-3 and losing 9-8. And last Sunday, they earned a split against Richmond City with an 8-2 victory and a 5-3 defeat.
The Mustangs travel to the Mainland this Saturday for a crucial doubleheader with North Shore, then host the Victoria Eagles at Evans Park next Wednesday at 6 p.m.