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Manitoba baseball player worries COVID-19 might impact scholarship

Maddux Mateychuk, a baseball pitcher from Dominion City, Man., accepted a scholarship to Mineral Area College in Missouri. Submitted: Jason Mateychuk

A Manitoba baseball player who recently accepted a baseball scholarship in Missouri is hoping the Canada-U.S. border reopens in time for the school year as travel restriction remain in place to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

Maddux Mateychuk is finishing Grade 12 at Vauxhall High School in Alberta, virtually, from his home in Dominion City, Man.

The 17-year-old pitcher already missed four baseball tournaments as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, including one with Team Canada in Florida in April.

“It’s tough to get through, but you got to find a way,” Mateychuk said in a Skype interview with Global News on Tuesday.

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Mateychuk’s next big concern is the upcoming school year.

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After recently accepting a scholarship to Mineral Area College in Park Hills, MO., Mateychuck isn’t sure he’ll get there in time for the season if the Canada-U.S. border doesn’t open by then.

“I’m hoping it all resumes but I guess there’s a little bit in the back of my mind … it’s a scary time to think that we still might not be playing at that time,” he said.

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Mateyschuk said he’s doing his best to stay in shape while he’s at home, which is encouraged by Jordan Thompson, the assistant men’s baseball coach for Mineral Area College.

“One of the most important things is just to keep weight training,” Thompson said.

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The school is expecting 13 international players to join the baseball in the fall, which are all relying on travel restrictions to ease by August.

“It’s difficult to think that,” Thompson said.

“As of now we’re just hopeful and thinking that we’re going to be on track for all our guys coming in at the same time in August.”

The land border between Canada and the U.S. closed to all non-essential travel in March, however, the border remains open for essential travel, which includes the transportation of goods and travel for work.

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