A pitcher from Saskatchewan continues to live his dream.
Andrew Albers, a native of North Battleford, is one of the pitchers playing for Team Canada in this year’s World Baseball Classic.
Albers took to the mound in Canada’s first game of the tournament in Miami on Thursday night. He relieved starter Ryan Dempster in the third inning, allowing only one hit and striking out two batters over two innings against a powerhouse lineup from the Dominican Republic.
He said being ready to go at a moment’s notice is one of his keys to success.
“Everybody’s got to be ready to pitch every day,” he said.
“You just never know when you’re going to be used and things can change real quick through the course of a game in these tournaments.”
Once the World Baseball Classic is over, Albers will begin the 2017 season in the Atlanta Braves organization after signing with them as a free agent in December.
Coming from a place not necessarily known for producing baseball talent, he said he had to defy the odds.
“You have to persevere through the ups and downs and catch a few breaks here and there,” Albers said. “All those things have happened for me and I’ve been very blessed and very fortunate to have the journey that I have.”
The 31-year-old has also spent time with the Toronto Blue Jays and Minnesota Twins, and traveled to South Korea to play for the Hanwha Eagles in 2014.
For many who aspire to “make it to the bigs,” Albers is an example of why they shouldn’t give up on their goals.
“You just never know when that break is going to come. Baseball is a game where the smallest of adjustments can make the biggest difference,” Albers said.
“Sometimes you learn a new grip on a pitch or you figure out something with your swing and all of the sudden it changes your game.”
Regina’s Dustin Molleken is also pitching for Team Canada.
Canada plays Columbia on Saturday.