By Bruno Pizarro
Canadian Baseball Network
TORONTO - Johnny Vulcano relies on his family to achieve the dream of making it to the big leagues.
Born in Surrey, B.C., the 16-year-old used to play catch with his brothers every day before making his way to the Vauxhall Academy in Alberta.
“My dad is a baseball coach and I have five brothers who all play baseball, besides having one little sister who used to watch us,” said Vulcano, during the recent Tournament 12 at the Rogers Centre.
“Growing up in the backyard playing catch with them and competing all the time made me who I am today. They helped me to become a better player and a better person.”
Johnny’s brother, Liam Vulcano, also plays baseball for the Vauxhall Academy, and Johnny understands how much his partnership with his brother helped him to improve his game.
“When we were growing up, sometimes we were playing a game and get really competitive and start yelling at each other, and I think that helped us because now we’re pretty good and we want each other to succeed,” said the youngster.
Playing for a top-level Academy like Vauxhall has been a great learning for the Vulcano brothers, not only regarding baseball but also in terms of life experience.
“I guess I can say that going to Vauxhall was probably the best decision I’ve ever made,” said Johnny, with a smile on his face.
“The coaches are great and it’s great to be there with all the guys because it creates a bond like I’ve never experienced in my life.
“We are 22 guys away from our homes, and some guys are just 15 years old. It’s just a crazy indescribable experience. You can’t put words to it.”
Johnny played in last year’s Tournament 12, which makes him more experienced even though he’s still just 16.
“Last year it was crazy going into a Major League stadium like Rogers Centre for the first time,” he said. “It was such a great experience and now I think I’m more capable of helping out the guys who weren’t here last year.”
In August, Vulcano was elected the Top Defensive Player at the Baseball Canada Cup, where he reached the final playing for B.C. At the Cup, observing his display was Greg Hamilton, coach and Director of National Teams for Baseball Canada.
“After watching him at the Baseball Canada Cup, I can say he’s a solid player that plays the game hard and has been recognized for that,” said Hamilton, during a Tournament 12 scout session on Friday.
“He’s a strong kid. He’s not tall in stature but he’s physically strong and he has the ability to play gap to gap.”