For 17-year-old Brandon Hupe, UBC is just the first step towards what he hopes will be a professional baseball career.
Hupe, a Grade 12 student at Sands Secondary, signed with the University of British Columbia baseball team in July 2017. He was invited to visit the university’s facilities after a UBC coach saw him take the field with the North Shore Twins for a double-header against the Langley Blaze.
While he was on campus, Hupe signed on with the team.
“UBC is just everything I wanted in a school,” Hupe said. It has a forward-thinking baseball program that is “a lot newer and more progressive in the way they thought about training people,” in a school with a strong academic background.
Although Hupe eventually wants to study kinesiology, he’s planning on pursuing a general bachelor of arts degree for his first two years at the school.
“That’s going to give me the chance to focus on baseball,” he said. “I won’t have as heavy a course load so it will give me more time to really just focus on playing baseball, and that way I can meet the academic requirements so I’m eligible to play.”
“That’s really what I care about, is playing baseball and trying to get drafted and move on past university,” he continued.
Hupe’s baseball career first started when he was nine or 10 years old. He doesn’t remember exactly why he first picked up a bat and glove, but knows it was his decision.
“My parents never forced me to play it or anything, it’s just something that I wanted to do,” he said. “And as soon as I started, I just loved baseball.”
Playing as a catcher for most of his time in the sport, Hupe switched over to outfield last season and signed on with UBC to play that position.
“I like the outfield a lot more. I find that it suits me a lot more,” he said. “I find it easier because I get to focus a lot more on my hitting rather than on catching and pitching. I just find it easier to focus, and also that way I don’t have to ruin my knees trying to catch and squat all game.
“Just playing the outfield — it’s my favourite position. It’s something I love to do.”
Hupe will be heading to UBC with a baseball scholarship in addition to his position on the team. He said the scholarship will likely cover 30 per cent of his tuition, and he hopes to get other academic scholarships to help pay for the rest.
After university, Hupe isn’t sure where baseball will take him.
He said the Boston Red Sox are his favourite team, “so if I could get drafted to there, it would be amazing,” but he isn’t picky.
“I don’t want it to just stop after these four years.”