A Chilliwack baseball star is heading to Vancouver this fall, committing to the UBC Thunderbirds.
Mitchell Middlemiss is making the jump from the Abbotsford Cardinals, and he is also a charter member of G.W. Graham’s fledgling baseball program.
The toolsy outfielder had a few options on the table, but got good vibes from the T-Birds and head coach Chris Pritchett.
Pritchett had been tracking the teenager’s progress for a while, but COVID limited their face-to-face interaction. Last month, the UBC baseball boss found his way out to Abbotsford to watch Middlemiss practice.
“That’s when I met him for the first time,” Middlemiss noted. “If it wasn’t for COVID, he said he’d normally have lunch with me and my family several times and have me out to the campus, but we had to do just about everything over the phone.
The conversations I’ve had with him on the phone and in person make me think he’s very genuine. “His reputation throughout the baseball community is very high. I haven’t heard a bad thing said about him, which really validates how I feel about him.”
Middlemiss has the type of do-it-all profile that baseball coaches love. At six-foot-three and 180 pounds, he’s got a projectable frame. He’s fast in the field and on the basepaths, and he’s got a good arm making throws from the outfield. At the plate, he puts hard-hit balls in play.
A confident kid, he thinks he can step right into the UBC lineup and make a difference.
“I needed to know I would have the opportunity to compete for playing time as a freshman, because I don’t want to go somewhere and sit on the bench for the first year,” Middlemiss said. “One thing he (Pritchett) said is that each year his teams start fresh and you have to earn your playing time, no matter who you are.”
While most of his Abbotsford Cardinals went to the Yale Baseball Academy, because they’re from Abbotsford, Middlemiss signed on to the G.W. version this year. It’s the first year the program has been offered at the school, and Middlemiss credited it with giving him extra practice.
“Instead of taking an elective that won’t be too useful for me, the baseball program gave me an opportunity to get more training,” he said. “It was good to be a part of it, even if it’s just for the one year, and it’s a sign that baseball is really growing in Chilliwack.”
Middlemiss is a dreamer who dreams of playing in the big leagues one day.
“My first goal is to get to UBC, work hard and get that starting position that I want,” he said. “Then it’s up to me to play well enough where there’s potential to get drafted. But I think every baseball player has that dream of playing in the majors.”
At the same time, he’s hoping to get accepted into the Business Management program, as a fallback if the baseball dream doesn’t work out.
“It hasn’t really hit yet that I’ve committed and I have the next five years of my life figured out, but I am really excited,” he said. “There is nervous and uncertainty about what’s to come, but I do feel like the work that I’ve put in has finally paid off.”
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