On pretty much every single weekend that the Sudbury 18U Voyageurs were at home this summer, fans at the Terry Fox Sports Complex knew they were in for a treat.
Somewhere in the four game set, Gavin Roy would flash the leather in the Sudbury infield, ranging far to his right and throwing across his body to get the out, darting up the middle and sliding to the turf to take away another hit.
Throw in the fact that he was also the team’s leadoff hitter more often than not, and you have the making of a very key cog in the wheel – anchoring one of the most critical positions on the field.
“For as long as I can remember, I have always played shortstop,” said Roy. “I was the shortstop for every team that I have played on.”
It’s small wonder, given his dedication to his craft.
“With all of the indoor training that we do, we fielded a lot of ground balls,” said the 17 year-old Val Caron native. “I think my defensive game improved just from that alone. And just this past off-season, I became a lot stronger, my arm strength is better.”
“That helped me a lot this summer, making plays that I wouldn’t make in the past. You can play deeper on the power guys, you have more time to make the play, you can make plays deep in the hole that I wasn’t making.”
And still, he strives to get better.
“There’s always things I need to work on, every part of the game,” said Roy. “But the one thing defensively is the slow chopper on the infield, the plays where you have to charge it and then pick through it and throw off balance. That’s probably the toughest play for me.”
While he’s pleased that his wizardry in the field might get noticed, Roy also understands that to play at the next level, he has to be even more of a presence at the plate. There is a commitment to excellence that exists in his psyche, one which breaks down every single component of the game.
“At the start of the season, I was rolling over that outside pitch,” said Roy. “I knew that I had to hit it the other way to be successful. Throughout the season, I progressively hit that pitch better and better.”
“I can hit to all parts of the field, but once I generate more power with my swing, when I mature as a hitter, that will help me a lot,” added the young man who decided at the age of 13 that baseball provided greater opportunities, in his particular case, than competitive hockey.
Though he has his eye on suiting up with an NCAA program, Roy acknowledged that his path will likely require an initial stop at junior college in order to stake his claim.
“I’m an undersized guy, none of my basic (physical) stats stand out,” he said. “I’m a guy that needs to play and be seen to get attention at the next level.”
“It’s a matter of keep working hard, keep working on my game in the off-season and not worry too much about the recruiting side.”