Saskatoon's Hindmarsh "felt at home" at Rogers Centre in T12 debut

Saskatoon Brewers left-hander Carson Hindmarsh (Saskatoon, Sask.) hurled two scoreless innings for Team Black in his Tournament 12 debut on Thursday. Photo: PBR Ontario/Twitter

Saskatoon Brewers left-hander Carson Hindmarsh (Saskatoon, Sask.) hurled two scoreless innings for Team Black in his Tournament 12 debut on Thursday. Photo: PBR Ontario/Twitter

September 21, 2019

By Lukas Weese

Canadian Baseball Network

There is an old adage that says, “There is a first time for everything.”

For 15-year-old pitcher Carson Hindmarsh, the Tournament 12 Showcase has afforded him with several first time opportunities.

For starters, it was his first time experiencing the city of Toronto. Coming from Saskatoon, which has a population of 273,010, the downtown core was unlike anything Hindmarsh had seen.

“I was in Oshawa representing Saskatchewan at Nationals,” said Hindmarsh. “But seeing the city for the first time, it’s an awesome experience.”

More importantly, the Saskatchewan native was selected to his inaugural Tournament 12 Showcase, along with 149 of Canada’s top baseball prospects. Many first timers in this tournament allow their nerves to get the best of them playing in front of major league scouts in Rogers Centre.

Not Hindmarsh.

For the two innings he pitched on Thursday representing Team Black, he only gave up two hits, two walks and recorded two strikeouts against Team Navy. With his command and speed from the mound, it is clear that pressure does not bother the teenager.

“As soon as I stepped on the mound, I felt at home,” said Hindmarsh. “All the nerves went away because I was playing the game I love to play.”

While this was Hindmarsh’s first time pitching at Rogers Centre, it wasn’t his first experience pitching against national competition. At 13U Nationals taking on Team Manitoba in the semifinals, Team Saskatchewan was down 6-1. Hindmarsh came in for relief, striking out eight of his nine batters, while the Saskatchewan offence came back to secure victory and advance to the gold medal game.

“That game made me realize how much I love baseball and pitching,” said Hindmarsh. “I perform best under pressure, particularly when scouts are watching me.”

Sports were an integral fabric of the Hindmarsh household. Throughout the harsh Saskatchewan winters, Hindmarsh would learn to play hockey, emulating his Father, Wade. But once he learned to throw a ball, baseball was Hindmarsh’s calling.

“Ever since I was little, my Dad had a tee in the backyard so I can hit balls,” said Hindmarsh. “I loved baseball since the day I could walk. As I got older, I put hockey on the side so I can focus on baseball.”

Hindmarsh’s journey to his inaugural Tournament 12 is a testament to his dedication to his development. His program is the Saskatoon Brewers, which is smaller compared to others across Canada. Coming into the T12 tryouts, one of which was held in Saskatoon, Hindmarsh needed to perform at a high level to impress the Blue Jays Baseball Academy coaches.

“Carson was not a part of a major program,” said Tournament 12 Operations Manager TJ Burton. “Once we saw him in Tryouts, he really impressed us, which is why we selected him.”

Hindmarsh was never phased by the pressure, being one of six 15 year olds selected to this year’s Tournament 12. His performance continued at the Ray Carter Cup in Oshawa, where he helped Team Saskatchewan get a win with three innings on the mound. During his outing, he threw an 80-82 mph fastball, with a deceptive slider. Developing a second and third pitch is an area that Hindmarsh is working to improve.

“Once he learns to develop that second pitch consistently, he will enhance his velocity to create difficulties for opposing hitters,” said Winnipeg-based baseball coach Glen Hunter.

After a successful Tournament 12, Hindmarsh is heading back to Saskatoon with a ton of confidence. With his performance on a major league stage, he hopes to use his story to inspire other Saskatchewan athletes, looking to get into baseball. Similar to his fellow Saskatchewan baseball prospect Brody Alexandre, Hindmarsh remembers the days when it was difficult to play baseball in a province dominated by hockey.

“Five years ago, we needed to practice at a soccer stadium as we didn’t have batting cages,” said Hindmarsh. “Our first baseball facility was a warehouse, where we could play baseball all year round. Now, to have a next-level sports complex created by Gordie Howe to train is extra special.”

With aspirations to be like Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, expect many more successful “first times” for Hindmarsh as he rises through the baseball ranks.