Growing up in a house of boys, Carlin Dick knows a thing about sibling rivalry.
Little did he know, when the Abbotsford, B.C. native first entered the halls of the Vauxhall Academy of Baseball, he would be gaining another brother from the other side of the country: Fredericton, New Brunswick’s Max Grant.
Not only did they graduate from the Jets program together, but after high school they both headed straight to NCAA Division 1 Canisius College, where they are hitting first and second in the Golden Griffins’ batting order.
While he’s used to battling with his brothers Carson, Carter and Cardel, Carlin says this brotherhood is different.
“Max is my best friend,” Dick told Alberta Dugout Stories via Twitter message. “I think as much as we are around each other, it helps both of us, pushing each other to achieve our goals and I think being so like-minded has helped us tremendously.”
They are also helping push their teammates at Canisius, as they entered the season as one of the top-ranked teams in their conference.
It’s not just the team that has been racking up the accolades.
In their rookie campaigns, Dick hit .348 in 17 games with two home runs and 12 runs batted in (RBI), while Grant was a steady presence at the plate with a .386 batting average, a double, two triples and 17 RBI in 26 games.
Both were also named to the All-MAAC Rookie Team in 2021 and, prior to this spring, were named to the MAAC All-Preseason Team.
Not surprisingly, the pair took the recognition in stride.
“I was really pleased and glad to be honoured by the conference,” the six-foot, 188-pound Grant said.
“It’s great to be recognized for my play in the past but that’s the past and it’s about this season now.”
Dick agrees, saying it sets a nice benchmark but he has bigger aspirations.
“I was definitely excited to hear about it, but I’m not content,” he said. “It’s a good feeling but the end goal is a MAAC championship, so that’s where my focus really is.”
OFF TO A GOOD START
The two sophomores are off to great starts to the 2022 spring season.
Grant is leading the way with a .489 batting average through 12 games, slugging a pair of homers while driving in six runs. The third baseman is also fresh off being named MAAC Player of the Week.
“I just want to produce and help the team win games,” he said. “I’m here to win a ring.”
Dick, meantime, is hitting .220 with a pair of doubles and four runs batted in.
He’s also not feeling any pressure with the mounting attention.
“I still have to go out there and do my best to help us win games,” the 5-foot-10, 215-pound outfielder said. “It just becomes about winning when we step on the field.”
Both say the Griffins are a tight-knit group that is excited with the potential of the roster, which includes fellow Vauxhall product Levi Abbott.
“Those two guys bring so much to the table,” the Lethbridge-born righthander said. “Grit, devotion to the game and, most of all, passion.”
Abbott adds both Dick and Grant are brimming with confidence, while also taking everything their coaches throw at them to make them into better players.
MOTIVATING EACH OTHER
It’s not surprising to Vauxhall coach Les McTavish that the friendship has continued to bloom at Canisius.
He noticed their connection about midway through their first fall together, and wasn’t surprised as he felt they had similar work ethics, goals, aspirations and personalities.
“Both of them are just great people,” McTavish said. “They want others to do well, they look for the best in people, they’re positive influences and, maybe the best way to put it is that they always look at everything with the glass half full and not half empty.”
Abbott saw that bond grow right away, and that they have held each other accountable every day since.
“I think the number one piece in their friendship is motivation towards each other,” he said. “Both guys always want to get better and this similar interest drives their true friendship.”
The two were originally slated to play for the Lethbridge Bulls during the 2021 Western Canadian Baseball League season, and were both planning to live in McTavish’s basement.
However, Grant had to stay home, while Dick was able to bask in the glory of a championship season.
He hit .310 with two dingers, 27 RBI and eight stolen bases in 33 regular season games, before collecting a .375 average and three RBI in four playoff games.
“Winning a championship last summer was a good experience and being a mainstay in that lineup helped me build confidence in high-pressure situations,” Dick said. “I also learned what it takes to win a championship at that level.”
While nothing has been decided or announced for the 2022 summer season, it’s clear both Dick and Grant want to keep winning at the highest level.
Whatever happens, McTavish is thrilled to keep watching their journey.
“They’re going to do great things,” he said. “Hopefully they will continue to play baseball for a long time after college. But they will be extremely successful in whatever they choose to do, as people gravitate towards them.”