Greater Sudbury Soccer Club
Toppers Pizza
Eddies RestaurantImperial Collision Centre
Gavin Roy: from midwestern walk-on to Washington State
2023-12-28
(picture not found)

Some local athletes make their way to the United States to pursue their sporting dreams. A very small number of those might be successful in securing an NCAA Division I scholarship. An even smaller number might reach the pinnacle of accepting an offer from a "Power Five" school.

For reference purposes, I found the following description of the NCAA Power 5: "the five athletic conferences that are considered the most prominent and influential in NCAA Division I college football"

And while the cross-over might not exact in moving from football to baseball, it's still a pretty big deal to have two members of the Sudbury Voyageurs system committing this fall to top end NCAA programs.

Currently donning the colours of the Cloud County Community College Thunderbirds, infielder Gavin Roy and pitcher Scooter Rienguette recently unveiled the next stop in their respective journeys.

Having just celebrated his 20th birthday last week, Roy will take his workmanlike and methodical approach at the plate along with his leather-flashing defensive brilliance to Pulman (Washington), home of the Washington State Cougars in the fall.

“It was my best opportunity to play at the highest possible level, giving me the best chance to take myself to the next level,” said Roy. “That was everything for me; I just want to play. I got a really good chance to do that here in Kansas.”

That might be true, but it was a chance that he created in the American midwest, one in which the character traits that his Sudbury coaches knew all too well were exposed to the staffs of both Cloud County as well as the Kingsman Islanders (where he and Rienguette played summer ball in 2023).

“I feel like I had an underdog mentality coming in as a walk-on,” Roy recalled. “There was no scholarship money there. Mental toughness is kind of what it’s all about, just focusing on winning every single rep at practice – and the coaches will see that. That’s kind of how I got on the field more in the spring.”

Northern Ontario is hardly a hotbed of baseball talent in the eyes of NCAA schools – though perhaps that may change soon. Having now leveraged the JUCO (junior college) experience to work his way to D1, Roy is quick to acknowledge that there was much to be reaped of the foundational skill-set that he developed at home.

“What J-G (Jean-Gilles Larocque – owner of the Baseball Academy) is doing prepares you a lot for the next level,” said Roy. “He’s doing it right, for sure. My defense has definitely improved since I have been here, but I really think that’s all from the base I had already developed in Sudbury.”

It’s a work in progress that he will take with him to Washington State, a team that went 10-19 in PAC12 play last year but posted an overall record of 29-23. “I do a lot of the little things right – that’s what my coach would say,” stated Roy. “I run the bases really well, play good defensively – and there’s an offensive upside.”

Northern Hockey Academy