When Shane Barnes, Matt Flynn, and Matt Flynn went to Vaughn, Ont, Aug. 25-29, for the National Bantam Boys Baseball Championships, they were experiencing something new – a national tournament.
“It was good experience,” said Barnes, a first baseman who carries a big stick. “It was good meeting a load of new guys, and competing at a higher level.”
Flynn, who patrolled second base for the team, had the same thing to say about his first experience playing at the national level.
“It was good seeing high level ball, and playing at a higher level,” he said.
Pitchers threw hard, and the players were pretty good in the field, said Flynn.
“You had to be in every pitch, make sure you were aware of every hitter,” said Barnes. “You couldn’t take a play off.”
With regards to their play, each thought they did well on one side of the ball.
Hitting was a struggle for the two boys.
That is expected when it is the first time they faced the type of pitchers that throw at the national level.
“I didn’t do so well at the plate as I wanted,” said Barnes. “I felt I was a better hitter than what I showed.”
Both players earned their playing time on the defensive side of the diamond.
“I played pretty good in the field,” said Barnes. “I didn’t make any errors.”
There was one play that Flynn was very proud of.
He was smiling as he told how it developed
“There was a groundball hit to me,” he said.
Flynn went into the hole, and came up with the ball.
He threw the ball to first, where Barnes was waiting with a impressive stretch from first, and picked the ball out of the dirt.
“You had to be in every pitch, make sure you were aware of every hitter.” - - Shane Barnes
While Barnes did not play as much as he would have liked, Flynn was the opposite.
“I started three of the five games we played,” he said. “It was pretty much what I expected to play.”
Barnes is motivated to get back to same level next year in order to push the player ahead of him on the depth chart.
“The lack of playing time just means I’m going have to work harder over the winter for next year,” he said.
It is a good attitude to have, especially when the team they were on is building towards representing the province at the 2013 Canada Summer Games.
Another highlight for both actually came off of the field.
The team went to a couple of Toronto Blue Jays games on their off days between games.
“Hanging out with the guys on the team was great,” said Flynn.
“It was a great bonding experience,” said Barnes.
Their experience playing at the national level should translate to success at the provincial level when the boys represent Gander at the Midget National Qualifier tournament in September.
“I’m really confident heading into the tournament,” said Flynn. “We faced some of the best pitchers in Canada.”
“We’ll surprise some people for sure. We’re a lot better team than people think we are,” said Barnes.
As of deadline, Collins was not available for comment