Outfielder and left-handed pitcher Jackson Clemett is an active guy.
When he’s not playing baseball, he’s just as happy to be playing other sports. But when the Tournament 12 (T12) gets underway in Toronto, Clemett’s focus will be squarely on baseball.
The national showcase tournament, featuring 150 of Canada’s best baseball prospects, takes place at Rogers Centre – the home of the Toronto Blue Jays – from Sept. 17-21. Hosted by the Blue Jays Baseball Academy, T12 will have a new format this year that includes a home run derby and an all-star game.
Clemett made time for us recently by participating in our 7th Inning Stretch series. Here’s how he answered the seven questions we asked him:
1. Tell us about yourself. How old are you, where are you from originally, and how did you get into baseball?
I just turned 16 and I’m in Grade 11. I was born and raised in Calgary and I have been playing baseball since I was six years old. My family has always been big into sports and we have played everything from hockey, volleyball, basketball or football ever since I can remember. My sister is playing volleyball at Brandon University and my younger brother is into football and baseball, as well.
I’m fortunate that I have grown up with a strong group of baseball players within my age group in Calgary. We won provincials in my Pee Wee year and went to nationals in London, Ontario in 2016 with the Calgary Cubs. Many of us are still playing at high levels in different programs.
2. What are your goals and expectations for the Tournament 12?
As a Grade 11 player, I realize the level of competition will be very high. We will be seeing the best arms in Canada and I look forward to that.
I recently had the opportunity to play in Atlanta for the PBR Future Games on Team Select. We played and took batting practice in front of 200-plus college scouts. I feel that experience will help for sure. I train hard and I am excited to have this opportunity to play such a high calibre of baseball.
3. You are coming out of Vauxhall Academy. What has your experience been like so far at Vauxhall?
Playing in Vauxhall has been something I have wanted to do since I was young. Vauxhall is different than any other program in Canada. We live, eat, and train together 24/7. I am proud to represent Vauxhall and me and my teammates are all supportive of each other. There are quite a few Vauxhall players attending T12 this year and I know that the Vauxhall Jets will be well represented.
4. The format has changed for T12 in 2019. Instead of team rosters that are regional, you’ll be teamed up with players from across the country. How much of a learning opportunity is this for you to see how other ball players do things across Canada?
Being able to play with the top players from all across Canada is a great experience. You hear names of players on the Junior National Team (JNT) and see posts on social media sites and T12 will be a great opportunity to not only play alongside them, but also to see where I stand against the best. I’m really looking forward to it.
5. Who has had the biggest influence on you as a baseball player so far and why?
I have been very lucky to have great coaches from the time I was young. Jamie Mitchell and Tyson Ford with the Calgary Cubs taught me a great work ethic at a young age. This helped me earn a spot at Vauxhall. Now learning from coach (Les) McTavish, coach K (Jim Kotkas), and coach (Joel) Blake, there is no place I would rather be.
6. What is the best baseball advice you’ve received?
My coaches have taught me that baseball is a game of failures. If you worry about your stats or focus on mistakes or negatives, you will not succeed. “Better Person, Better Player” is also one of our Vauxhall sayings that we live by. Mental toughness will deliver success.
7. Last question: what do you love most about baseball?
I enjoy every aspect of the game, whether it’s being with the guys in the dugout and locker room, the chatter and jokes, or even just playing the game. The reason I love to play it so much is because it is extremely challenging. As a good hitter, you are failing 70 percent of the time and I love to challenge myself.