By Eric Bourque
Like most people his age, Yarmouth County resident Zach Thibault soon will be starting another school year. For him, however, going to school this time will mean moving thousands of kilometres and several time zones away.
The 16-year-old baseball player will do his Grade 11 in Alberta through the Prospects Academy in St. Albert, an academic and baseball development program near Edmonton.
“My goal is to go up there and do well and develop into a better player,” he said.
Thibault has been playing midget triple-A ball this year with a team in Kentville and he also is a member of the Nova Scotia Selects squad that will travel to London, Ontario, for the Canada Cup tournament the second week of August.
Two other members of the Selects have signed on to attend high school this coming year through the Prospects Academy.
Thibault says he views the months ahead as a building year, a time for him to get bigger, stronger and faster.
This season he has been dividing his time between the infield and the outfield. His preferred position, he says, is shortstop.
He has spent a good deal of time on the road lately, given the requirements of midget league play and the provincial team.
“You’re leaving behind your friends, your family … It’s a total change.” - Zach Thibault
“My club team (midget triple-A) is in Kentville and then (with) the Selects team, every practice is in Halifax, so it’s a lot of travelling,” he said.
Luke Muise, another Yarmouth-area player, is a teammate of Thibault’s on the Kentville team and with the Selects.
On July 26, as he was getting ready to work out with the Yarmouth Gateways intermediate team, Thibault said he expected to sign on, officially, with the Prospects Academy within the next couple of days.
He acknowledged that it’s a big step.
“Of course, you’re leaving your friends, your family, everything like that,” he said. “It’s a total change.”
The idea is that he will stay with a host family while living in Alberta.
Although he is still in his mid-teens, Thibault has been playing ball a long time, saying he started when he was about three years old. He was living in Halifax at the time.
Said Richard Thibault, Zach’s father, “Ball has been in his blood since he was little and it’s been in our family’s blood for years and years.”