Reyy Comeault recently tweeted out that his son had hit his first home run for the Wesmen.
That raised questions for people who knew Zac Comeault, like where is he playing ball?
And what is he doing hitting home runs?
It was just the second homer he has ever banged out – the first since he was in Grade 9, and left a good impression on Comeault’s new University of Winnipeg Wesmen.
Certainly his new coach, Morgan de Pena, has been impressed with his new shortstop and leadoff hitter.
The coach explained that the Wesmen are playing in the U.S.-based NAIA, at a level that is about the equivalent of NCAA Divison 2. Only Winnipeg and the ball program at UBC are playing at that level in Canada, and they do have players drafted by Major League Baseball teams.
Their spring season is just 40 games, so the teams in the NAIA are allowed fall games to get their teams ready.
The Wesmen are playing nine.
“It gives us a chance to look at players and evaluate them, and see what they need to work on,” said de Pena.
He had some good things to say about Comeault, and said there was nothing cheap about his first tater at the college level: “It wasn’t wind blown – it was well over.”
But Comeault doesn’t step to the plate looking to jack one out. He’s a prototypical leadoff hitter who is looking to line a double or take a walk.
“He’s been a really good player for us,” said de Pena. “He’s our starting shortstop, and he gets to the ball quickly and makes plays.”
Comeault is also enjoying playing with his new team.
“It’s really competitive, and it’s a good opportunity to play some high-level ball,” he said.
“There’s a lot of guys on the roster, so you’ve got to play for your position every day.”
He’s seeing a lot of the U.S., and enjoying the travel. He’s committed for four years.
“It’s a lot of fun. I hope to have a good career here.”
Comeault played Ridge Meadows Minor Baseball until the ninth grade, mostly coached by his father.
“He was a big impact on my baseball career,” he said.
Then he moved on to the Premier Baseball League, which has become like finishing school for B.C.’s best high school hardball prospects, with the Coquitlam Reds.
He said Wes Taylor was also a great coach who gets kids ready to play at the next level.
The team, in just its third season in the North Star Athletic Conference, has yet to manufacture a win in fall outings, and has suffered a few blowouts. Pitching is the obvious weakness said the coach.
De Pena said he still has to recruit top players, and he sells them on the strength of being able to play at an elite level. And he will play them. He said the U.S. team rosters are long, and sometimes players don’t get on the diamond except for practice, never getting the chance to swing a bat in anger.
And, he says, getting a quality education in Canada is a big consideration for many players.
Comeault is studying biology, and while he has not yet decided on a career, taking his schooling in Canada was a consideration, he said, adding that Manitoba has a small campus with good facilities.