Article From: www.brandonsun.ca
Photo From: Robert Murray, Fort McMurray Today
One of Manitoba’s top young baseball players is headed to a national baseball event hosted by the Toronto Blue Jays.
John Patmore, 17, of Pipestone, received the invitation to Tournament 12 after appearing at the 2016 Baseball Canada Cup with Team Manitoba earlier this month in Fort McMurray, Alta.
Patmore, who played high school, midget and senior baseball in Reston this summer, and also saw the diamond in midget with Oildome and U17 Team Manitoba, has had quite a season.
The Oildome team heads to the 2016 national midget AAA baseball championship starting Thursday in Sherbrooke, Que. Oildome booked its ticket with a 4-3 win in extra innings over the Winnipeg South Chiefs in late July that earned them a provincial title.
Patmore helped clinch the win with three innings of relief.
“We’ve won a lot that we’ve been in,” Patmore said of Oildome. “It’s been really good for ball. I met some new people and got reacquainted with old friends and that was a big part of it.”
The same can be said of his Canada Cup experience with Team Manitoba, which finished eighth in the national event.
Patmore was hot at the plate in the tournament, hitting .455 overall and rallying his team from a 5-2 deficit against New Brunswick with a bases-loaded triple and then scoring the winning run soon after.
He also won a game on the mound.
“It was really fun,” Patmore said. “Actually when I got there I got really, really sick and wasn’t able to play the first game and was just limited to coming out of the bullpen the second game. That was kind of a rough start, but once you get going you really adapt to the faster pace. I had a really good tournament.”
That earned him the invitation to the eight-team Tournament 12, which provides a showcase for Canadian players aged 14-19 to play in front of professional and college scouts.
He attended a tryout for the T12 tournament, but the Canada Cup was the final chance to shine for scouts. Patmore found out he would be attending the tournament after Team Manitoba landed in Winnipeg and he got service back on his cellphone.
“I was so excited,” Patmore said. “Ever since I heard about it this year, I really wanted to go to the tryouts. I thought it would be a nice way to wrap up a ball season that’s been going so good already.”
He hopes to eventually attend an American university on a baseball scholarship, although the hockey world may have something to say on the matter.
Before Patmore heads to Toronto, he will attend training camp with the Virden Oil Capitals of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League.
He played one game with the Oil Caps last season, but spent the bulk of his time with the Southwest Cougars of the Manitoba AAA Midget Hockey League, leading the team with 15 goals and 22 assists in 38 games.
It will be his third camp in Virden.
“I really have no control (over making the team), so I’ll just go there and try to put in my best effort and see what happens,” he said.
Patmore, who heads into Grade 12 next month, admits that his heart probably lies with baseball, although he adds that winning in one sport transfers over to everything else in life.
He certainly did lots of winning in baseball this summer. He guesses he set his personal record for most games played in a single season.
And for a player who made the U16 provincial team primarily as a pitcher, the rest of his game caught up.
At the Canada Cup, he mostly played first and third base. With Oildome, he is a shortstop. Patmore also threw for both teams.
He said the benefits of getting stronger and more experienced showed up at the plate.
“It was probably my best year for hitting actually,” Patmore said. “I’m getting a lot more power, with doubles rather than singles. I was seeing the ball better.”
With another national tournament set to begin and Tournament 12 on the horizon, he hopes to boost his skills even more.
“I hope to see even better pitching and better fielding and just try to get myself to that level too,” Patmore said. “I just want to get better. To see what the pros do at Rogers Centre will be neat.”
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition August 17, 2016