By Diane Gilhula
A 16-year-old Lasalle Secondary student is spending the summer making his baseball dreams come true.
Matt Braumberger has just returned from McKinney, Texas, where he participated in the Mickey Mantle World Series for players who are 16 years old and under.
Matt, who is 6-4, is a pitcher with the Ontario Blue Jays, based in Toronto. The teenage team is allowed to use the name and the same uniforms as the major league team.
The Ontario Blue Jays played in St. Clair Shores, Mich., and Cincinnati, Ohio, before heading to the Â?world seriesÂ? in Texas. They also played in invitational championships in Tennessee, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts this summer.
Matt has only spent about three weeks at home this summer.
Â?ExcruciatingÂ? is the only word to describe the training required to be in top physical condition for this level of baseball, according to Matt.
Â?The first time I was at practice I threw up. I wasnÂ?t the only one.Â?
He trained two days each week this winter in Toronto. This type of training involved three hours of running, stretching, pushups, sit ups, and weight training each morning at the Profit Centre at York University. This would be followed by one to two hours every afternoon of practice at the batting cages and pitching mounds at the Etobicoke Baseball Centre.
Matt also attended an Ontario Blue Jays training camp during March Break in Cocoa Beach.
Despite all the training, Matt is a good student and maintains a 75 average. He will be in Grade 12 this fall.
Matt and his family look on this is whole thing as an investment in his future. Ken Braumberger concedes he has spent about $6,000 (US) this year to help his son pursue his dream.
Matt has set his sights on a baseball scholarship at an American university. His first pick would be to go to the University of Ohio in Bowling Green.
Â?A college baseball scholarship would eventually save my parents a lot of money.Â?
Â?Baseball is alive and well in Greater Sudbury,Â? says Ken Braumberger.
He says there are some very talented baseball players 18 and under in Greater Sudbury despite the fact that baseball has taken a backseat over the years to soccer, summer basketball, and lacrosse.
There are half a dozen local players on U.S. baseball scholarships such as Chris Gagnon, Louis Charbonneau, Jamie Padutti and Jeff and Ryan Musson.