For Andrew MacCuag, baseball is about growth and improvement.
MacCuag is one of the Lacombe players for the Red Deer AAA Bantam Braves. He started playing baseball around the age of five.
He said his parents signed him up because a lot of his friends were also playing.
Now at 14 and playing his second year of AAA baseball, MacCuag said he has stayed interested in the sport because no two games are the same and he likes how each game is a new challenge.
At the encouragement of his friends and family, MacCuag decided to try out for the Red Deer AAA team last season.
MacCuag said he also had a desire to see how far his skills could take him.
“I wanted to be playing at as high a level of baseball as I could, so I thought I would give it a shot.”
At his first tryout, MacCuag was quite timid, he said.
He explained that most of the players were larger, older and more experienced than him, which MacCuag found intimidating.
“I was really nervous, it was really scary,” he said. “It felt like everyone had been playing AAA for longer than me.”
As such, MacCuag said he was pleased when he learned he did make the team. He added it was a great confidence boost.
“It was awesome. A great feeling of accomplishment.”
The Braves have only recently started playing their league games and MacCuag said his team has made a strong start for the season.
He also said that he also feels that he personally improved as a player and will be able to make greater contributions to his team this season.
“I feel a lot stronger, a lot more confident. I feel like I can help the team a lot more.”
Being able to contribute to the team is something that is very important to MacCuag.
While teamwork is important in every team sport, MacCuag commented on what it means to him in baseball where at bat, players must rely on their own abilities but in the field players have more ability to work together as a team.
“Batting I find a lot harder because it’s just you and the pitcher, but the pitcher has eight friends,” said MacCuag.
“You’re kind of doing all you can and some days you will break three bats and et three hits and some days you will hit three rockets and get no hits.
“It’s just hard being alone against that many people.”
MacCuag added that he feels playing baseball helps him grow not only as an athlete, but as a person. He said being on a team teaches you things that you can apply elsewhere in life.
“The team aspect, you’re with people, helping people,” he said. “If you don’t necessarily get along with a person, you have to learn how to. I think that really helps you out because in life there’s always people you don’t like dealing with but you have to.”
This year, MacCuag hopes to make Team Alberta and win another provincial championship.
He is also looking forward to continuing to grow and develop as a baseball player over the season.