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Quality Inn - Sudbury
Paul Lefebvre - MP for Sudbury
Sunday, Jan. 20, 2019
Ryan Barton takes flight, committing to Fanshawe baseball
by Randy Pascal

Who knew that the flight of the Falcons travelled directly over Sudbury, with regularity?

For the second time in a month or so, the Fanshawe Falcons have looked to the Nickel City as a source of talent for their top-end collegiate baseball program as Ryan Barton announced his commitment to the London-based school for 2017-2018, joining local pitcher Vincent Bonhomme.

A grade 12 student at St Charles College, Barton could see things gradually coming together in recent years, after deciding to focus a much greater portion of his team on baseball, training with mentor Jean-Gilles Larocque beginning in the seventh or eighth grade.

"Just keep working, at school, off the field, on the field, especially being from the north," exclaimed Barton. "Don't take anything for granted. It was a big confidence boost to see guys before me head off to play college ball."

The 18 year-old eldest of two baseball playing boys in the family, Barton will offer his new team a wide array of infield options, having spent time at all four stops around the horn over his years of play, both locally and down south.

"Defensively, he has middle infield hands, but not the arm strength or range at this level, just yet, so he may transition to third base," said Larocque. "Hitting wise, he's a good contact hitter. He's got potential for power and I think that's what they are going to get out of him."

"I like to say I can kind of play anywhere," Barton agreed. After growing up initially as a first baseman, primarily, in the Sudbury Shamrocks' system, Barton would make a seamless move to shorstop upon joining the Ontario Athletics in Newmarket the past two summers.

"I work hard in the off-season, I train for it all winter so that when I step on the field, I just rely on my training," Barton added. "My glove and my footwork are good, and I've been working on my arm strength with the weighted ball program that J-G has given us."

Beyond that, there are the intangibles. "His maturity, his demeanour," said Larocque. "Moving away from home, brand new city, brand new people, just to be able to handle that for a kid is a big part of all this."

"He's a team guy, a team leader. He'll fit into that mold. And then there's his work ethic, he just never gives up. Those are all of the pieces, but if you were to ask me the main thing, it's his maturity."

That wisdom beyond his years is evident, even as he discussed the type of offensive player that fans of the Falcons can expect to see come this fall. "A guy who works the count, move guys over, try and hit for contact, mostly, and try and get a little power in there," detailed Barton.

For as much as Larocque speaks highly of his latest prospect to move along, the respect is mutual, as Barton explained his decision to leave the Athletics, this summer, to return home and compete with the newly founded Sudbury Voyageurs of the Elite Baseball League of Ontario.

"J-G has done so much for baseball in the north, so it's an honour to come back here and play, for sure," said Barton. "We're (the Voyageurs) a really smart team, guys working off the bench, into the game, playing baseball the right way."

Just the kind of players you are looking for if you are the Fanshawe Falcons, winners of the inaugural national championship last fall.

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