By IAN WILSON
The Okotoks Dawgs Academy has announced a “monumental partnership” with Oregon State University (OSU) that will see the Beavers travel to southern Alberta for a fall training camp at the Seaman Stadium complex.
The Beavers have an accomplished National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I baseball program that won 2006, 2007 and 2018 College World Series titles. OSU has made a total of seven College World Series appearances and claimed 26 conference championships.
Their alumni include catcher Adley Rutschman – the first overall pick of the Baltimore Orioles in the 2019 Major League Baseball (MLB) draft – and All-Star outfielder Michael Conforto of the San Francisco Giants.
“We are honoured to open our doors to Oregon State University,” said Tyler Hollick, general manager of the Okotoks Dawgs.
“This collaboration embodies the essence of amateur baseball at both the youth and collegiate levels. We are excited to provide a platform for both programs’ players to learn, grow, and share experiences that will undoubtedly shape their future careers on and off the field, while continuing to reinforce the Dawgs long-standing relationship with Oregon State University.”
The fall training camp will take place between Sept. 14th and Sept. 22nd in Okotoks. During their nine days at Seaman Stadium, OSU pitchers and hitters will train with and play against Dawgs Academy players. Coaching staffs with the Beavers and the Dawgs will engage players in practices, inter-squad games, exhibition matches, team-building exercises and educational seminars.
Coaches and players will make full use of the baseball facilities, including Seaman Stadium, Tourmaline Field, the Ircandia Outdoor Batting Facility and the Duvernay Fieldhouse.
“This collaboration marks an exciting chapter in the Dawgs and Oregon State’s dedication to player development and the advancement of the sport while continuing to reinforce a long-standing relationship between the programs,” stated Dawgs Academy in a press release.
“The Dawgs’ state-of-the-art facilities combined with the coaching staffs of both programs will provide an incredible opportunity for players to further develop and for the relationship between the programs to grow even stronger.”
Seaman Stadium was recently voted the best stadium in summer collegiate baseball by Ballpark Digest. It is home to the Okotoks Dawgs, who are back-to-back Western Canadian Baseball League (WCBL) champions.
Numerous links between the Dawgs and the Beavers have developed over the years.
The 2024 roster for OSU includes Micah McDowell, a Dawgs Academy graduate and a key member of the 2022 WCBL championship Okotoks Dawgs team. Other standouts from the Dawgs, such as outfielder Cesar Valero and catcher Gavin Logan, also played for the Beavers, while Leo Cote has committed to play for OSU as well.
The Beavers sent a number of players north to Okotoks to play in the WCBL in recent seasons, including Jacob Melton, Ruben Cedillo, Elliot Carey, Richie Mascarenas and Brock Townsend. Melton is now a top-ranked prospect in the Houston Astros organization and Townsend recently helped the Dawgs secure a 2023 WCBL championship.
In addition, Tyler Graham – former head coach of the Okotoks Dawgs – and Andy Peterson, a current member of the coaching staff with the WCBL squad in Okotoks are both OSU alumni.