By IAN WILSON
Regular season play for colleges and universities in the United States is winding down as baseball teams gear up for regional championship tournaments and the hope of a run to the World Series.
But Alberta Dugout Digest – a weekly look at exceptional players from our neck of the woods who have ventured south of the border – is still going strong.
We typically break things down by sorting pitching and batting leaders by statistical category, but this week we’re throwing a curveball your way. The leader board this week will be organized by school association or division.
Information is once again provided by the CBplayers.com website, which makes statistical data available about Canadian baseball players in the U.S.
Let’s get the first pitch going with a look at the divisions of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).
NCAA DIVISION ONE
Few players get to live out a moment like the one Matt Lloyd had for Indiana University on April 27th. At one point, the Hoosiers trailed Minnesota 6-1, but when Lloyd stepped to the plate in the bottom of the ninth inning with two runners on base, they had cut the deficit to 6-4. After running the count full, the Dawgs Academy graduate parked a walk-off jack over the right-field fence, completing the comeback and delivering a 7-6 victory.
It was the 14th home run of the 2019 campaign for Lloyd, tops among Albertans playing in the division and also good for first in the Big Ten Conference. Lloyd’s 45 runs batted in (RBI) are also the most in the conference and among his provincial peers.
Down two… two strikes… WALK. IT. OFF.@IndianaBase‘s Matt Lloyd completes the Hoosiers’ comeback with this 3-run bomb into right field, giving No. 25 Indiana a 7-6 win over Minnesota!#BTNStandout x @AutoOwnersIns pic.twitter.com/XJno24Wz5T
— Indiana On BTN (@IndianaOnBTN) April 27, 2019
Vauxhall Academy alumnus Martin Vincelli-Simard is one of a trio of batters from Wild Rose Country with five dingers on the year. The freshman also has 30 RBI and 20 runs for the Sacramento State Hornets.
Outfielder Matt Quartel, of Sturgeon County, also has five home runs – along with 25 RBI, 30 runs and a .298 batting average – for the Milwaukee Panthers.
Speedster Ryan Humeniuk, who patrolled the outfield at Seaman Stadium for the Okotoks Dawgs last summer, is a member of the five-swat club, as well. The University of Louisana Monroe junior is also the runs leader among Albertans, with 39.
Lloyd, meanwhile, also shows up among the pitching leaders. He’s collected four saves, wrung up 17 batters over 13 innings, and registered an earned run average (ERA) of 1.39.
Tanner Jesson-Dalton, a Prairie Baseball Academy (PBA) product, has four saves at Sacramento State, along with a 4-1 record and 40 Ks in 35 innings pitched. The reliever’s ERA currently sits at 1.54.
A number of starting pitchers are also excelling in the NCAA’s top tier.
Former Vauxhall Jet right-hander Josh Burgmann leads all pitchers in the Pac-12 with 82 strikeouts. Over 11 starts and 66 innings, Burgmann’s ERA is 3.82.
Jackson Wark is up to 55 punch outs in 49 innings for St. Louis University. The St. Albert native has a 2.57 ERA in 14 appearances, seven of which are starts.
Lefty Wesley Moore is sitting down batters at an impressive clip for the Cal State Northridge Matadors – the Vauxhall alum has 52 Ks through 63 innings and a 4-3 record.
NCAA DIVISION TWO
Four Alberta batters stand out in this division, and Dylan Borman is one of them.
The Camrose infielder, who attended PBA and will play for the Lethbridge Bulls this summer, has clobbered eight home runs and 35 RBI in 37 contests for the University of Arkansas at Monticello.
Another PBA pupil, Nick Ankermann, is putting together a solid senior year for the Eastern New Mexico University (ENMU) Greyhounds. During 136 plate appearances, the Lethbridge infielder is batting .360 with 34 runs and 29 RBI.
BB | HOUNDS WIN! @ENMUBaseball takes game two of today’s doubleheader! Senior second baseman Nicholas Ankerman went 3-for-4 with a two-run home run in the fifth inning and senior starter Enrique Perez climbed to sixth on ENMU’s all-time strikeout list!#ENMU#REIGNFOREVER pic.twitter.com/Kv0CqeJhb0
— ENMU Greyhounds (@ENMUAthletics) April 28, 2019
Shawn Grandmont, another Lethbridge product who honed his skills at Vauxhall’s Jets Stadium, has been a productive hitter for Northwest Nazarine University, scoring 28 times and driving in another 32 runs in 42 games.
Meanwhile, Dawgs Academy grad Garrett Kirkwood has scored 32 runs for Columbus State University while batting .318 and sporting a .408 on-base percentage (OBP) over 42 games.
When it comes to the pitchers, Ankermann’s teammate, reliever Liam Sabiston, has four saves in 2019 and 18 strikeouts in 22 innings. Sabiston is a Calgarian who found his way to the PBA before he went to New Mexico. The right-hander will join Ankermann and Borman in playing for the Lethbridge Bulls at Spitz Stadium this summer.
Reilly O’Rourke, who plays with several Medicine Hat Mavericks at Minot State University, has a 3-1 record with 45 Ks in 47 frames. The 6-foot-6 senior is originally from Sydney, Nova Scotia and trained at Vauxhall.
NCAA DIVISION THREE
Prairie Baseball Academy has a pair of high-performance players contributing in the third level of the NCAA.
Wearing jersey No. 45 for the Cabrini University Cavaliers, Kyran Weemaels has been very effective in his 41.1 innings on the bump. The arm from Airdrie has struck out 29 opponents, assembled a 5-0 record in seven starts, and he has a 1.96 ERA.
Outfielder David LeBlanc, of Beaumont, is another batter who picked up some valuable hitting tips at PBA. As a junior with the Husson Eagles, LeBlanc has recorded 21 RBI, 17 runs and a .293 batting average over 123 trips to the plate.
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF INTERCOLLEGIATE ATHLETICS (NAIA)
“Bye Bye Bye” was a huge hit for Justin Timberlake and his NSYNC bandmates, but a different J.T. has been singing “bye, bye, bye” to baseballs all season long.
Former Dawgs Academy and Okotoks Dawgs heavy hitter J.T. Patterson has been watching baseballs fly off his bat in 2019. The Bellevue University third baseman’s 21 long balls in 53 games have him sitting fifth in the NAIA in home runs, and he’s in second place in the association with 77 RBI. Add in a .396 average and a .486 OBP for the Calgarian, and we’d call that a successful season.
Patterson (20 HR) has done it yet again, the @BUBruinBaseball senior has just recorded his third three-home run game of the season, becoming the first player to do so at the @NAIA level. All three homers went oppo, into the wind. #NAIABaseball #NAIARecord @NAIABall pic.twitter.com/CmHT5w1UDA
— Bellevue Bruins (@BUBruins) April 28, 2019
In addition, Patterson set a new record in the NAIA by bashing three home runs in a game on three separate occasions. The offensive outburst helped the Bruins win the North Star Athletic Association (NSAA) regular season championship.
A trio of other Albertans have also turned in solid seasons in the NAIA.
Westlock’s Austin Watamaniuk is batting .383 in his 133 at bats for the Benedictine College Ravens and the freshman has scored 46 runs over 35 games.
Calgarian Tyler Scott, a Vauxhall Academy product, has 36 RBI, 43 runs and a .331 batting average in 48 games as an infielder at Bryan College.
Nolan Rattai, a Medicine Hat native who won a Western Canadian Baseball League (WCBL) title with his hometown Mavericks last summer, has 34 runs and a .304 average for the Columbia Cougars.
Workhorse Taran Oulton has been eating up innings and batters throughout the year for William Woods University. The southpaw amassed 77 strikeouts over 88.1 innings and set a new school record for complete games. Oulton, who spends his summers pitching for the Edmonton Prospects, finished his season with a 5-7 record and a 3.87 ERA for the Owls.
Brandon Desjardins hasn’t been quite that busy, but he’s been effective when he takes the mound. In 33 innings for the Bellevue Bruins, the Calgarian has 40 Ks, a 2-2 record and one save.
Dallas Forno, meanwhile, has gone 2-0 and picked up three saves for Tabor College while punching out 18 batters in 21 innings. Not bad at all for the Dawgs Academy alum.
NATIONAL JUNIOR COLLEGE ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION – DIVISION ONE
Of the top 10 Alberta strikeout leaders in the division, seven pitch for the Colby Community College Trojans.
Nathan Stark leads the pack with 45 Ks and a 5-3 record in 38.2 innings of work. The Medicine Hat right-hander also has a 3.96 ERA in his 11 appearances.
Dawgs Academy alumnus Tyler McWillie has 36 punch outs in 33 innings and has served as a dual threat for Colby by hitting six home runs and 24 RBI in 27 games as a batter.
Their teammate, Vauxhall’s Blake Gallagher, has 29 strikeouts in 20.1 innings pitched, as well as three saves. Gallagher has also been a force in the batter’s box, with seven home runs, 36 runs, 31 RBI and a batting average of .326 in 42 games.
Meanwhile, a pair of Cloud County T-Birds hurlers – Tylor Jans and Joseph Karall – are also turning heads. Jans, a Prospects Academy grad, has pitched 35 innings over eight starts and struck out 33 would-be hitters. Karall was a third baseman, outfielder and pitcher for the St. Albert Cardinals before he went to Cloud County, where he has a 2-2 record, a save and 28 Ks in 31.2 innings this season.
At the plate, Colby’s Matt Coutney has been lethal. The infielder, who played Midget AAA baseball for the Parkland Twins, has 10 home runs, 46 runs, 47 RBI, a .396 average and a .503 OBP in 47 games for the Trojans.
NJCAA DIVISION TWO
The man with two last names, Cooper Jones, is representing Vauxhall Academy in style at Southeastern Community College. Through 50 games, the Red Deer player has racked up 38 runs, 45 RBI, three home runs, a .329 batting average and a .455 OBP.
Outfielder Danny Donnelly has been distracting opposing pitchers on the base paths for Chandler-Gilbert Community College. Donnelly, a familiar face to Okotoks Dawgs fans, has 11 stolen bases and 30 runs in 46 games for the Coyotes.
Another Dawgs Academy product, Ben Tighe, has pitched well for Williston State College this year. He has a 1-2 record and 20 punch outs for the Tetons in 16 innings.
NORTHWEST ATHLETIC CONFERENCE (NWAC)
At Bellevue College, first baseman Kye Seitz – a Dawgs Academy product – has four homers, 28 RBI and a .404 OBP through 24 games and 77 at bats.
Airdrie right-hander Aidan Orsted, who also trained in Okotoks, is putting in work for the Douglas College Royals. Orsted carries a 2-2 record through four starts and 35.1 innings on the bump. He also has a 3.57 ERA and 26 strikeouts.
CALIFORNIA COMMUNITY COLLEGE ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION (CCCAA)
Sophomore catcher Reed Odland, who is from Enchant and went to high school in Vauxhall, is having a productive season for Allan Hancock College. The Medicine Hat Maverick is getting on base at a .427 clip. Odland also has five home runs, 24 runs and 22 RBI in 36 games.
EDITORIAL NOTE: The statistical leaders include players who are from Alberta or who trained at one of the province’s academies. Some of the player lists may be incomplete, however, so if you think we are missing anyone, please let us know by commenting on our social media channels or by emailing us at AlbertaDugoutStories@gmail.com