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Local teen working hard, making his pitch to realize MLB dreams

'My dream is to play ball at the highest level,' said Liam Dupuis-Cundy, a pitcher/first baseman who has garnered attention from U.S. schools

COVID-19 was a curve ball for many people, but for Penetanguishene’s Liam Dupuis-Cundy, the pandemic may have helped him in his journey to the big leagues.

The 16-year-old is playing with the Newmarket Titans in the Canadian Premier Baseball League (CPBL), the highest level of play in the province.

Ironically, COVID played a role in his being chosen for the team.

He was playing with the Orillia Royals 'A' team when COVID hit and everything shut down.

"At that moment, my parents reached out to a trainer from the Orillia area, Chase Walach (Chaser’s Baseball Development) and arranged virtual ball lessons for me. Chase really brought me out of my state of utter disappointment from the total shutdown happening all over the world," said Dupuis-Cundy.

Videos from his training sessions reached a scout for the Titans who invited him to try out. He subsequently earned a spot on the U15 team when he was just 13.

“If COVID hadn’t happened, he might not have been seen,” said Liam's father, Jon.

Being on the Titans means Liam is practising and playing six days a week. Practices are held at the True North Fieldhouse in Newmarket, their home diamond is at St. Andrew's College in Toronto and they travel into the United States for tournaments against some of the nation's top teams.

As his parents Jon and Melissa also have two younger boys who both play hockey, they sought sponsors for Liam. He now has 12 local businesses sponsoring him to cover the considerable costs of equipment, tuition and travel expenses.

“I like travelling with baseball. It’s a fun experience. I like the team. The coaches are good. The players are good. They are supportive,” Liam said.

Jon said Liam is playing with like-minded people who are all trying to attain a university level or MLB level of play.

“It’s competitive with the other teams and you are also competing within your team to be a starter and play,” Liam said.

“It’s both a team sport and an individual sport with your own growth,” said Melissa.

At 6'2” and 210 pounds, Liam is still growing. He pitches and plays first base. Being able to play two positions helps him get maximum playing time, he said. 

Liam Dupuis-Cundy is a pitcher and first-base player for the Newmarket Titans. Gisele Winton Sarvis

His signature move is the splits, so he gets maximum range with one foot on the base and the other stretched out either forward or sideways to tag a runner.

“I do some stretching at home in the morning or at night,” he said, referencing his flexibility.

His best pitch is the fastball, but he's developing a slider, he says.

His goal is to get noticed by American universities and secure a baseball scholarship. 

Players who hope to get recruited by an American university often turn to social media to get noticed. Dupuis-Cundy is no different; he uses Instagram (@LiamDC93) where he posts baseball pictures and videos. Players also have to have an account with the NCSA, an American university data base. 

“He has at least a dozen U.S. schools following him,” said his mother Melissa. 

His ultimate goal is play Major League Baseball. 

"My dream is to play ball at the highest level," said Dupuis-Cundy.

He also has a back-up plan and that is to have a career in sports management working for a major sports franchise.

“I’ve had sports management on my mind since Grade 8,” said Dupuis-Cundy.

When Liam is not training for or playing baseball, the St. Theresa’s Catholic High School student coaches younger baseball players with the Midland-Penetang Baseball Association, where he got his start at the age of eight.

"Honestly, this road has been tough and there have been challenges, but my family, friends and community have supported me through this journey," said Liam.

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Gisele Winton Sarvis

About the Author: Gisele Winton Sarvis

Gisele Winton Sarvis is an award winning journalist and photographer who has focused on telling the stories of the people of Simcoe County for more than 25 years
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