Saturday, February 22, 2014

Albertans playing ball in College

 (AP Photo/Eric Francis)
With everyone having the Olympics on their mind, once again it's time to remind everyone that there are still a lot more Canadians playing college ball than there are playing hockey.  Of the almost 700 Canucks playing baseball in the NCAA and NAIA, more than 60 are from right here in Alberta.

Included in this are several players who are on the 2014 draft list:
   Chayse Marion, Red Deer, McNeese State University
   Jake Hansen, Fort MacLeod at LSU-Shreveport
   Brendan Hendricks, Cochrane at USF
   Chad Hodges, Med Hat, South Dakota State
   Jordan Procyshen, Calgary, Northern Kentucky University
   Jeremie Fagnan, Calgary at TCU

Below is the full list:
NCAA - Div 1
RHP-OF Russell Rockwell, Fort Saskatchewan, Northern Kentucky University (KY)
OF Dawson Ruschkowski, Oyen, North Dakota State University (ND)
RHP Chad Hodges, Medicine Hat, South Dakota State University (SD)
INF Mitch McGeein, Calgary, Eastern Michigan University (MI)
OF Jeremie Fagnan, Calgary, TCU (TX)
INF Brendan Hendriks, Cochrane, University of San Francisco (CA)
C Jordan Procyshen, Calgary, Northern Kentucky University (KY)
INF Eric Ranson, Calgary, University of Buffalo (NY)
RHP Cashtyn DeLeeuw, Grimshaw, Murray State University (KY)
LHP Keegan Hucul, St. Albert, University of Texas-Arlington (TX)
INF Chayse Marion, Red Deer, McNeese State University (LA)
OF Shane Zimmer, St. Albert, Canisius College (NY)

C-3B Mike Belliveau, Calgary, Bellarmine University (KY)
2B Braden Goldade, Medicine Hat, Northern State University (SD)
RHP Aaron McCarty, Calgary, Salem International University (WV)
2B Nick Granton, Calgary, Truman State University (MO)
OF-RHP Tyson Hudson, Magrath, Dixie State College (UT)
2B Corbyn Shields, Innisfail, Minot State University (ND)
C Travis Steinke, Red Deer, University of Arkansas at Monticello (AK)
C Ramon Valdez, Chestermere, Barry University (FL)
INF Kevin Czarnecki, Edmonton, Fort Hays State University (KS)
LHP Matthew Davis, Red Deer, Minot State University (ND)
OF Bretton Gouthro, Calgary, Mount Olive College (NC)
LHP Jake Hansen, Fort Macleod, LSU-Shreveport (LA)
INF Cooper Langley, Edmonton, Fort Hays State University (KS)
LHP Andrew Malone, Calgary, Colorado Mesa University (CO)
LHP Alex Regan, Calgary, Mount Olive College (NC)
OF Travis Sormaz, Calgary, Northern State College (SD)
RHP Levi Westerlund, Oyen, Lubbock Christian University (TX)
INF Tyler Hayes, Calgary, New Mexico Highlands University (NM)
RHP Jamin Heller, Lethbridge, Minot State University (ND)
INF Justin Lee, Strathmore, Texas A&M University-Kingsville (TX)
INF Joel Lutz, Medicine Hat, Lubbock Christian University (TX)
LHP Taylor Simmonds, Saint Albert, Wayne State College (NE)

INF Blake Patterson, Calgary, Spalding University (KY)
RHP Cole Slamko, Okotoks, Spalding University (KY)

LHP Dave Erickson, Sherwood Park, Waldorf College (IA)
OF Brendan Rose, Calgary, University of British Columbia (BC)
NAIA - Sophomores
RHP Colin Feenstra, Calgary, University of Cumberlands (KY)
RHP Ryley Ross, Edmonton, Bethany College (KS)
INF Kym Barthel, Lethbridge, LSU-Shreveport University (LA)
RHP Brendan Ethier, Calgary, Jamestown College (ND)
LHP Jake Hansen, Fort Macleod, LSU-Shreveport University (LA)
LHP Jeremy McPhee, Calgary, Jamestown College (ND)
1B Bryn Redhead, Leduc, Graceland University (IA)
INF Brenden Watamaniuk, Westlock, Benedictine College (KS)
RHP Donovan Feenstra, Calgary, University of Cumberlands (KY)
OF Tom Muhlethaler, Edmonton, Jarvis Christian College (TX)

Junior Colleges and Community Colleges
INF Tyler Czech, Raymond, Porterville College (CA)
RHP Noah Gapp, St. Albert, Merced College (CA)
RHP Tyler Grayston, Edmonton, Hill College (TX)
INF Michael Heaton, Calgary, Spokane Community College (WA)
RHP Bo Lewington, Calgary, Southeastern Illinois College (IL)
RHP CJ Lewington, Calgary, Southeastern Illinois College (IL)
RHP/IF Reign Letkeman, Red Deer, Big Bend Community College (WA)
RHP Owen Renwick, Edmonton, Hutchinson Community College (KS)
OF Triffon Tatarin, Vegreville, Garden City Community College (KS)
C Ryan Thrasher, Sherwood Park, Marshalltown Community College (IA)
OF Doug Clapperton, Calgary, Chandler-Gilbert Community College (AZ)
RHP Brad Paradis, Medicine Hat, Miles City Community College (MT)
LHP Wyle Cunningham, Red Deer, Salt Lake Community College (UT)
RHP Connor Girard, Morinville, Allan Hancock College (CA)
LHP Tyrell King, Calgary, Paradise Valley College (AZ)
C Konner Lutz, Medicine Hat, John A. Logan College (IL)
LHP Kurtis Taylor, Calgary, Skagit Valley Community College (WA)
INF Andy Scott, Medicine Hat, Miles City Community College (MT)

If you are aware of any other Albertans playing US College ball, please drop me a line and I'll update this list.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Blue Jays highlight upcoming banquets and fundraisers

It's the time of year for fundraisers for baseball clubs, and there are a handful coming up in Alberta. Several of these have a Blue Jays related theme.

First of all, there is the University of Calgary Dino's baseball and fastball annual fundraiser dinner.  Last year, they had Hall of Famer Goose Gossage,  and in previous year's they've had such great as Tim Raines, Fergie Jenkins, Bill Buckner and more.  This year's guest is Gregg Zaun, who might be better known to Canadians as an analyst on Sportsnet than he was when he was a catcher in Toronto. He has some unpopular opinions, is sometimes controversial, but never dull!  Listening to him will certainly make for an entertaining evening. The dinner is on Thursday Feb 6th, tickets are $200 and can be purchased by calling (403) 220-7749.

The Lethbridge Bulls also have a former Blue Jay as their Legends of Sports Gala will feature Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar. This event is being held on February 22nd and includes dinner, dance and silent auction.Tickets range from $100 to $200. To get your tickets or for more information, please contact or call (403)320-2025 .

The Okotoks Dawgs annual awards banquet will feature another Blue Jay second baseman, Homer Bush. This event is on Saturday February 1st, tickets are $100 and can be purchased by calling (403) 262-3294.

Another fundraiser is an online silent auction by the Vauxhall Academy, where you can get to watch the Jays home opener, a hockey game, and another Jays/Yankees game during a 4 night stay in Toronto which includes airfare. You need to submit your bid by noon on January 30th, details are here.

The Badlands Baseball Academy will be holding their annual Gala Evening & Fundraiser on Thursday January 30th. This reception will include dinner, a silent and a live acution. Tickets are $75 and can be purchased by calling (403) 664-2200

As well, the Prairie Baseball Academy will be hosting their annual awards banquet on January 25th. Aaron Lavorato will be the guest speaker, and he will not only talk baseball but also share his experience with the Rickshaw run he was involved in to raise money for cancer. There will be a live and silent auction with items including jerseys of Mariano Rivera, Bo Jackson and Roberto Alomar as well as a fly fishing trip down the Missouri and lots more.  Tickets are $50 a plate or a table of 8 for $350.  Contact for tickets or more information.

If you're a baseball fan all these events all promise to be a lot of fun, and are a great way to support local baseball.

If you have a baseball team, league or organization in Alberta that is holding a fundraising event, send me the details (to I'll add it to here, and promote it on twitter @baseball_in_ab

Thursday, June 6, 2013

2013 MLB Draft: Alberta Preview

The MLB draft is coming up the next three days. Here's a preview on some Albertans to keep an eye on.  Last year four players from our province were drafted and all of them signed and are now playing professional ball.  This year once again there are several local players on the Canadian Baseball Network's draft list including the top Canadian who was born in Edmonton.

Here is a rundown on some of the players expected to be drafted:

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Calgary teams have great experience in Florida

Redbirds playing at Al Lang Field in St. Petersburg
 (Photo courtesy of Bev Paulhus)
From March 8th to 12th, the Calgary PBF Redbirds Varsity(18U) and Junior Varsity (15U) teams had the opportunity to go to St. Petersburg. Not only did they get to play some good ball in the type of beautiful weather that is rarely never seen in Alberta winters, but there were several other activities that made this a memorable trip to Florida.  Each team had eight games scheduled into this extended long weekend, as well as the opportunity to meet with some former MLB players, and watch some Spring Training games.

On the first day, both teams played games at the Walter Fuller baseball complex, which is an excellent facility which has been used by the Tampa Bay Rays as their minor league spring training facility as well as Team Canada and has 5 MLB sized fields.

Post-game celebration
The day started with the Varsity team playing a morning game against the Ontario Terriers Gold team.. Behind the strong pitching of Nelson Lipszyc who threw a complete game against this potent lineup, Jake Derwent who scored twice, and a clutch 2 run pinch hit double in the 7th inning by Joel Campbell, the Redbirds were victorious in their first game, 4-2.
At the same time, the JV team was taking on the 16U Terriers Blue team.  The Calgary bats were  quiet, with Blake Enders driving in the only 2 runs in a 9-2 defeat.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

World Baseball Classic Alberta Connections

The World Baseball Classic is starting soon, and Team Canada is hoping to add to its accomplishments in the International stage.  In the inaugural WBC in 2006, they shocked the world by upsetting Team USA.  More recently they won bronze at the World Cup in 2009 and again in 2011 and beat the US to take Gold at the Pan-Am Games in 2011.  Last fall Canada's Junior Team won Silver at the IBAF 18U World Championships.

Now they are ready to compete in arguably the world's biggest international baseball stage in the 2013 World Baseball Classic.

First of all, Canada made the 2013 WBC thanks to the its efforts in the Qualifier Tournament last fall. Twelve nations had spots guaranteed in the WBC and Canada was one of 16 teams that had to battle in the Qualifier Tournament to get one of the final four spots. Because it was held in September, Joey Votto, Russell Martin, Brett Lawrie, Justin Morneau and the other Canadian MLB stars were unavailable. But Team Canada persevered and won the right to play in this year's World Baseball Classic.  That team had several Albertans including: Edmonton's Mike Johnson, current technical director of Baseball Alberta and a Blue Jays draftee who played for the Expos; Sheldon McDonald of Spruce Grove who is currently in the Chicago Cubs organization; and Bow Island's Skyler Stromsmoe who is knocking on the door of the World Series champions, having played for the Giants' AAA affiliate last season.

The full roster for the current team can be seen at  the Canadian Baseball Network.  But once again, there are several Alberta connections.  Milwaukee Brewer reliever Jim Henderson from Calgary is the only Alberta native on the team, but joining him are Jay Johnson who is a lefthanded pitcher in the Phillies organization and who played high school and college ball in the southern end of our province, with the Vauxhall Jets, Prairie Baseball Academy Dawgs and Lethbridge Bulls. As well, Dustin Molleken who is also a pitcher who played with the Prairie Baseball Academy will be on the team.

Canada is in Pool D which is playing its games in the Phoenix area starting on Thursday March 7th. They are starting with a couple of exhibition games on Tuesday and Wednesday against the Brewers and Reds.  The first Pool game for Canada is on Friday March 8th against Italy, and then they take on Mexico and the US on Saturday and Sunday.  If they advance they will then play in the 2nd round which will include the top two teams from Pool C (out of Venezuela, Spain, Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic) in Miami starting on March 12th.  And if they're one of the two top teams, they will advance to the medal round in San Francisco where the semi-finals will be held on Mardch 17th and 18th, and the championship game on Tuesday March 19th.

Stay tuned to the Canadian Baseball Network for the latest update on Team Canada.

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