Forget looking up at his big league heroes. A Nanaimo teen might get to look down at them, from up on the mound.
Nanaimo Pirates pitcher Josh Burgmann is headed to St. Petersburg, Fla. this week for Baseball Canada’s junior national team training camp.
It’s going to be a special experience for the right-handed hurler, who just turned 17. Canada’s junior team plays 11 games over 12 days, eight against Major League Baseball clubs including the New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays.
“Oh man, it’s going to be pretty cool, seeing all these guys and what they go through and what they do during the day and how they approach the game,” Burgmann said.
He imagines taking the mound against Jays slugger Jose Bautista.
“That would be pretty cool to step out there and pitch against that guy.”
Burgmann has been a top prospect for years, making the Canada Summer Games in Grade 9 and also competing at the Baseball Canada Cup. The junior national team is an even bigger step.
“It’s a true honour and a blessing, really,” Burgmann said. “Representing your own country on a national level is something that you would dream of doing your whole life.”
As he helps the junior national team, being on the team will help him, individually. Burgmann wants to keep working on every facet of his game, he said, “throwing all my pitches for a strike, staying composed, having a good mound presence and just being the best pitcher I can be all around.”
Between his travel with the junior team and attending Vauxhall Academy of Baseball in Alberta, Burgmann’s B.C. Premier Baseball League innings will be limited this spring, but the Pirates will be happy to have Burgmann whenever they can get him. Pirates manager Doug Rogers said the pitcher is a great kid and a good team guy whose love for the game rubs off on everyone.
“I come back late June, so I’m just hoping to do my part and help the team win when I come back,” Burgmann said.