Meet the Jackfish: Sam Cawker

By Bill Potrecz, BP Sports Niagara

Sam Cawker loves a good challenge.

The rookie catcher for the Welland Jackfish not only plays the most demanding position on the diamond, but he also has a unique hobby that requires dedication, smarts and strength.

The 24-year-old Courtice native loves to power lift in his spare time, something he started about four years ago while attending Durham College.

“It’s pretty tough on the body, just like catching,” Cawker said. “It kind of primes you to be less injury prone in season because your body is used to lifting those heavy loads.

“It’s fun. You do research about it and find out what’s the best way to train and how to get stronger.”

Cawker said he can deadlift 650 pounds, squat 515 and bench press 305.

“I love it,” he said. “It really interested me. After hours I would go home and read and make my own lifting programs and give advice to the younger guys on the team how to get stronger.”

Cawker tries to maintain a balance between rest and rust during the season.

“I do heavy single reps to maintain it, it keeps your nervous system primed so when the off-season comes you can keep progressing with it.”

Before joining the Jackfish, Cawker played two seasons with the Durham Lords where he was an Ontario Colleges Athletic Conference all-star and a member of the OCAA silver medalists and NCBC (National College Baseball Champion) champions.

Cawker played senior ball last summer in the Oshawa area but had the itch for something more challenging.

“I had to find somewhere where it was fulfilling baseball and something that will be competitive,” he said.

Cawker has loved his time with the Jackfish.

“I live in Welland and it reminds me of home,” he said. “I really like the environment. The fans are great and I’m not really used to that. I went to a NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) school in Michigan who had some fans but nothing like this. It’s sort of like a cult following in the community.”

Cawker, who credits his father and grandfather for fostering his love of baseball, enjoys donning the tools of ignorance.

“It’s probably the most stimulating other than being a pitcher. You’re always in the play, you always get the ball. It’s a fun position for me. If you’re in the outfield you may not get a ball until the seventh inning and that may be the only ball you get.”

Cawker, who has a business diploma, isn’t quite sure what the future will hold for him on the diamond.

“I’m not looking too far ahead at the moment. My biggest goal is just producing here and really make sure I take it to the next level for this team. I want to have a really productive season and maybe bring a ring to Welland.”

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