For a young teenage athlete, arriving in a new town in the midst of a pandemic is hardly an ideal scenario.Not that this was going to stop Caleb Deschamps from reaching out.
The 15 year-old pitcher who split much of his youth between Ajax and Oshawa wasted precious little time following the family move to Sudbury in April of this year, quickly pointed in the direction of the Sudbury Voyageurs baseball program.
As the 16U Voyageurs took to the turf infield of the Terry Fox Sports Complex for the first time last week, Deschamps was on hand, in full uniform, beginning the process of getting to know a whole new group of friends.
"I've been pitching my entire life, basically - it's what I love to do," he said. "I am mainly a pitcher, but I can play some outfield - mostly left field."
For the young man who has competed in both the Fergie Jenkins Showcase League and the Eastern Ontario Baseball Association, the focus, in recent years, has been a gradual build-up towards becoming the pitcher that he wants to be.
"I'm a lot different pitcher now," said Deschamps. "I can throw harder, I have different pitches. But I still think my strength and velo (velocity) is what I need to get up, and then more pitches will come around."
"The weight room is really big for me."
By comparison, new teammate Ethan Morris offers a much more physically imposing presence on the mound - not that this comes without drawbacks as the multi-sport athlete (Morris is also an avid hockey player and has just taken up golf) continued his workouts, in spite of COVID-19.
"We have our routines, lots of routines," said Morris. "You've got your hitting routine - that's a full routine in itself. You've got your pitching routine, a full routine, and then the running routine."
"The running is the toughest, just because I'm a little bigger and slower."
Though there remains questions about if and when game action for the Ontario baseball crew might resume, Morris acknowledged that limited time on the field has not been all bad, at least not in his case.
"I think it's been easier to get into shape now with COVID," he suggested. "You've got more time on your hands. You don't have to get ready for anything, really, but sports and school."
Give it another couple of weeks and that list will be down to just sports - just the way that Morris and Deschamps would like it.
The remainder of the 2021 roster for the 16U Voyageurs features William Arsenault, Martin Audette, Cameron Bauer, Karsen Chartier, Alex Frawley, Cody Jalbert, Ryan Lacasse, Justin Lancup, Noah Leveille, Liam McNiven, Cole McPhee, Nicholas Signorile, Vaughn Thomson and coaches Shawn Paquette and Joey Moher.