© Star photo by Gary Kean
Andrew Flood fields the ball as fellow outfielders, from left, Cole Porter and Tyler Burton, look on during practice for the Corner Brook Barons AAA peewee team in advance of the annual Mary Tavenor Memorial Baseball Tournament in Corner Brook this weekend.
As a baseball player, Tyler Burton was a slow starter, but a quick learner.
The 13-year-old son of Corner Brook’s Craig and Rhoda didn’t register to spend the summer playing in the Corner Brook Minor Baseball Association until he was 10 years old and eligible for the mosquito division.
“All my friends started playing baseball and I wasn’t really into much sports,” he said. “That year I decided to play and I’ve played ever since.”
Considering most kids start in T-ball or rookie ball, it understandably took him a little while to get adjusted.
Not that long, however, since he’s going to be playing this weekend as a member of the Corner Brook AAA Peewee Barons at the Mary Tavenor Memorial Baseball Tournament.
He quickly developed a love for the sport that helped him catch up to his friends quickly. When asked to name his favourite part, he said it was just basically the game itself.
“The fielding and the hitting, all that stuff,” he said.
Burton will be playing centre field for his team this weekend, a position he enjoys, although it’s not without it’s challenges.
“The hardest part is the running on a long line drive to get the ball,” he said.
He believes his team has a winning formula this weekend, with offence and defence standing out to him as assets.
“Our hitting is our biggest strength,” he said. “And our fielding is pretty good too.”
There are five teams in the peewee division of the tournament — Corner Brook AAA, Corner Brook AA, Pasadena, St. John’s AA and Conception Bay North. Other than the other Corner Brook club, Burton is only really familiar with Pasadena.
“We played them last year,” he said. “They’re not a bad team.”
That being said, he’s aware St. John’s, the team he and his teammates open the tournament against at 8:30 p.m. tonight, may pose the biggest threat.
“They’re a really good team,” he said. “They hit and get on base really well.”
The best part about opening against the toughest challenger is the instant confidence boost a victory could provide.
“Definitely,” Burton agreed. “I think we’ve got a pretty good chance. Our team is pretty strong.”
Whatever happens in the first game, Burton feels they have the talent to still be standing come the championship game on Sunday.
“I think so,” he said. “If we do our best, I think we’ll be able to pull it off.”
All peewee division games will be played at Fred Basha Memorial Park A Diamond.
The mosquito division features Corner Brook AAA, Corner Brook AA, Stephenville, Pasadena, Conception Bay North and Grand Falls-Windsor. All those games will be played at Little Jubilee Field.
In the bantam division, teams are Corner Brook, Stephenville, Mount Pearl AAA, Mount Pearl AA, Conception Bay North, Conception Bay South and Grand Falls-Windsor. Those contests will be held at Jubilee Field.