The Barrie Baycats are back on the field, practicing ahead of next week’s home opener.

On Thursday, the team introduced itself to the community as players prepare to host the Toronto Maple Leafs at next week’s home opener.

“So we have some new players, and we have a good core since last year that came back,” says Josh Matlow, the club president. “We lost in the semi-finals, but we anticipate to hopefully be a contender this year. We think we’re going to be there!”

Jake Wilson plays centerfield. As a lifelong fan, he’s thrilled to be representing the team this year.

“I grew up watching them as a young guy, so it’s kind of cool to see myself on the field as a Baycat and no longer just watching them, being part of the team,” says Wilson. “It’s just so much excitement. I’m just waiting to play in the summer.”

This year’s season is longer than usual, with 42 games scheduled compared to the typical 36 games. Last year’s season was even shorter due to COVID-19, with only 30 games scheduled.

Matlow says as a small-town team, they are excited to engage the community as often as possible.

“I think we’re going to be focussing a lot on getting to know some of our local guys specifically so that the fans know who’s from the area and who is part of the community, and a lot of these guys are coming out to a lot of the community initiatives as well which I’m very lucky for,” says Matlow.

The team’s first regular-season game is next Thursday at home against the Toronto Maple Leaf. The game starts at 7:30 pm

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