Travis Taylor says spending a year at the Prairie Baseball Academy in Alberta has made him a better player, but he would like to hone his skills closer to home.
The 19-year-old Corner Brook native spent the past year plying his trade under coach Todd Hubka at the Prairie Baseball Academy in Lethbridge. He has been asked to play baseball for the inaugural season of Prince Edward Island’s Holland College team in the fall of this year. Taylor says he’ll investigate that opportunity since it’s much closer to home.
He enjoyed being immersed in the game on a daily basis at the academy, where he called the atmosphere “intense,” but said there were times he missed family and friends.
“I was a bit homesick but I got through it,” Taylor said Monday.
Several of the Prairie Baseball Academy players from P.E.I. encouraged him to come join the Holland College squad. The coach of the team, Andrew McNiven, is a familiar face to several of Taylor’s buddies, so the hope is to have the guys from Eastern Canada suit up for Holland College’s baseball team.
“I’m going to phone the coach sometime this week,” said Taylor. “He wants me to call him and see where I’m at.”
He doesn’t have his mind made up just yet, choosing to take his time to look at all the factors that would affect him. But if he opts for a change of scenery, he will be immersed in studies in either a sports and leisure program or look at taking a trade.
The coaching staff at the academy are aware Taylor’s looking for a change of pace and they encouraged him to return again, but also wished him luck if he chooses another path.
One thing Taylor knows for certain after one year in Lethbridge is that he’s shown a lot of improvement in his skills and has no regrets.
“Being on the field every day or inside the facility throwing or hitting, how can you not get better doing it every day?”
The last few weeks of his first season at the academy didn’t end with much fanfare — Mother Nature wreaked havoc on the schedule for the last few weeks before his move back home a few weeks ago.
“The last couple of weeks our games got cancelled so I didn’t play much before I came home,” he said. “It would be nice throughout the week and then it would be (bad) on the weekends ... it would snow or be too cold.”
He plans on spending the summer helping the Junior Barons climb up the standings in the local senior baseball league. Training throughout the summer is a given with hopes of making a statement on the diamond in the fall no matter what jersey he wears.
“I’m going to see how the summer goes,” he said.