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Tuesday September 12, 2017
Story by: Dustin Saracini
Just under a month ago, Dawgs Academy product Tyler McWillie played alongside elite level talent from around the globe at the Future Stars Series. Representing Canada on Team World, McWillie discussed not only his experience in Texas, but also the upcoming T12 showcase and what it was like to pitch for the collegiate Dawgs this past summer.
DS: Can you walk me through your thought process when you found out you’d playing in this international showcase, pitching in front of college and MLB scouts?
TM: I was shocked, honestly, to make it. There was a lot of emotions when I first saw my name and then it was just like, “wow.” I got a phone call from Jeremy Booth at New Balance, he texted me first and then he called me and told me he wanted me to pitch for Team World.
DS: What was your experience like in Texas? You’re on the field with players from Japan, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Colombia, Mexico, Canada -- obviously a guy like Noah Naylor sticks out. Did you have time to pick their brains and what was it like to play with different cultures?
TM: It was different, because there were some Puerto Rican players you couldn’t understand, but it was a lot of fun. All the guys were actually great, a lot of them spoke a little english so it was a ton of fun. Talking to everyone and figuring out what baseball is like for them [in their country], it was good. Playing with Naylor, when I threw to him, he was by far the best catcher I’ve thrown to. He just does everything perfect.
DS: I know it’s a showcase, but did the team come together as a team or was it just players trying to do their individual part?
TM: Our first game, the one I pitched in, it was kind of like, everyone was trying to show off. We ended up losing that game. Then everyone started doing the little things right to help the team and we started to bond more on the bench, talking and everything. So, we came together the last couple games.
DS: What were your numbers?
TM: I went four innings, six strikeouts, four walks and zero hits and then one unearned run.
DS: Does that help your confidence? I mean, if you can pitch against some of the best prospects in the States.
TM: Oh yeah, it boosted it a lot.
DS: We talk about your pitching performance, not only with this showcase, but you’ve also pitched with team Saskatchewan, the Area Code games, you must have received extensive feedback, especially with Team World.
TM: They helped my game a lot. Just having to make every pitch count, just knowing you have to throw it well here or it could get hit a long way, it really locks you in. I’ve been fortunate to play with team Saskatchewan for a long time, I think it helped my game a ton, because now it shows what I can do.
DS: What’s next?
TM: I have a couple days at home, head back to Okotoks, and head to T12 [in Toronto]. I’m really excited for it, it’s going to be a great time. I went last year, so I know what it’s about now. I’m a lot more prepared for it, I know everyone on our team and I know I have to be a leader on our team [the Prairies], and I’m ready for it.
DS: Before I let you go, how much did pitching for the collegiate Dawgs this past summer get you set for the next level?
TM: That was a big step. That was the first time I had to stop and take a deep breath. That was nerve-racking but it was a lot of fun and it helped a lot.