Josh Mercer, left, and Lucas Adams of Upper Island Cove are members of Team Newfoundland and Labrador's Canada Games baseball squad.
©Andrew Robinson/The Compass
UPPER ISLAND COVE, NL — Residents of a rural Conception Bay North community will have two reasons to root for Team Newfoundland and Labrador's baseball group at the upcoming 2017 Canada Games in Winnipeg.
Lucas Adams and Josh Mercer made the team earlier this year and will board a plane this week to compete against other provinces and territories.
"It is pretty cool having two people from Upper Island Cove on the team," Adams said last week at the ball field in Upper Island Cove, where the two players met with The Compass for a chat.
"It goes to show what you can do if you work hard at it, because we haven't had as much opportunity, practice time as a lot of the other guys that were in (St. John's) and Corner Brook and so on and so forth. But if you really put your heart to it, you can do whatever you want. It doesn't matter where you're from."
Mercer is a speedy center fielder who considers himself more of a contact hitter, while Adams plays third base. Like Mercer, he's a contact hitter, but Adams also possesses a bit of power in his swing. They both started playing baseball at a young age and have a lot of love for the sport.
"I love the thinking part of the game," Adams said. "It's not just all physical (strength) or skill — you have to be always on your toes and thinking a lot. I like that about the game."
Mercer, 17, had not made a provincial team prior to this year, while 17-year-old Adams has represented Newfoundland and Labrador previously at the 15-and-under level.
"When the final cuts came out, it was a big relief," said Adams.
As members of the Canada Games team, they've had a busy summer, travelling to tournaments in Alberta and Prince Edward Island. The two players also attended Team Atlantic tryouts in Moncton, N.B.
In order to prepare for the Canada Games, Team Newfoundland and Labrador players are getting together for two-to-three practices a week in St. John's.
"I think we're coming together more-and-more every practice," Mercer said.
"I like this team," added Adams. "Everyone is pretty good friends. It's a good bunch of guys."
Having already faced a few of the other Canada Games teams, Mercer expects his team will be competitive at the tournament.
"We've had close games. We beat a few. So the whole team is going up ready to compete," he said. "We're not expecting to go up and get blown out of the water."