Baseball may not be the first thing that pops into your mind when Port Elgin is mentioned, but the small town located about two and a half hours north of Toronto has a rich tradition in the sport. Among a population of just over 8,000, George Brown's own and Port Elgin native Jack Middleton is carrying on a family legacy now extending its reach well beyond the communities boarders.
Fresh off a successful freshman season with the Huskies baseball program, Middleton returned close to home in Mount Forest for a pitching clinic where his brother Tyler and dad Dave joined him as headliners in January and February. Sporting his Huskies apparel, Jack and co. ran the pitching portion of the popular baseball clinic - the three have combined for over five decades of experience in the sport they cherish.
"My dad is really the one who taught me the game since I was a little kid, we were always tossing the ball around," said Jack. "He's always been so passionate about the sport, Tyler and I definitely picked up our love of the game from him. "
Dave came about his own love of baseball as a kid, and has given back to the community ever since - whether coaching in elementary school, spending the past five years umpiring at both the junior and senior level, and getting an opportunity behind the plate at the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. Brother Tyler played in the Ontario Summer Games in 2010, for the Ontario Blue Jays, and at Kalamazoo Valley and Erie Community College for a year apiece.
"Our entire family is pretty well known throughout the baseball community back home, it's something that we're proud of," said Middleton. "We're all pitchers, guess it's in our blood and has been passed on."
Jack's arrival at George Brown came after having played minor baseball under former Huskies bench boss Tom Valcke for two seasons with Stratford. He has appeared in the Ontario Summer games in 2014, played three years with the WOBA Bulls program, and spent time with the Ontario Blue Jays program.
After a tough start to the season, the young Husky was among Ontario's most improved pitchers during the second half. His final three appearances were his strongest, with nine punchouts in ten innings of work, and he figures to be a crucial piece for George Brown's pitching staff heading into 2020.
"I'm really excited about next year, we have a lot of good players coming back with another year of experience under their belt," said Middleton. "We were really young last year, and with so many guys back I think we should push for a playoff spot."
He loved the opportunity to get out in the community and pass along his love and knowledge of the game to a younger generation, and hopes to see more opportunities to do so in the future. The Huskies are certainly glad he decided to bring his talents south.
If you are interested in the Huskies baseball program please contact Athletics and Recreation Coordinator Deanna Oliver at firstname.lastname@example.org.