Tyrelle Chadwick wasn’t born with a baseball in his hand, but he very well could have.
The game has been a part of his life since he was very young. His father, Ray, was an eight-year professional pitcher. That included time with the Triple-A Edmonton Trappers and seven starts with the California Angels in 1986, before he turned his attention to coaching at Thompson Rivers University (TRU) in Kamloops.
But just because it was a part of their lives didn’t mean Ray wanted him following in his footsteps.
“It’s always been something I’ve wanted to do,” Tyrelle told Alberta Dugout Stories: The Podcast.
“He’s always been really clear about it that if it wasn’t what I wanted to do, there was no pressure from him to do it.”
If it was something the young man wanted to get into, his father had his devoted support and guidance.
As it turns out, Tyrelle not only loves the game, but is very good at it. So good, in fact, that at the age of 19, he’s committed to a top-tier NCAA Division I school and is coming off one of the best years of his young career, capped off by being named the Most Valuable Pitcher at the Perfect Game 18U World Series.
With his dad never too far away, Chadwick quickly rose up the ranks in Kamloops baseball circles.
Playing on traveling teams that headed east, he caught the attention of coaches at Dawgs Academy in Okotoks during his 13U season and was offered a chance to play there.
Being that young though, he wasn’t quite ready to move yet.
“I stayed home during school and would go down there for the summers,” Chadwick said. “But it got to the point where it was my second home and my parents were comfortable to send me there full-time.”
He admits the hardest part was convincing his mother that it would be a good decision.
“I was always very much ready to do it – I was comfortable leaving the nest pretty early on,” the 19-year-old laughed.
“She obviously didn’t want me moving out at that young of an age, but she understood that it was what was best for my baseball career and she allowed me to do it.”
Ray knew there was no question where his son would play his high school baseball.
“In order to grow, improve and graduate to the next level, Okotoks is where we thought would give him the best coaching, guidance and opportunity to do so,” the elder Chadwick told the Dawgs in a 2021 interview.
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Those opportunities came at a fast pace for the star pupil.
Not only was he able to play with the Dawgs Academy teams, but he was brought in to play with Dawgs Black during the altered 2021 Western Canadian Baseball League season.
Newly-turned 18 in a college-level league, he went 0-1 with a save and a 7.65 earned-run average in nine outings as a pitcher, and made 32 plate appearances as a hitter, claiming a .160 batting average with a pair of runs batted in.
Still not finished with college baseball, he was pegged as the Opening Day starter for the new West Coast League team in his hometown, the Kamloops NorthPaws, to open the 2022 season.
“That was so cool,” Chadwick exclaimed. “I think that was huge for Kamloops as a whole. It’s a hockey town and it will stay a hockey town, but I think being able to have something like the WCL and have a higher level of baseball in town is going to be really big for the sport growing here.”
He ended up making eight appearances for the new squad, finishing with an 0-1 record and a 9.98 ERA, and had 36 plate appearances with a .161 average and four RBI.
The best of Chadwick was still to come as he headed back to Okotoks this summer to travel with his Dawgs Academy teammates.
The highlight of the trip was the Perfect Game 18U World Series, held at Fitteam Ballpark of the Palm Beaches in West Palm Beach, Florida.
The park is the Spring Training home of the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals.
The Dawgs posted a 3-1-1 record during the round-robin, including an 8-0 win over the Florida Jaguars where Chadwick and Connor Pote combined for a four-hitter.
They got themselves into the semi-final, where Boston Warkentin pitched a complete-game seven-inning gem to secure a 7-2 win over Siege 18U Scout Team, setting the stage for the final against NEB National.
Chadwick got the start, pitching six-and-a-third of three-hit, two-run baseball in a 4-2 victory. He also struck out six, earning MVPitcher honours.
“It was so surreal,” the 6-foot-4, 215-pound righthander said. “Being there with my teammates that I’ve been working with for so long, a lot of us not being able to play tournaments the last two years because of COVID – to be able to bring something that big home is really exciting.”
He said the Dawgs knew they would be a good team, given that they had been training together longer than some of the other teams had. However, he didn’t want to take any of it for granted, especially in that last game.
“I hold myself to a very high standard in terms of my play on the field,” Chadwick said.
“Up until then, I had been performing well, but not to where my expectations were, so it was nice to be able to come up for my team when it really mattered.”
He adds the Dawgs benefitted from some big-time performances from some of the younger players, which he believes will bode well for them in the years to come.
Having been with Dawgs Academy for about six years, Chadwick was hoping to make his mark in some way, after watching other players do it before him.
Now that he’s accomplished it, his sights are now set on the future, which includes a top-notch school with Illinois State University. The school isn’t afraid of bringing Canadians on-board, including Dawgs Academy alum Graham Brunner and Edmonton-area shortstop Aidan Huggins.
“I just want to compete for a spot as a freshman,” Chadwick said.
“Whether that be as a bullpen guy or work my way into the rotation, I just want to be able to have an affect on the team.”
His arsenal already includes a splitter and slider to go along with a nasty fastball, but he feels he needs to work on his command to be a real threat.
Chadwick hopes to be a sponge once he gets on-campus, learning from the coaches and older players on the team.
He will also be leaning on his own experiences that he’s had along the way.
“I think a lot of high school guys don’t have the opportunity to pitch with pressure, at least that big of a stage, until they get to university,” he said.
“I think the Dawgs have been able to put me in situations like that over the years that I think will help me be ready for it once I’m down in school.”
And, like always, there’s dad, who is always there to support and guide him.
“A lot of times, it’s just the little things that he will be able to tell me just from watching a few at-bats or watching me on the mound for a few innings,” Chadwick smiled. “It always makes a big difference in the long run.”
If Tyrelle Chadwick has it his way, the run will be a long one.