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A family tradition, at home, behind the plate

Positionally speaking, the family tradition was set.

The only real question for local catching prospect Braeden Dube remained the post-secondary institution of choice where the pending graduate of E.S.C. l'Horizon in Sudbury would ply his trade behind the plate.

On Friday, Dube, along with friends, family and supporters from both the Sudbury Academy as well as Sudbury Voyageurs baseball confirmed that the 17 year old would be heading off to join the Fanshawe Falcons of the OCAA, in London, come September.

In the tradition of older brother Rilley (catcher at West Virginia Tech) and uncle James Neely (catcher - NCAA), the younger Dube was almost pre-disposed to the position of backstop.

Throw in Baseball Academy founder and head coach Jean-Gilles Larocque, a catcher himself with experience south of the border, and it's clear that tapping into existing expertise in developing his craft would clearly not be an issue.

"Thanks to J-G, my brother, my uncle, I've gotten a lot better behind the plate, with blocking, and knowledge of the game as well," said Dube. "I feel more comfortable behind the plate. I owe those three guys a big thank you."

"Without them, I probably wouldn't be here today, pushing me, even when I didn't want it. The things that they have taught me, showed me, things I needed to tweak." For as much as there is a sibling similarity with the catching position, the Dube brothers are certainly not identical twins.

"He (Rilley) is a brick wall back there," said Braeden. "My brother is crazy behind the plate. He's taught me a few things about blocking. That's probably the biggest difference between me and him."

And while it is true that the role of catcher is coveted largely as a defensive presence within the lineup, Dube wants to contribute, as much as possible, offensively as well. "He's matured into that role as a hitter, being more disciplined, a real team player, willing to do anything to get it done to get on base," said Larocque.

"If you play a weekend, you will probably see four to five pitchers," explained Dube. "They all have a good fastball, they all have a curveball, but then you get that one guy that might throw a good changeup - you don't see that very often."

"I can catch up to a fastball, I can recognize and sit back on a curveball, but it's the changeup that gets me. Especially being a lefty, facing a righty, the pitch will dip away and down, and if they throw a good one, it comes out looking like a fastball."

Ironically, it wasn't just on the field where Dube looked up to his older brother. Having witnessed, first hand, the challenges that are encountered when one tries to navigate their way as a high-school athletic prospect to being a post-secondary recruit, Dube enjoyed a definite feel for the environment that would provide the best fit for the next step in his career.

"It didn't matter where I went, the biggest thing that I was looking for in a school was to feel comfortable and at home," he said. "As long as I got to take my program (Construction Engineering Technology), play baseball and feel at home."

In catching gear, behind the plate, is clearly where the Dube clan feel most at home.

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