Newfoundland’s Vincent a special arm
* LHP Myles Vincent (Corner Brook, Nfld.) impressed at Canada Cup earning a ticket to Italy and the Worlds at South Korea. He has a shot at being the best arm from his province since Frank Humber, the former Los Angeles Dodgers farmhand, one of his coaches ….
By Alexis Brudnicki
The last time there was a Newfoundlander on the Canadian national team, it was 1991.
Myles Vincent was born in 1994.
The 18-year-old had been on the roster for a grand total of five days before jet setting off to the Italian Baseball Week Tournament in Trieste, Italy. Vincent then earned himself a spot on the narrowed down squad that is now in Seoul, Korea, for the IBAF 18U World Championships.
He is the lone representative of his province on the final roster in more than two decades.
“It feels great,” Vincent said. “When Greg Hamilton called, I was pretty shocked. I didn’t even know what to say. I was excited though.”
The first phone call the young pitcher made was to his parents. So what did he tell them?
“I just said, ‘The coach of Team Canada called,’” Vincent said. “’He wants me to play for them and go to Italy.’”
And how did they respond?
“They really didn’t know what to say,” he said.
Understandably, Vincent and his parents were surprised. Hamilton, the national teams’ director, caught a glimpse of the southpaw during the Canada Cup, just several days ago, where he pitched for Newfoundland legend Frank Humber, who pitched for Team Canada, Wake Forest University and in the Los Angeles Dodgers system.
Though Vincent says he “threw alright” at the tournament in London, others say that he was the best arm there. Clocked at up to 89 mph, the lefty struck out 11 batters in 6 2/3 frames of work against Team Saskatchewan in his lone start. He also allowed five runs on five hits and walked six, but he impressed nonetheless.
So what would the native of Corner Brook have been doing if Hamilton hadn’t whisked him away to play across the globe? Keep in mind that the only other time Vincent left Canada was to play baseball in Montana. Once.
“I was going back to Newfoundland,” he said. “Actually, our midget team from Newfoundland was going to a tournament in Quebec, the midget nationals, but I had to leave the team to come here. I guess they were [upset to lose me], but they knew it was for the better.”
The left-hander thinks the biggest difference-maker so far in his career has been attending the Prairie Baseball Academy, allowing him the chance to further hone his skills and to be around the game each day.
“Since I’ve gone there, I’ve gotten a lot better,” Vincent said. “I just got better at baseball and I know more about baseball now. I’m playing baseball every day, whereas in Newfoundland I wasn’t. It makes a difference.”
Todd Hubka, head coach at PBA, is likely to be keeping tabs on Vincent throughout his tour with the national team, just as he tries to keep in touch with most of his players.
“He called me the day that Coach Hamilton asked me to play with Team Canada,” Vincent said. “He was just really happy for me.”
Troy Croft was the last player from Newfoundland to don the red-and-white jersey on the final roster of what was then called the National Youth Team, in 1991. RHP Ron Sweeney (Mount Pearl, Nfld.) attended fall instructional and extended Spring Camps at Disney.
Croft’s squad won the World Youth Baseball Championship in Brandon, Manitoba that year, and they subsequently were inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 1992.
The Newfoundland native was part of a team that also included Stubby Clapp and Jason Dickson.
Croft put the finishing touch on Canada’s 5-2 victory over Chinese Taipei in that tournament with a home run in the final game, helping the Canadians secure the win. It was Canada’s first gold medal in international baseball competition.