Eric Healey was sitting at his desk at Roncalli High School in Avondale when his cell phone rang at 11 a.m. Monday morning. It was long distance, so he asked the teacher if he could take it outside.
It was a call he’d been hoping to get.
On the other end was Canadian national junior softball coach Jim Jones who informed Healey he’d been named to the squad.
“I was really excited about it and I can’t wait to go,” Healey told The Telegram Monday evening.
The team will compete at the ISF Junior Men’s World Championship from July 11-20 in Whitehorse, YK.
Healey, who is from Chapel’s Cove, will spend some time in Vancouver in early July before flying north for the tournament.
The 18-year-old, who stands just over six-foot-three and weighs 215 pounds, attended a selection camp this past weekend in Brampton, Ont.
“I felt I did well, but the other eight pitchers at camp were really good,” he said. “I was hoping to be one of the four who made it, but I wasn’t 100 per cent sure.”
Healey was one of only two players from Atlantic Canada at the camp. Ontario dominated with 16 invitees in attendance.
Healey’s best pitch is the drop ball which he used effectively.
He feels his ability to get ground outs may have worked in his favour. Starting pitchers during the camp’s six exhibition games were given four innings to show their stuff and Healey started four of the six games.
Healey said his father, Glen, taught him to pitch when he started playing the game at the bantam level and he’s gone on to develop quickly.
He was midget-aged pitcher for C.B.C. Junior Canadians in St. John's intermediate league last summer. He was also picked up as a bench player for the Kelly’s Pub Molson Bulldogs’ run to the senior league championship last season.
Healey played for the Newfoundland midget team that competed at the national midget fastpitch championships in St-Leonard-d’Aston, Que. last summer.
Canada finished fourth at the previous ISF Junior Men’s World Championship held in Parana, Argentina in 2012, with Argentina winning gold, Japan taking silver and Australia with bronze. The event was held in Whitehorse in 2008, when Canada lost 2-1 in eight innings to Australia in the gold medal game to win the silver medal.
One day, Healey said, he’d like to pitch for Canada’s senior team, but first things first.
Right now, he’ll concentrate on doing the best he can for the national junior team.