Anthony loved the thrill of playing for his country in Argentina

November 21, 2012




-by Patrick Healey


SHUBENACADIE: As Cody Anthony spoke about his experience of playing with Team Canada at the World Junior Men’s Fast Pitch championship in Argentina, the pride he had for the opportunity to pull on the Maple Leaf jersey oozed from him.
The Shubenacadie native-who played first base for the Canucks at the tournament, won by the host Argentine-lit up like as he talked about playing for his country and the experience of playing in Parana, Argentina.
“It’s every kid’s dream (to put on the Maple Leaf jersey),” Anthony told The Weekly Press 24 hours after getting home. “Whether you’re a ball player or hockey player, it’s the goal to wear the Canada jersey, to represent your country. It’s just like everything I’ve worked for in these 18 years in sports paid off.”
Anthony-who hit 2-for-9 with three runs scored in four games-said playing in Parana, Argentina, gave him a different perspective on things.
“It was different,” he said. “It’s a different world down there for sure. Where we were at, the ball field was amazing, it was beautiful. Our hotel was great, but there were parts we saw that was so much less developed than in Canada. There were stray dogs everywhere and garbage on the ground, but then there were parts where we went that the houses were beautiful. It seemed to me there was a lot of money in a place or not very much. It was definitely two sides.
“It was a great time; everyone was really nice and friendly.”
He said he’s made friendships with other players he wouldn’t have had the chance to if he hadn’t been selected to the squad by the team’s coaching staff, led by head coach Tom Doucette of Middle Musquodoboit.
“I made 16 friends on that team that I will consider best friends for the rest of my life just because we were with them for 18 days straight,” he said. “The experience was an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Going to Argentina in front of thousands of fans; when we played Argentina in our first game there were 4-5,000 fans there all chanting for Argentina.
“When I was at the plate, I couldn’t even hear myself think because the fans were just insane. That was one of the neatest experiences.”
Anthony said all the fans were polite, asking for autographs and showing their love of Canadians.
“They love Canada, so we were treated really well down there, which was nice,” he said. ‘All in all, it was the best experience I’ve had in my life.”
The tournament got off to a rough start for the Canadian team, as they suffered some food poisoning which affected about 10 to 12 members of the team. Some had symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea. This occurred as the Canadian team, which arrived five days before the tournament-won by Argentina-looked after their own food. The host committee took control of that a couple days before the tournament began. There were four or five other teams who also suffered the same, Anthony said.
“We ended up just eating at our hotel and not going back to that food tent,” he said. “It was food poisoning. It didn’t last too long; we overcame it.”
While it was nice, sunny weather for the majority of the tournament, Mother Nature brought rain at a worse possible time-in the playoffs. The rain delayed action, forcing teams to be ready to play as much as four games straight in the playoffs. Anthony believes the delay impacted the Canadian team’s final outcome, which saw them beat the North American rival the U.S. 4-2, then lose to four-time defending champion Australia 3-2, relegating them to a fourth place finish.
“It can benefit you or it can hurt you because if our bats had been going a lot better than they were, we might have won, who knows,” he said. “If the bats get hot, they’re going to stay hot. It affected us because our pitcher, Mike Lagace-Roote, he had to throw back-to-back games, two tough games. If the rain had not happened, and he would have had that three or four hour break, when we played Australia it might have been a different outcome. Its weather, you can’t control it.
“We did our best. He (Mike) was our biggest chance at winning. He was the best pitcher in the tournament. It was a tough break.”
Anytime the Maple Leafs and the Americans face off against one another, it’s never hard to see the animosity and intensity level go up a notch. That was the case when the two met in Parana as well, said Anthony.
“It was intense, it was a great atmosphere because they were one of the only teams you could associate with because of the different languages,” he said, adding they played the U.S. in a pre-tournament game. “They’re a pretty good team; they’re a scrappy team. We got off to a great start. Once we did that, we knew we were in good hands because Mike didn’t give up more than two or three runs in any game he pitched.
“It was impossible not to be fired up for a game against the U.S. in any sport they’re our biggest rival. It was a pretty easy game to get pumped up for.”
Now looking at the loss against Australia that eliminated them from further play, a game in which the Canadians led 2-1 at one point, Anthony said the mood was very subdued for the first 15-20 minutes after the final out before him and his teammates came around.
“It was tough because we had every chance to win that game,” he said. “We made a few crucial errors. We were up 2-1 in the sixth with runners on first and second with no outs, a ground ball comes to our shortstop and he misses the tag or he might have tagged him, they called the guy safe, and then he got the out at second and our second basemen tried to throw the ball to me at first when we had no chance at a double play, and it went high, and the runner scored to tie the game.
He said nerves in such a big game may have been why the miscues happened.
“We had our chances, but it just came down to mental and physical errors that cost us that game,” he said. “We were right there.
“Just like any tournament, when you lose you get down one yourself, but after a bit you start to reflect and realize what a great trip and experience it was. It’s hard to be down because it was so much fun. I hate losing; it’s just my nature, so it was really tough for the first bit.”
Anthony is now shifting his focus to skating off the hockey rust as he laces up on the blue-line with the East Hants Junior Penguins. He admitted it may take two or three games for him to get his mojo that helped the Pens win the league title in 2011-2012 back.
“I expect to be a little rusty, but hoping the practices before I went and tomorrow plus two games on the weekend will help get me back in form,” he said.