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Portelance and Arsenault make the move to Laurentian
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Very gradually, the flow of baseball talent making their way through the Sudbury Voyageurs program is finding its way up to the local university ranks.

The Laurentian Voyageurs and The Baseball Academy confirmed two more local commitments in recent weeks with pitcher/outfielder Noah Portelance and pitcher/infielder Will Arsenault opting to stay home for their studies.

"Laurentian was always one of my good options," suggested Arsenault, an 18 year-old who will soon be graduating from St Charles College. "My dad is a teacher there - but also the idea of staying around Sudbury and helping J-G (J-G Larocque) make the program bigger and helping the younger ones is a big bonus."

For now, however, his primary focus will be on helping the Laurentian Voyageurs come September in whatever way that he can.

"I think I've got the talent to make an impact when I get there," said Arsenault. "I would like to be a pitcher more than a third baseman, but I am willing to play whatever position they want me to play."

A smaller-framed body on the mound, the Sudbury Voyageurs' mainstay knows that he has to compensate for below-average size as a pitcher.

"My command will be key," Arsenault noted. "I think my velo (velocity) is up there. I've been ramping it up to 82, 83 (MPH). But having some off-speed stuff is crucial and obviously being able to locate."

Noah Portelance is taking a similarly pragmatic approach as to where his fortunes my lie in year one at Laurentian. "On the mound, you don't just walk in as a freshman and become a starter - but I think I can help out of the bullpen," noted the senior at Coll├Ęge Notre-Dame.

"I can definitely play in the outfield."

A multi-sport athlete through his youth, Portelance recalled his 16U season when baseball jumped to the front of the pack.

"I had a really good start to that season," he said. "I was hitting well; I was fielding well; I was pitching well. The start of that season, it just clicked."

Out of necessity, most of the Sudbury Voyageurs players will, at the very least, be given an opportunity to test themselves as a pitcher. Portelance is certainly among those who endorses this approach.

"Just from a physical aspect with your arm, I think it helps," he said. "But more than that, just understanding both sides of the ball helps you as a hitter. When you become a pitcher, you learn how to attack hitters, so it helps you get you get in the batter's box to understand how to string together a good at-bat."

"You know a little of what the pitcher is thinking."