Between 2005 and 2007, a young Philippe Aumont honored Gatineau by joining the Canadian national baseball team.
It took 14 years before another Gatineau resident achieved the feat. The wait ended Tuesday night when Robin Villeneuve received confirmation that he would follow the Canadian U-18 team to Florida to face the US U-18 team in a series of seven games on an effective Friday.
Left-handed pitcher and also first baseman, Villeneuve had just completed a long two-week selection camp at Ajax in the Toronto area. In 14 days, he participated in a dozen matches in the team with the 38 best under 18 baseball players in the country.
He had a good camp. When batting, he hit for .316 in 38 hits, but for the most part he hit with force. Of his 12 hits on 38 strokes, seven were for more than one goal (six doubles and home runs). The Canadian team’s head coach Greg Hamilton has always put him in second or fifth place in his battle role. Villeneuve scored 11 points. He produced seven more.
“I hit very well. I was still the fifth batter at the start of the camp, but when I did very well, he placed me in second place for the rest of the selection camp. I knew I had punch, but I did not know I had so “In practice, I took 18 or 19 balls out of the park. There are only two other players who have come out more,” said the one who trained on the court where Philippe Aumont and the senior Canadian team had won the gold medal at the 2015 Pan American Games.
The 6’1 ” tall left-hander also threw three times in the last two weeks at the Canadian camp. He did well on the mound. In four innings, he allowed only three hits and one earned run. He struck out four strokes, but admits he was in poor form on his last trip on Tuesday.
“I hurt my thumb while hitting. It’s a little swollen and I have blisters all over my left hand! The last two weeks have not been easy. We were on the field six hours a day (training and matches) and it was very hot , said one of the 32 players who will take the road to Bradenton, Florida to meet the Americans in the training complex.In the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Strong American team
American training is solid. The adjustment is enough to make you dizzy.
– The Americans are mostly the best in the world. They have between five and ten players who will be selected in the first round of the next Major League Baseball Draft. They have also estimated the two players to be drafted for the first two places in the following draft. “
Nicolas-Gatineau, a high school sports student, expects to play first base or be a designated hitter during this international series. He could also throw a little.
“I will definitely play, but not as often as our full-time edges. I’ve really learned a lot in the last two weeks. I realized that I belonged to the elite of junior baseball in the country. I can not wait to come to Florida. I know the challenge will be met. I’m probably getting a little stressed at first. There were baseball scouts in the Major League in Toronto, but there will be many more scouts in Florida. ”
As a 14-year-old, Villeneuve made the heartbreaking choice to give up hockey to focus on baseball.
Three years later, when he received his payslip uniform, he realized that the sacrifice was worth the price.
– I think I made the right decision. It’s very cool everything that’s been going on for two weeks! ”