BASEBALL. Eighteen players in two months. These are the very productive results of the Cégep de Drummondville baseball team recruitment campaign to date.
Following the cancellation of the season due to the pandemic, the Voltigeurs found themselves, in October last year, with only seven players present for the 2021 campaign. The reigning doubles champions of the Student Sport Network in Quebec (RSÉQ) had to quickly enter seduction mode to fill these many departures.
“With distance learning, times are not easy for our students at the moment,” said Voltigeur head coach Samuel Guilbert. This applies to all collegiate sports in Quebec. We have encountered many dropouts in recent weeks, which adds to the candidates who will not return. We therefore had to have good recruitment. ”
Among the players who signed up for Voltigeurs, we find four color carriers from Voyageurs du Saguenay (Quebec elite junior baseball league), as well as three products from Patriotes sports study program from Mortagne de Boucherville high school. . These two teams are led by the same coach, Michaël Bélanger.
“Michaël is an experienced coach. Wherever he leads, he builds strong programs. “Every time he suggests a player to us or asks him for an evaluation, we get it right,” said Samuel Guilbert, who himself played with Voyageurs in his younger years.
“It is one of the best organizations in the whole league. The Mortagne program is also very well known. The boys who come from there learned at the right school. They are athletes with a good attitude and who have developed a good work ethic. ”
Veteran Loïc Dupont, a product of Patriotes and Voyageurs entering its third year with the Voltigeurs, is no stranger to the recruitment of young Élie Belzile, Guillaume Chénard, Jacob April and Xavier McNicoll-Belzile (Voyageurs); and Christopher Provost, Jean-Nicolas Desjardins, and Jael Papineau (Patriotes). The latter has roots in the region since his father, Denis Papineau, lived in Drummondville before settling in Saint-Constant.
Naturally, the Voltigeurs continued to take over the river sector at Marie-Rivier High School, where Samuel Guilbert supports head coach Mathieu Adam. Local products Julien Roy, Mathis Lemieux-Lizée, Isaac Guilbert and Philippe Gélinas will continue the adventure at home.
“More and more we manage to keep our players here. There is great continuity between our two programs, “said Guilbert, who has worked with these athletes for almost five years.
The 28-year-old baseball man described Roy as a very fast and versatile athlete; Lemieux-Lizée, like a defensive gem in the middle of the infield; cousin Isaac, as a right-handed pitcher who is both impressive and controls his shots; and Gélinas, as a hard-working and intelligent position player.
Voltigeurs have also recruited players trained in sports studio programs in Saint-Hyacinthe, Sherbrooke, Beauce and Rivière-du-Loup.
“Over the years, our program has built credibility and reputation throughout Quebec. We have a large selection of services that include trips to the United States. When you get out of here, the guys have a degree in their pocket, and some have the opportunity to continue their development at an American college, “said Guilbert, who recently saw the right-handed pitcher. Eliot Goulet be recruited by an institution in New Jersey.
Currently has 25 players available, Samuel Guilbert is aiming for a list of around 30 players to start the season. Talks are still ongoing with a few practitioners.
“Our young people will be well supervised, because the seven veterans who return have a lot of leadership. We will have a lot of talent and depth in all positions. As more positions will be available, we expect to see some big matches at the training camp. ”
In May, Voltigeurs wants to organize a preparatory mini-tournament. The team welcomes Brock (Quebec Major League Baseball), Voyageurs and a club from the Ottawa region.
With the arrival of the COVID-19 vaccine, representatives of Cégep de Drummondville are hopeful of playing a normal season in the autumn of 2021. At the moment, Samuel Guilbert’s protectors are limited to training in individual formula in the gym.