Britannia Secondary's Keenan Williams has been playing baseball since he was 6 years old. Now, after well over a decade of pitching and playing outfield, Williams is set to take his baseball game to the next level with an invitation to practice with the Canadian Junior National Team.
The invitation came a week after Williams returned from Toronto where he had been tapped to compete in "Tournament 12" run by Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar and the Toronto Blue Jays.
Williams says he was definitely nervous waiting in the bullpen before being called out onto the pitch in the massive Rogers Centre baseball stadium in Toronto. But after he looked at himself hard in the mirror, he transformed the nerves into adrenaline and then excitement.
He was eager to light it up after feeling he pitched below his potential during the Canada Summer Games in Quebec last summer. There Williams had played on team BC and helped the team take home a gold medal.
"That was a pretty big deal for me," said Williams. "It almost felt like it was the Olympics for younger athletes."
After competing in the tournament, Williams says he felt he redeemed himself with a strong showing at Tournament 12.
When his mom got the call a week later that he'd been tapped for the junior national team, Williams says she leaned on the horn of her car, while his dad "went crazy" with joy.
Williams won't be the only VSB student heading south for baseball practice and a 10 week training camp. He'll be joined by Point Grey Secondary Grade 12 student Brad Smith who was also invited to join the team. It all worked out pretty perfectly, said Williams, because he and Smith have been playing together since they were youngsters in the pee-wee leagues in Vancouver. Now they're heading to the big leagues together.