Nanaimo prospect fundraising for baseball dream

Like many teenagers, Mackinnon Homeniuk dreams of playing for a Major League Baseball team.

His love of baseball started young, when his grandfather took him out into the backyard.

"He gave me a bucket of rocks and a broomstick and told me to go out in the backyard and try to hit 'em," Homeniuk said.

Since then, his passion for the sport has only grown, and his coaches have taken notice.

"You look at everything the program embodies and Mack is the kid you put on the poster," said Larson Bauck, Homeniuck's coach with the Mid-Island Pirates of the British Columbia Premier Baseball League.

The 19-year-old Nanaimo pitcher might just have the skills and determination needed to make his dream come true, but first, he needs money to keep it alive.

Homeniuk has been drawing the interest of U.S. college scouts since he was in Grade 10. Some have even invited him to visit their campuses for tours.

That's never been possible for Homeniuk, however, because of the cost of travel.

"High-performance sports are very expensive," explained Mackinnon's mother Carla Homeniuk.

"Being a single mom, and whatnot, I've done whatever I can," she said. "I collect bottles … We've had help."

Now, they need even more help. At age 19, it's now or never for Mackinnon to commit to playing college ball.

So, he and his mom are taking a chance. He committed to Lassen College in California, where the tuition will cost him C$18,000.

A GoFundMe page set up to raise the money has raised more than $10,000 of that total so far, and Mackinnon and his mom have about a month left to raise the rest. 

Whether he ultimately achieves his dream or not, Mackinnon is happy to keep dreaming.

"The whole experience sounds amazing," he said.

With files from CTV News Vancouver Island's Jordan Cunningham