Baker basking in the California sun awaiting his pitching chance

Chemainus product excited about the start of the baseball season at Monterey Peninsula College

Chemainus Secondary School provided Sam Baker with all the necessary educational requirements and Nanaimo Pirates the baseball training for him to reach the next level.

Baker, who turns 20 on Feb. 2, is in his second year at Monterey Peninsula College in Monterey, California but it’s almost like a new beginning for him with the college baseball season fast approaching. While he got right into his courses toward a major in economics, Baker did not see any regular season baseball game action last season.

The decision was made to “red-shirt” (sit out to attain eligibility) so it’s essentially his freshman year all over again as far as baseball is concerned.

“I played in exhibition games,” Baker explained. “In the end, it was for the best, I think. It set me up to be able to transfer better in terms of baseball ability.”

It was a mutual decision with manager Dan Phillips for Baker to play the waiting game for his chance.

“We had only two freshman pitchers make the team,” Baker noted. “He suggested I should (red shirt) because I wouldn’t be able to play enough for it to be super valuable for me moving on.

“It was frustrating at first. I ended up pitching in exhibition and intersquad more than I would have had I been on the team, though. I think I got a lot better physically and mentally.”

After coming home to Chemainus for the holidays, Baker returned to California Jan. 2 ready to embark on his next quest for complete integration into the Div. 1 Junior College baseball ranks.

The MPC Lobos, who play in the Coast Conference of the California Community College Athletic Association, headed straight into training for the regular season opener on Jan. 26 and Baker hopes to be a big part of it, either in the starting rotation or as a closer.

“I’m finally getting that opportunity,” he said. “I’d like to start when I get the opportunity.

“It’s going to be fun, definitely looking forward to the end of January.”

Baker would prefer to be a starter, but “whatever happens, I’ll be happy with it.”

Last summer, Baker spent considerable time honing his skills at a baseball training facility in Seattle in anticipation of his elevated role.

“There’s just a ton of guys that train there in the summer,” he pointed out.

Baker spent a month back home in Chemainus working for the rest of the summer before starting his second year of academics at Monterey.

“The school’s been good,” he said.

And Baker is pleased in hindsight with the level of education at Chemainus that prepared him for college.

“Going to a post-secondary, I wasn’t sure coming from a small town,” he conceded. “I found even coming from a public school in a small town, the courses and the teaching was challenging enough. I was definitely prepared for the academic side of things.

“The teachers there really pushed us enough. I was quite prepared for all my classes I found.”

On the baseball side, the Pirates program was a great stepping stone for him. “That’s as good as it gets for high school baseball,” Baker conceded.

With several spring training practices already under his belt, Baker is geared up for the campaign in keeping with the usual California baseball weather at this time of the year.

Monterey is a two-year school for baseball eligibility. Depending how well he plays, Baker can transfer to a Div. 1 or 2 school next year.

“If I don’t, I can stay another year,” he said.

University of California San Diego and Chico State are on his radar.

“Both of those schools I’m pretty interested in,” Baker noted.

But he’ll be taking it one pitch at a time first before decision time arrives.

Just Posted

VIDEO: Orcas put on a show near Hornby Island

Louis Jobodin shares photos and video of his experience

New Chemainus library details to be revealed Jan. 24

Public open house will showcase all the state-of-the-art building’s features

Ladysmith marijuana producer bought by Aphria in $230M deal

Ontario licensed marijuana producer Aphria has reached an agreement to acquire Ladysmith-based… Continue reading

Modular housing for the homeless an option

Cowichan Valley should qualify to be part of innovative program

Little stars shine in cross-ice hockey tournaments at Fuller Lake

Players born in 2009 and 2010 show they’ve developed incredible talent already

B.C. boy denied $19,000-per-month drug to ease ‘crippling pain’ for 3rd time

Sooke mom Jillian Lanthier says son Landen Alexa has been forgotten about by Premier John Horgan

Body discovered in burnt out car near Trail

Police report a body was found in the burnt out trunk of a 1999 Honda Civic

VIDEO: B.C. Lions sign defensive back T.J. Lee to contract for upcoming season

The four-year veteran had a team-high four interceptions and 49 tackles last season with B.C.

How an immigrant to Canada helped Donald Trump prove his mental health

Test that cleared Trump was developed by doctor associated with McGill and Sherbrooke universities

Premier touches on multiple topics ahead of Asia trade trip

Housing and childcare are expected to be the focus of the BC NDP’s first budget in February.

UPDATE: Friends mourn boy, 15, killed in Vancouver shooting

John Horgan: ‘No stone is to be left unturned until we find the perpetrator of this heinous crime’

Vernon to host largest Special Olympics B.C. Winter Games in 2019

Games to be held Feb. 21-23, with more than 800 athletes expected to take part

INTERACTIVE MAP: Follow the 2017 Tour de Rock

Follow the Tour de Rock, as they pedal more than 1,000 kilometres fundraising to combat paediatric cancer

Ex-BC Liberal staffer focused on ‘favourable’ ethnic communities in scandal: lawyer

Former communications director Brian Bonney’s sentencing hearing for breach of trust is underway

Most Read