By Darryl G. Smart
Last Friday seemed like a normal one for Delhi’s Mike Duwyn.
The 21-year-old, who is going into his fourth year at Okanagan College was working his summer job at Libro Credit Union when he got the call.
“An Ottawa number called and it was Dante (DeCaria, director of player procurement) from the Barrie Baycats,” Duwyn said. “He asked if I wanted to suit up that night against the Brantford Red Sox. I was kind of surprised but of course I said yes.”
He then got on the phone with Simcoe Jr. Giants coach Jay MacDonald to work on his special release, and his dad, who drove into town to drop off all of his baseball gear, so he could head to Arnold Anderson Stadium right after work.
“I was a bit nervous,” Duwyn said. “It’s not only a new team you’re meeting, but knowing how good they are. They’ve won the IBL title six times in a row.”
Well the nerves didn’t seem to affect his play.
Starting at second base, Duwyn did the job defensively in his Intercounty Baseball League debut. At the plate he had a hit, walk and strikeout, while scoring after his first at bat.
“I was really happy with that first at bat,” Duwyn said. “I was down 0-2 and worked Jacob English for a walk. It was like a nine-pitch at bat. I got on and we ended up loading the bases for our DH (Ryan Rijo) who hit a grand slam.”
The Baycats ended up winning the game 9-5.
“It really was a great experience,” Duwyn said. “There are some guys there that have played some great ball. It’s great to learn from.”
After the game, Duwyn was told that he could join the IBL team for games when he could, now that they got the special release allowing him to play for the Jr. Giants and Baycats.
“Not a lot of players get a chance like this,” MacDonald said. “It’s a special release that allows players to go up and play to help teams fill their rosters. It’s a great opportunity and I’m glad he’s taking advantage of it.”
After the game, MacDonald said how excited his young player was.
“He texted and asked if I could talk,” MacDonald said. “It was well after 11pm and you could tell how excited he was.”
With that experience, and opportunity in tote, Duwyn hopes it helps him propel himself this summer with the Jr. Giants as he prepares for his fourth year with the Okanagan College Coyotes.
“We didn’t play any season games (at Okanagan College in 2020),” Duwyn said. “We played lots of inter-squad games and exhibitions against high school teams. I’m really hoping to get bigger and stronger and work on my hitting for a better average. In the first semester I broke my right ankle and tore ligaments in my left ankle, so i really just want to get back in the swing of things.
“And it’s awesome to play ball again here (Simcoe) with the guys I grew up playing with,” the former Ontario Nationals player said. “We also have some other guys that are older and younger. And they’re all great. It really is nice playing at home like this. It’s cool to be here at Memorial Park.”
On Sunday in Southern Counties Senior Men’s Baseball League action, the Jr. Giants played a double-header, coming from behind to beat the Tillsonburg Red Sox 10-8 and the Walsingham Senators 10-4. In the last game of the league’s triple bill at Memorial Park , the Simcoe Sr. Giants beat the Senators 14-1.