Thirteen-year-olds Brett King, Mitchel Brown and Adam Crocker are already showing off their skills as part of the Nova Scotia U13 baseball team.
But they’ve still got some practices and games to go before the big championship tournament in Woodstock, Ontario later this month.
The trio are all members of the U13 Hantsport Shamrocks, and they’re proud to bring a little bit of Hantsport green to the provincial blue and white.
Brett King, from Hantsport, said it feels great to be representing Nova Scotia.
“It means a lot to be playing with Nova Scotia on your chest,” Brett said. “Not just representing your town, but representing your province on a national stage.”
Brett is stoic and sometimes a bit shy when talking about the sport, but that fades away as he laughs openly with his teammates. It’s clear he takes the sport seriously, but also has fun with it.
“It’s just the love of the game for me, I love everything about it,” he said.
He will be doing a lot of catching on the team and could also find himself spending some time at third and second base as well.
“We always play our hardest as Shamrocks and always hustle as best as we can, and we’re going to bring that to Nova Scotia’s team,” he said.
Adam Crocker, with a full head of curly black hair hidden under his cap, will likely be playing in the outfield as well as pitching.
“It’s great to get to play with a bunch of different players around the province,” Crocker said.
His favourite aspect of the game is the strategy involved, thinking about each play before, and then after they happen.
Crocker, who’s from Windsor, said there will be a lot of pressure being on the provincial team, but he’s hoping to have some fun while he’s there.
“If you face the best, it does make you feel better, knowing you can compete with them,” he said.
Mitchel Brown, the tallest of the three, is playing first and third base as well as pitching for the provincial team.
“It makes you feel really good, just to know that you’re good enough to play on the provincial team,” Brown said. “You have to play with people you’re not used to.”
Brown, who’s from Brooklyn, said his favourite aspect of the sport is that anything can happen.
“If you’re winning by a lot, you could lose in an instant,” he said. “It’s unexpected.”
All three players attempted to get on the provincial team last year to no avail, but are excited to be representing Nova Scotia together this time around.
The three also play hockey together during the winter.
The tournament takes place between Aug. 23 - 26.
‘Extremely proud’ coach
Mike King, Brett’s father and head coach of the Hantsport Shamrocks, has been coaching the three athletes for almost nine years.
“I’m just extremely proud,” the coach said. “We’re a small little town and with 11 kids on our Hantsport team, three of them made a provincial team of 14 players. It’s a real honour to have them make that team.”
He said the young Shamrocks were the only three to try out for the provincial team but said he wouldn’t have been surprised if more players would have made it.
He said all three players have an immense amount of ability, but also bring something unique to the lineup.
“Adam is what we call a five-tool player; he’s very gifted in every aspect of the game,” he said, adding the he is probably the most athletic kid on the provincial team.
“Mitch is a real powerful clutch hitter, and a real big target at first base,” he said. “He tends to have ice in his veins at the plate. It doesn’t matter what the count is, he’s going to use the whole ball park.”
As for his son, “Brett is more of a vocal leader. He really understands the game at a level that is really beyond his years.”
He added, “He’s really immersed himself into it.”
The head coach said all three players are now on the radar for future provincial teams as they age.
“It is a big stepping stone for them,” he said. “Other coaches will have their eyes on them.”
Regardless of what happens at the championship, Mike just hopes the three players soak it all in and play their hardest.
“I just hope they enjoy the experience,” he said.
To find out more about the tournament, which takes place between Aug. 23-26, and to download the schedule, click here.