The first pitch of the Victoria HarbourCats baseball season is seven weeks away but the new West Coast League team is still in need of a home for some of its players.
The team is looking to billet 27 players, give or take one or two, but only 12 are billeted so far.
“We’re looking for some welcoming homes,” said Karen Russell, who is handling the billeting for the HarbourCats.
“It’s a great experience for young families especially, a chance to meet a driven young man from the U.S., and help him out,” Russell said.
As the mom of two baseball players currently away at U.S. colleges, 21-year-old Austin at Southern Georgia Polytech and 19-year-old Ty at Marshall Town CC (Iowa), Russell has seen the great relationships that can be formed having a role model around for young kids.
All of the HarbourCats coming into town are from U.S. NCAA and collegiate teams.
“For one, they’re away on the road a lot more than they’re here,” she said. “We’re really impressed with their eagerness, and we’re really exited to have them come out and help them take the next step in their baseball careers.”
Russell’s son Austin still talks to the five-year-old boy of the family he billeted with in Moose Jaw when he played for the Western Baseball League summer collegiate league.
“The boy really looked up to him and Austin’s still in touch with him through email and phone.”
Players are 19 to 22 years old, are here for 10 weeks from May through July and are on the road for 55 per cent of the season. While in Victoria, they leave for Royal Athletic Park by 3:30 p.m. every day, so free time is limited.
“For those who want to do it, it’s really, really, really exciting, I can’t say enough about the experience,” Russell said.
Contact Russell through email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 250-704-6718.