B.C. coaches say they knew James Paxton’s work ethic would be rewarded

Welcome to Ladner sign was decorated with homemade notices reading ‘Congrats James’

It took just a few hours for the British Columbia hometown of James Paxton to honour his no-hitter against the Toronto Blue Jays.

By Wednesday morning, the Welcome to Ladner sign was decorated with homemade notices reading “Congrats James” and ”Big Maple with a no-hitter.” The heron on the same sign had a Canadian flag taped to its beak and was wearing a cutout of Paxton’s Seattle Mariners jersey.

The left-hander pitched a no-hitter against the Toronto Blue Jays Tuesday night, becoming only the second ever Canadian to reach the achievement.

The feat is no surprise for coaches in Delta, where he played baseball growing up. They say even when he 15, Paxton was throwing “ridiculous” curveballs at 90 miles an hour and had a work ethic to take him to the top.

Ari Mellios coached Paxton from 2004 to 2006 with the North Delta Blue Jays.

He said Paxton hasn’t changed since he was 17.

VIDEO: Bald eagle lands on B.C.-born player at Seattle Mariners game

“Even back then he was always one of the big leaders on our team, he wanted the other players to do just as well as he did and his work ethic rubbed off on all the other kids,” Mellios added.

Paxton was always upbeat and a consummate teammate, he said.

“He was one of the best pitchers I’ve ever coached and I’ve been very fortunate to coach Jeff Francis as well, who played 10 years in the big leagues,” he said. “But James just had tremendous talent and was a treat to watch pitch for those three years.”

Bob Burkmar was an assistant coach on the same team and he had to prepare the catchers to receive a pitch from the teen, who was already six-foot-four-inches tall.

“James overpowered you and all of the sudden he would throw a ridiculous curve, which at the time was in the low 90s and high 80s, and as a 15-, 16-year-old, was really overpowering.”

Even then, Paxton was nonchalant and had excellent concentration, Burkmar said.

“The things that he did back then, you just couldn’t believe. … Other teams would razz him and batters would get out of the box when he was getting ready to make his move.”

Burkmar recalls sending him to a physiotherapist for an assessment when he had a few things that might bother him down the road.

“James jumped on it and came back to (the physiotherapist) on his own to make sure that the rehab was working properly for him, which you don’t hear.”

Mellios agreed that Paxton’s work ethic enabled him to get where he is today.

“He always seemed to be a step ahead of most other people, I got the sense from being around him all those years.”

Spencer Harwood, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Graveside view of Salmon Arm history

Deborah Chapman leads annual tour at Mount Ida Cemetery

In Photos: Pumpkin cannons fired in food bank fundraiser

Salmon Arm’s DeMille’s Farm Market helps raise food and funds for Salvation Army

‘Police are ready’ for legal pot, say Canadian chiefs

But Canadians won’t see major policing changes as pot becomes legal

Early morning fire destroys Tappen home

Firefighters from Tappen-Sunnybrae and Shuswap fire departments respond

Shuswap Connextions seeks inclusion

Group stresses importance of a community that values diverse abilities

Graveside view of Salmon Arm history

Deborah Chapman leads annual tour at Mount Ida Cemetery

Trump: Saudi king ‘firmly denies’ any role in Khashoggi mystery

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is travelling to the Middle East to learn more about the fate of the Saudi national

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen dies at 65

Allen died in Seattle from complications of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma

South Okanagan man alleged to have exposed genitals to children

Penticton RCMP said incident occurred at the Kiwanis Park

Transport Canada to take new look at rules, research on school bus seatbelts

Canada doesn’t currently require seatbelts on school buses

Michelle Mungall’s baby first in B.C. legislature chamber

B.C. energy minister praises support of staff, fellow MLAs

Canucks: Pettersson in concussion protocol, Beagle out with broken forearm

Head coach Travis Green called the hit ‘a dirty play’

5 tips for talking to your kids about cannabis

Health officials recommend sharing a harm reduction-related message.

Resolution found in Vernon car-surfing death case: defence

Byron James Walterhouse will appear to fix a date for disposition Oct. 18

Most Read