Jackfish infielder the real McCoy
McCoy Pearce has led a nomadic baseball life.
The 25-year-old native of Kamloops, B.C., joined the Welland Jackfish this season after spending the 2022 campaign with the Okotoks Dawgs of the Western Canadian Baseball League. Before that, the mobile first baseman played for five college teams.
“I’ve moved all over the place,” Pearce said. “I went to five colleges, four in the States and one in Canada in my last year.”
Pearce’s adventure began at the New Mexico Military Institute before he transferred to another junior college. He has also played in the NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) in Kansas and at a D2 college in Missouri before finishing up at Okanagan College in Kelowna where he hit .366 with five doubles, four triples, and 36 RBI in 2022 for the Coyotes.
All that moving around could be disorienting, but Pearce said it was quite the opposite.
“I kind of liked it. I got to meet so many different people and coaches and got to see so many different things about baseball, different aspects,” he said. “It was pretty nice that way.”
He took last year off despite fielding offers from teams in Australia and Europe before settling in with the Jackfish this season on the recommendation of former Welland outfield Eric Marriott, now a coach in the WCBL.
“I thought I would try my luck with Welland because they were the first people to offer to me and talk to me and they seemed like the best option to get me somewhere to continue my career,” Pearce said.
Pearce came to the Jackfish with a reputation as a strong hitter who could slot into the middle of the order and so far hasn’t disappointed following a tough start that saw him collect just one hit in his first five games.
“He’s starting to come on a little bit,” Jackfish manager Brian Essery said. “A little bit of a slow start but it’s an adjustment to get used to this league.”
Pearce said he could always hit.
“I’ve always been a pretty good hitter since I was younger but it’s just being consistent and being on point,” he said. “I’ve done a lot of training in Arizona and Vancouver. That helped too.
“What’s best for me is when I can hit the ball anywhere. Gap to gap with power and capitalize on pitcher’s mistakes when they leave it up.”
Essery prefers to play small ball and run at every opportunity, but is well aware a couple of big bats in the middle of the lineup are essential.
“You gotta have that balance but if you watch him, surprisingly, he can run,” Essery said. “For a big man he can run. He’s a quick dude. Very well put together. A big and strong guy who is also athletic.”
Pearce, who played all sports growing up before concentrating solely on baseball in Grade 10, loves being a Jackfish.
“It’s been a lot of fun so far,” he said. “We’ve been really hot. We lost that one game but I think we’re going to come back again and continue to win out.”
Pearce has a degree in psychology but isn’t planning on using it anytime soon.
“It was always a dream to continue to play as long. Everyone always tells me to because you’re going to regret the day you hang them up,” he said. “We’ll see where that (degree in psychology) takes me but I want to stay with baseball when I stop playing. I’d like to coach.”
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