Max Hewitt has been living his baseball dream since arriving in the U.S. a couple years ago, but the ultimate dream for the Barrie native - playing in the big leagues - could be realized in July's Major League Baseball (MLB) draft.
Hewitt, who is a catcher and plays any infield position he's asked, just wrapped up his final year of college with Oklahoma State University and will now rest his body for a couple weeks before getting back into some training.
The Cowboys (OSU nickname) lost an NCAA Tournament regional game 13-3 to UC Santa Barbara this past Sunday, eliminating them from competition.
Despite the team’s final record of 36-19-1, Hewitt was hoping for a better ending.
“I really wanted to win some more games; we all did,” said Hewitt. “But it is what it is. I just got back from an LA Dodgers camp and will be looking forward to the draft.”
The MLB draft takes place from July 11 to July 13 and Hewitt doesn’t expect to go in the first round. But he says “there are some talks with several teams and we’ll see where they go.”
Hewitt was born in Barrie and moved to Midhurst at a young age with his parents.
An only child with no cousins, Hewitt eventually fell in love with the team element of baseball and played for several years in the Barrie Minor Baseball Association (BMBA).
“I started playing when I was five years old, with Barrie Minor and played some tee ball out at the Midhurst complex,” said Hewitt. “I really enjoyed my time there and learned a lot. There are coaches I’ve played under as I grew up in the game that I have continued to keep in touch with.”
Hewitt graduated from Eastview Secondary School in 2015 and, at the time, didn’t have any offers for baseball so he took a year off to train.
“I was still eligible to play travel ball, because of my age, so I had an extra year to put me on par with everyone else down here (the U.S.),” said Hewitt. “During that gap year, I was training in Toronto and also in New Lowell at Smith Brothers Baseball Central, which is just a phenomenal facility.”
In November of 2015, Hewitt got a call from Connors State College in Warner, Oklahoma, inviting him for a visit.
“It's a no-stoplight town, I’d not seen anything like it and it was quite the culture shock,” said Hewitt. “But I got some experience down there and basically got to pick where I got to go the next summer.”
It was then off to OSU in the fall of 2017; Hewitt began playing the following spring.
Hewitt fell in love with his new surroundings and made many new friends during his time with the Cowboys.
“I loved it for so many reasons, one of which was that all the team was in the same hall at the dorm,” said Hewitt. “It was so much fun and I got to do my favourite thing everyday. That fall we were playing scrimmages and inter-squad games that lasted 14, 16 sometimes 18 innings. It's been awesome, it feels like home now.”
The 23-year-old Hewitt recently received his Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from OSU.
Hewitt hasn't been home since Christmas of 2019 as the pandemic shut things down for everyone.
“I stayed down here with everything going on, but also it was a bit of a good thing because I was able to utilize all the facility has to offer and keep training and getting better,” said Hewitt.
For now, Hewitt will await the MLB draft and see if and where his name is called.
“As in life, nothing in baseball is ever promised,” said Hewitt. “I know I won’t get drafted high, if I get picked at all in the 20 rounds, because I’m a senior. But it sounds like things are picking up and that there is a bit of interest from some teams.”
While he just wants to make it to the big leagues, Hewitt admits his favourites didn’t play in MLB while he was growing up and there are times he reminisces about his hometown.
“I was a big Baycats fan, huge. When my friends were cheering the Jays and Vernon Wells or Carlos Delgado, my favourite players were Jordan Lundberg, Jonathan Baksh, Ryan Davis, Jeff Cowan and guys from the Barrie Baycats,” said Hewitt. “That was my family’s ritual. We’d go for food down by Centennial Beach on a Friday and on Saturday we’d go to the Baycats game.”
If he doesn’t get drafted in July, Hewitt plans on hitting some tryouts and continuing to work hard to realize his dream of playing the game he loves professionally.
“My parents are fully supportive of this dream and are behind me. I’ll keep at it and work hard like I have,” said Hewitt. “Hopefully in a month I’m able to provide an update with some great news.”