7th Inning Stretch: Conor Pote

Tournament 12 (T12) – a national showcase tournament featuring some of Canada’s best baseball prospects – is fast approaching and the annual event once again includes a number of players from Alberta.

Taking place at Rogers Centre in Toronto from Sept. 17-21, and hosted by the Blue Jays Baseball Academy, T12 will have a new format this year. Teams will no longer be set up according to regions – instead, the 150 players will be placed on six rosters of geographically mixed talent. The final day of the tournament, which highlights players between 14 and 19 years of age, will also include a home run derby and an all-star game.

We are bringing back our popular 7th Inning Stretch series – which poses seven questions to our profile subjects – to spotlight some of the Alberta athletes who are taking part in T12 this year.

We get started with 15-year-old pitcher Conor Pote, who is a student of the Dawgs Academy program in Okotoks. Here’s what he had to say:

1. Tell us a bit about yourself. When and how did you get into baseball?

Well, I was born in Arizona on March 1st, 2004 and I’ve spent a lot of time in places around the world … living in Taiwan, for example. We moved to Canada when I was about four years old and I’ve bounced around from place to place, but I’m proud to call Sherwood Park, Alberta my home.

I’ve been playing baseball ever since I can remember. From the time I started walking I had a little glove and a ball in my hand.

2. How did you end up playing in the Dawgs Academy program and what has that experience been like?

I first started playing for the Dawgs after we moved from Sherwood Park to Okotoks, and I’ve been playing in the Academy ever since my first year of 13U and I played all the way up until my second year of bantam when we moved back to Sherwood Park.

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Conor Pote prepares to throw a pitch for Dawgs Academy … photo courtesy Conor Pote

Okotoks really made me who I am today. I was taught hard work, among other things,  and they’ve given me so much – I could never thank the amazing coaches there enough.

3. Not many kids can say they have a World Series-winning, Major League Baseball (MLB) player for a father. I’m referring of course to your dad, who is also a Dawgs Academy coach, Lou Pote. Tell me about his involvement in your development. Is he hands off or does he spend a lot of time working with you?

He’s really pushed me and helped me get better. He’s always been there, talking to me and helping me out, whether it’s after my first T12 outing or we’re just playing catch at the field. He’s helped me tremendously throughout my baseball career, so far.

4. What is your favourite baseball memory?

Walking out to the mound for my very first T12 outing. I will never forget that. The feeling I got stepping out onto the mound at Rogers Centre was unbelievably nerve-racking, yet so exciting … it felt like a dream.

5. What do you hope to take away from the T12 experience this year?

I hope to showcase my talent, along with the other amazing players that will be there – such as my teammate Max Hartman, who I played with this past year – and hopefully I’ll end up getting a call to go and play for the Junior National Team.

6. Describe yourself as a baseball player. If you were self-scouting, what would you say about Conor Pote?

I would say that he’s that kid that wants it more than you … just that kid that’s the toughest out there and who wants to win so badly that he’ll put his all into every swing and every pitch.

7. Last question: what is your favourite thing about baseball?

Just the compete and skill it takes. I believe it is, no doubt, the hardest sport to play, because you’re using every muscle in your body and the compete between guys is ridiculous. You can really feel that this is a sport for tough guys who are scratching and clawing just to get one more win, no matter if it’s the preseason or the final game of the World Series.

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