Cariboo-Northeast wide receiver Gunner Beetlestone predicts he and his teammates will have the time of their lives as the host team this weekend

Gunner Beetlestone has heard it enough times in his 15 years from people who seem to like to criticize his hometown of Prince George.

It is too cold. It is too far. It has an ugly downtown. Why would you want to live there?

Often, when he hears these comments, it is from the mouths of people who have never visited the city.

Beetlestone was born and raised in the city and he certainly has no inferiority complex.

As a catcher for the Zone 8 Cariboo Northeast baseball team, Beetlestone is proud of the city he’s lived in all his life and is excited that the city is hosting the 2022 Summer Games in British Columbia this weekend.

With nearly 3,000 participating athletes, coaches and officials and thousands more parents and family members making the trip to PG, Beetlestone says they will be able to see for themselves as they visit sports facilities, walk our nature trails, will discover the beauty of our environment. lakes and rivers, and meet local residents that this is a great place to live.

“I think it’s great because it brings everyone here, and they can see what we have here,” Beetlestone said. “We cleared our fields just for this and we want them to have a good opinion of the city. Everyone is giving it a bad rap and we want them to see what PG loves and the great people it has.

He also enjoys playing baseball with his buddies at the city baseball field at City Field, formerly known as Citizen Field. The larger and wider field dimensions for BC Games require two full-size diamonds, which means 90-foot base paths, 10 feet longer than specified provincially for 15U teams.

“I played a week with the midget team on the same size courts, but I’ve never played here,” he said.

Although it is the home team representing Zone 8, Cariboo-Northeast will sleep together overnight, sleeping in a classroom, just like the other seven teams in the BC Games tournament. That way no one has the benefit of stocking up on mom’s home cooking.

“It’s a great group of guys – we have a lot of fun together and it’s been a good experience for everyone,” said Cariboo-Northeast receiver Beetlestone. “We have the opportunity to live the full experience, staying in a school with everyone from all the other cities. Everyone is competitive, but it’s going to be a lot of fun.

“We’ve been playing together since we were six or seven, most of us. We’ve been playing for a long time and we’ve never really experienced anything like this, apart from the provincials. We are up against much higher levels than us, so it will be good for us as a team.

Beetlestone knows his team will struggle to win the Games tournament against the best players in the province, some of whom have already played 40 games this year. With no other rep team within a six-hour drive, he and his teammates have been limited to 10 games so far.

As the Prince George Knights, the team competed in 15U triple-A tournaments this summer in Kamloops (twice) and Kelowna to give players a taste of Greater Vancouver’s Premier Baseball League talent, from Vancouver Island and the Thompson-Okanagan that they will face. in the field this weekend. It also gave them the chance to use wooden bats, the standard used in BC games.

The timing of the Games tournament is ideal for the Knights, who will head south to contest the provincial double A championship next weekend in Richmond.

“We have a great group and for the number of weeks we get in a season compared to what some teams get, we’re just starting to come together and we’re really looking forward to the weekend,” said the chief of Cariboo-Northeast. coach Derek Wood.

“One thing we try to emphasize is to have fun and enjoy the experience. Meet new people, meet new players, see new coaches and get the most out of it. »

The 16-man Cariboo-Northeast squad also includes Mitchal Heggelund, Hunter Henry, Ethan Hoff, Peyton Mackay, Linden Matovina, Kaleb Miller, Lyle Morgan, Lucas Peacock, Ezra Peters, Andrew Riddle, Joshua Stachoski, Brody Wood, all of Prince George, as well as two players from Quesnel – Gavin Patterson and Dawson Ernst – and one from Fort St. John – Easton Goulet. Mike Mackay is the assistant coach.

They will rely on the throwing arms of Mackay, Patterson and Wood, but they have five more capable of firing solid shots. Mackay, Miller, Patterson and Beetlestone will be listed near the top of the batting order.

Cariboo Northeast opens its schedule Friday at 11:15 a.m. at City Field against Kootenays. They will also play in Fraser River at 4:45 p.m. at City Field and finish the pool game on the same field Saturday at 8 a.m. against Vancouver-Coastal.

The top two teams from each group advance to the championship playoff round. The semi-finals will be played on Saturday at 2 p.m. and 4:45 p.m. at City Field. The third- and fourth-place finishers will advance to the consolation round for games Saturday at 2 p.m. and 4:45 p.m. at Rotary Field.

The bronze medal game is Sunday at 8 a.m. at Rotary Field. City Field will host the gold medal game on Sunday from 8:30 a.m.