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

Tour de Victoria rolls through the region Saturday

Expect traffic delays across Greater Victoria on Aug. 18

Fire chief stops driving lesson to fight fire

Sooke fire concerned over second suspicious bin fire this year

Victoria police seize over one kilo of fentanyl, guns and cars

Andrew Ritch is facing charges of drug trafficking and firearm offences

UPDATE: Missing Langford teen found safe

The 13-year-old Langford boy reported missing Wednesday has been found

Six Victoria firefighters head to B.C. Interior to combat wildfires

The Victoria Fire Department sent a water tender and fire truck to Fort St. James

B.C. wildfires 2018: Hazy skies impacting crews in spotting new fires

18,000 people are on an evacuation alert, with 3,000 homes under an evacuation order

Minister optimistic after 2 days of Columbia River Treaty negotiations

Canadian and U.S. officials met in Nelson Wednesday and Thursday to discuss future of the treaty

Man dies in B.C. police cell while awaiting court hearing

An independent investigation is underway after a man died while in Penticton police custody Aug. 16

RCMP appeal for tips, dashcam footage in German tourist shooting west of Calgary

The Durango crashed into the ditch after the shooting near the Goodstoney Rodeo Centre

2 nurses attacked at B.C. psych hospital, union calls for in-unit security

PHSA says that in-unit guards would do more harm than good

Former B.C. optician won’t be jailed for sexually assaulting minor

Kenneth Pilkington sentenced to 24 months’ probation for offence three decades ago

Red Cross now accepting donations for those impacted by B.C. wildfires

The Canadian Red Cross is asking for help now and in the weeks and months ahead.

B.C. program to educate parents reduces ‘shaken baby syndrome’ by 35%

Period of PURPLE Crying was launched nearly a decade ago

Most Read