By IAN WILSON
It’s the final countdown!
This is our last edition of Alberta Dugout Digest, our weekly analysis of baseball players from the province who are crushing it at post-secondary institutions south of the border.
With regular season play mostly wrapped up and championship tournaments in full swing, we are preparing for the Western Canadian Baseball League (WCBL) season to start up at the end of the month while we keep an eye on postseason action in the United States.
But before we get to that, here’s a look at our leader board, which is organized by school association or division.
Information is provided by the CBplayers.com website, which makes statistical data available about Canadian baseball players in the U.S.
Let’s get started with the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics.
The dream season of Okotoks Dawg slugger J.T. Patterson rolls along. With a pair of home runs on Monday – including a grand slam – the Dawgs Academy grad is up to 24 dingers in 2019, along with 86 runs batted in (RBI) and 68 runs in 57 games. The third baseman’s most recent outburst helped the Bellevue University (BU) Bruins thump Valley City State 26-5. The victory clinched a North Star Athletic Association (NSAA) championship and an automatic berth in the NAIA Opening Round Tournament.
Vauxhall Academy’s Tyler Scott is also putting together a strong campaign in the NAIA. The Calgary infielder has 45 runs, 35 RBI, and a .319 batting average in 51 games for Bryan College.
Another Vauxhall product, Ty Penner of Lethbridge, has shown some pop at the plate. He has six home runs, 23 RBI and 19 runs in his 42 games with the University of British Columbia (UBC).
Austin Watamaniuk, of Westlock, is batting .366 and has a .471 on-base percentage in his 142 at bats for the Benedictine College Ravens. He also has 49 runs and 20 RBI in 38 games.
On the bump, Taran Oulton’s season with the William Woods University Owls has been over for a little while, but the St. Albert lefty still leads Alberta pitchers in the NAIA in strikeouts (77), innings pitched (88.1), appearances (15), game starts (13) and wins (5).
— William Woods Owls (@WWU_Owls) May 1, 2019
Vauxhall alumnus Garrett Hawkins is having a very good season with the UBC Thunderbirds – he has 57 Ks in 63 innings, a 4-5 record and a 4.29 earned run average (ERA).
Meanwhile, Calgarian Brandon Desjardins has been lights out alongside Patterson at Bellevue University. In 37 innings pitched, the senior has 49 strikeouts, a 2-2 record and three saves.
NATIONAL JUNIOR COLLEGE ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION – DIVISION ONE
When it comes to the Game of Throws, House Stark has emerged with a claim to Alberta’s NJCAA throne.
Nathan Stark, of Medicine Hat, has more strikeouts than anyone else from the province. The former Mavericks right-hander, who spent this season with the Alberta-heavy Colby Community College Trojans, struck out 45 batters in 38.2 innings of work. He also had a 3.96 ERA and a 5-3 record over 11 appearances.
Stark’s teammate – Dawgs Academy grad Tyler McWillie – punched out 36 players in 33 innings and also had a successful season at the dish, hitting six homers, 26 RBI and scoring 18 runs in 29 games.
The Cloud County T-Birds also had a pair of high-performing Alberta pitchers in 2019. In 35 innings, former Prospects Academy pupil Tylor Jans sat down 33 aspiring hitters via strikeout during his eight starts. Joseph Karall, who attended Bellerose Composite High School in St. Albert, recorded 32 strikeouts in 35 innings while going 2-2 with a save.
While Stark was breathing fire on the mound for Colby, Matt Coutney had ice in his veins like a white walker when he stepped into the batter’s box for the Trojans. The former Parkland Twins infielder put up gaudy numbers. During 49 games, he scored 49 runs, smacked 49 RBI, hit 10 home runs, batted .404 and had an OBP of .510.
Vauxhall Academy’s Blake Gallagher – another Colby dual threat – bashed seven home runs and 32 RBI in 44 games. When he took the mound, Gallagher put up 29 Ks in 20.1 innings and collected three saves.
NJCAA DIVISION TWO
Gavin Logan, a graduate of Dawgs Academy in Okotoks, has assembled a solid season with the Southeastern Community College Blackhawks. During 49 games and 143 at bats, the freshman from Oyen hit five long balls, 25 RBI and scored 31 runs. He also has nine stolen bases and a .273 batting average.
Another Dawgs Academy alum, Ben Tighe, has notched 24 strikeouts in 23 innings and eight starts for the Williston State College Tetons this year.
NCAA (NATIONAL COLLEGIATE ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION) DIVISION ONE
Matt Lloyd – the 2017 WCBL Canadian Rookie of the Year – remains the class of the NCAA when it comes to Alberta players.
In his 46 games and 172 at bats for the Indiana Hoosiers, the former Okotoks Dawgs masher has 14 home runs, 47 RBI, 38 runs, 13 doubles and a .308 batting average. As the team’s closer, Lloyd has four saves and a 1.38 ERA through 13 innings.
Ryan Humeniuk is another former Okotoks Dawgs standout – and a Dawgs Academy grad – who is having a stellar campaign. The Stonewall, Manitoba native has played 47 games for the University of Louisiana at Monroe Warhawks and leads the team in stolen bases, having swiped 17 bags in 22 attempts. Humeniuk’s 43 runs are also tops on the Warhawk roster and he has six homers and 24 RBI.
Just looking back on the month of April & realized just how many great convos we had on #ADSPodcast. Started things off with "The Out-Of-Towners" featuring @Ryanslugger13 & @joshburgmann as they recalled coming to #Alberta & now doing great things. https://t.co/KCr3Rn2hUd
— ABDugoutStories (@ABDugoutStories) May 1, 2019
Pac-12 strikeout leader Josh Burgmann continues to dazzle for the University of Washington Huskies. The Vauxhall-trained right-hander has 89 strikeouts in 70.1 innings of work. He also has a 3-5 record and a 4.10 ERA in 12 starts.
Jackson Wark, meanwhile, now has 58 Ks in 50 innings for the St. Louis University Billikens. The St. Albert product has a 3.24 ERA, a 2-4 record and one save in 15 games.
Prairie Baseball Academy (PBA) grad Tanner Jesson-Dalton has matched Lloyd in saves. He has four saves for Sacramento State, along with a 4-1 record and 42 Ks in 38 frames. His ERA is 1.66, while his walks and hits per inning pitched (WHIP) is just 0.84.
NCAA DIVISION TWO
Boom goes the Dylan-mite!
Dylan Borman is crushing the ball for the University of Arkansas at Monticello. The PBA alum from Camrose, who will play for the Lethbridge Bulls this summer, has 10 home runs and 40 RBI in 2019.
None were bigger than this game-winning grand slam that secured a Great American Conference (GAC) regular-season title for the Weevils.
— UAM Sports (@UAMsports) April 20, 2019
Nick Ankermann, also a PBA grad, has been steady for the Eastern New Mexico University (ENMU) Greyhounds. During 150 at bats, the Lethbridge infielder is batting .353 with 37 runs and 29 RBI.
On the mound, reliever Liam Sabiston – who plays with Ankermann at ENMU – has four saves in 2019 and 22 strikeouts in 28 innings. Sabiston is a Calgarian who attended PBA and will suit up for the Lethbridge Bulls.
NCAA DIVISION THREE
The Cabrini University Cavaliers have to be thrilled with the season that Kyran Weemaels has given them.
He’s played in nine games – eight of them starts – and during his 45 innings the junior from Airdrie has a 5-1 record, 30 Ks and a 2.80 ERA.
NORTHWEST ATHLETIC CONFERENCE (NWAC)
First baseman Kye Seitz – a Dawgs Academy product now at Bellevue College – has five dingers, 33 RBI and a .299 batting average through 26 games and 87 at bats.
Aidan Orsted, who also honed his skills in Okotoks, put together some tidy numbers for Douglas College. The Airdrie native had a 2-2 record, 26 strikeouts and a 3.57 ERA in 35.1 innings for the Royals.
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. We will do a year-end statistical summary of Alberta’s college and university baseball players in the fall.