Case made case to be signed

by on September 28, 2013

T12 Maritime 23-1

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 * Was Tournament 12 a success? Ask RHP Andrew Case (Saint John, NB) who worked nine hitless inning striking out 19 — he signed a free-agent contract with the Blue Jays and their Canadian scout Jamie Lehman on Saturday morning. Photo: Michelle Prata/Toronto Blue Jays. ….

 

2014 Canadian draft list
2013 Canadians in the Minors 

2013 Canadians in College 
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TOURNAMENT 12

FINAL STATS

BRUDNICKI: Future: Orimolye, Naylor ….  T-12 comes home ….Bigras hopes for big things

COUTO: Duforest played for France …. Harrison a tough one … Stevenson starts for Maritimes.

CAMPBELL: The Big O throws 000-000s

HORNE: Others who came to play too.

PERROTTE: Beckett carrying on family tradition

ELJAWHARY: Hrynkiw dressed early 

VERGECamping with Alomars

CHISHOLMTee time for T12 nears … T12 Announcement

Becoming the Face of the Franchise

MORISSETTE: Day 4 Wrap …. Day 3 Wrap …. Day 2 Wrap …. Day 1 Wrap

DAY 4: Zero lopsided losses, AS team …. DAY 3: Moseby rallies troops … Day 2: Maritimes belong … DAY 1: Onyshko, Stevenson, Byckowski impress … WORKOUT: Naylor goes 2nd tank

 

By Alexis Brudnicki

Wouldn’t that be a great story?

That’s what everyone said after Andrew Case’s performance at the inaugural Tournament 12 generated interest from pro scouts.

The event hosted by the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre is one that young baseball dreams are made of – playing under the lights on a professionally manicured field, touring the Toronto clubhouse, and hearing a big-league announcer say your name while you watch it appear on the biggest of big screens.

But what’s more is that the tournament is also seemingly built to make the impossible possible.

It did just that when the Toronto Blue Jays signed Case to a pro contract on Saturday morning.

“Tournament 12 has changed our whole family’s lives,” Jade McDermott, Andrew’s father, said.

The idea of the event is centred on dreams not unlike Case’s, though at this point he remains in a class of his own. The showcase is meant for high school baseball players to earn looks from the 28 pro scouts from 24 different organizations and 25 college recruiters that were in attendance, and those numbers will only grow.

Case came to the tournament having graduated high school over two years ago and entering his second year pitching for the at Prairie Baseball Academy while attending classes at Lethbridge Community College in Alberta. The Saint John, New Brunswick native was giving it, “one last kick at the can,” as his father called it.

After his son’s dominant seven-inning, complete-game, no-hit performance for the Maritimes in the semi-final round of Tournament 12, Jade felt comfort in the fact that he and his wife Kathy were right all along – this is where their son belonged.

Hopping on a flight back to New Brunswick immediately following the eye-opening pitching display and before Andrew’s team would eventually win the entire tournament, Jade McDermott was in tears every minute of the way home.

The last kick at the can had already generated interest from the Milwaukee Brewers and the host Blue Jays, and little did McDermott know that the Oakland Athletics would also come calling the next day.

In the four days that followed, McDermott was already anticipating news that his son’s future could forever change at any moment. The loving father couldn’t eat, with nerves overcoming his appetite; couldn’t sleep, working the night shift as a supervisor at a local drywall plant; and he couldn’t help but get a little choked up at the idea of Andrew’s success.

“Sorry for getting a little emotional,” he said. “But no one from New Brunswick ever plays professional baseball and he might have a shot.”

McDermott made sure to mention that Matt Stairs was the last guy to get signed out of the province, and Stairs is certainly no spring chicken. He also alluded to the fact that the anticipated news would be so exciting that it could be deserving of a town parade.

Amidst the waiting and the dreaming, the call finally came. Four night shifts later, Jade’s phone still hasn’t been turned off for even one second. It felt like it took forever but, all of a sudden in one quick moment, all of the Case family’s dreams had come true.

“It’s something just to sign with any major league team,” Jade said through tears immediately following the signing. “But this is Toronto. This is unbelievable … [Andrew and I] got to cry together on the phone for a minute and then he had to go pitch.”

Everything that Kathy and Jade McDermott have done for their son over the years has come to fruition. It isn’t Andrew’s dream that came true on Saturday morning, but it’s every parent’s wish for their young baseball-playing spawn.

“All the sacrifices by sending Andrew away …” Jade trailed off as his words got lost in his excitement. “Sorry I’m crying and quivering, but all the times we sent him away and he was the only kid going away, and money-wise, sending him out to Alberta – it’s worth triple what we paid. It’s unbelievable …

“This is our dream too. When we started sending him out west our goal was to get him at least into an organization where he could show what he could do. And now he’s going to get that opportunity.”

Everything has now gone exactly as the Cases had hoped. They knew that he could get to this point, but weren’t sure if it was ever going to happen for him. Andrew’s display at Tournament 12 was enough for the Blue Jays, however, and for the man who made his dreams come true, signing scout Jamie Lehman. 

“Andrew is a special competitor,” Lehman said. “His ability to attack hitters with a feel for three pitches, in a big game, is impressive. I really think he knows his strengths, knows how to work hitters, and is going to have success in our system as a result.”

While the young hurler opened the eyes of many at the tournament at Rogers Centre, the 6-foot-2, 190-pound right-hander’s coach at the PBA has seen his potential since their first encounter.

“He needed a couple more years to develop,” Hubka said. “I guess you could call that a late bloomer, but all kids don’t develop at the same time. When we got Andrew into our program last year he needed to go find out what a weight room was and learn a little bit about conditioning and throwing programs. He’s done a great job with that and the results are finally starting to show for him. We’re proud of him with the work ethic that he has on a baseball field.”

“One thing about Canadian kids is they’re all late developers,” Hubka continued. “They don’t come from the powerhouses like California, Arizona, Texas, Louisiana; Florida. These kids’ arms are very fresh and they don’t have a lot of innings in them. Kids down south start throwing long toss at 10 years old and for eight or nine months of the year where Canadian kids play baseball for 20 games a year at that age.”

Hubka believes the ceiling is incredibly high for his pitcher and compares him to Dustin Molleken. 

“When we had [Molleken] at 18 years old he was very similar to Andrew,” Hubka said. “He was sitting 87-90 mph and now he sits 94-96. So it takes time for kids to develop here. The ceiling is going to go up … I’m sure his arm strength will someday get him up into the mid-90s.”

Andrew Case went from zero to hero after his time at Tournament 12. The Blue Jays have already made one dream come true and there’s no lack of confidence that many more will follow.

And now the 20-year-old from Saint John can start trying to work his way back to the Rogers Centre mound. And wouldn’t that be a great story?

Alexis Brudnicki
Baseball has been a part of Alexis' life since her parents took her brother to sign up for Eager Beaver Baseball in London. Alexis wanted to play and asked to sign up, too. Alexis played ball until the boys were all twice her size and then switched to competitive fastball. Her first job was as an umpire for rookies with the EBBA and since then Alexis has completed her education with an undergraduate degree from the University of Western Ontario and graduate studies in Sports Journalism at Centennial College

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10 thoughts on “Case made case to be signed

  1. CutterJon says:

    I hated the banality of this headline so much I couldn’t even read any of the text I was kinda interested in and just came to the bottom to tell you how much I hated the banality of this headline. Please don’t copy the mlb.com writers and always use the players name as a pun even if it’s terrible just because it’s there. Nobody really likes it. Some people really, really, hate it.

  2. Alexis Brudnicki says:

    I’m sorry that the headline upset you so much you couldn’t read about the great story that Andrew Case is. We don’t have a headline writer so I’m sure we’re taking suggestions. But really, the story should be what’s important here. Thanks for the feedback!

  3. NB Thriving says:

    Great article promoting Andrew Case and we have no doubt that he will be a successful pro ball player. I would like to point out that NB baseball, although not as big time as some of the other big provinces, is holding its own in baseball. There have been others since Matt Stairs to play, one only has to look at Jason Dickson, former major league all star. There is even a hard throwing left hander in AAA right now in the Phillies organization by the name of Jay Johnson. Even members of Andrew’s summer league team are away at college. Best of luck to Andrew and keep representing NB and continue on the proud tradition that Baseball in NB has become!

  4. Diane Richard says:

    Im a N.B. baseball mom…and i would like to say Thank you for having the 12 tournament to the organizers …having all the organizations there was awsome!and our kids here in the maritimes dont have the chance to be seen as mutch as some of the other provinces.And no it dosent mean we dont have talent…it means they have to work harder and sometimes it gets discouraging!keep playing awsome baseball maritime kids:)

  5. Matt says:

    Great article. Great story about a kid on his baseball journey from the New Brunswick, to Alberta, and now being signed through an opportunity provided by Tournament 12, and seized by the player. Complaining about the headline to the extent above (after admittedly not reading the story) is pretty weak. Be happy for the player, and happy a Canadian outlet like CBN is covering these stories so thoroughly!

  6. Colie says:

    Thrilled to see this happen to a well deserving young man …Congrats is in order!!!!!!

  7. Adrian Zanchetta says:

    Here I sit in Frankfurt, German and to think less than 2 months ago I saw Case Andrew

  8. Adrian Zanchetta says:

    Great news travels fast as I sit here in Frankfurt, Germany. Less than two months ago I watched Andrew Case pitch a victory over the Fredericton Royals in Saint John, NB. What a smile this news brought to my face.

    Adrian Zanchetta
    Windsor, ON.

  9. Brent says:

    Very inspirational story – Indeed, a case can be made for the headline being witty and effective. Only a headcase would – ok, must stop haha.

    As a bluenoser who later became a “Johner” I am very proud of Andrew Case. What a story of perseverance. Andew will be a lightning rod for other talent across the land, especially those who may have given up too early.

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