Keyes to Success

After two swings at the MLB Draft in 2016 and 2017, Calgary’s Clayton Keyes is hoping a team will throw another pitch his way.

Ranked as the fifth-best draft-eligible Canuck by the Canadian Baseball Network, the Dawgs Academy product is off to a hot start with Central Arizona College.

During a recent rainout, we caught up with him for an Alberta Dugout Stories: The Podcast interview.

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Just A Bit Outside

When it comes to baseball, Steve Hofstetter has more jokes about the sport than Pete Rose has hits. That includes a few quips about Charlie Hustle, as well.

As prolific in the realm of sports comedy as the former Cincinnati Red was at the plate, Hofstetter isn’t the type to rest a bat on his shoulder. Swinging away – whether it’s on stage as a standup comic or as a panelist on MLB Network – has allowed the 39-year-old to amass a huge following. 

His YouTube channel has generated over 115 million views and over 400,000 subscribers, and his resume includes bylines for Maxim, ESPN and Sports Illustrated.

During a recent phone interview from California, Hofstetter told Alberta Dugout Stories why he loves baseball, hates the Dodgers, believes in preparing for ceremonial first pitches and he laid out his reasons for calling Roger Clemens a jerk.

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1 Thru 9: St. Francis Xavier

If you’re around baseball long enough in the Edmonton area, you will eventually hear about St. FX, or just FX. 

That’s the abbreviated form of St. Francis Xavier Baseball Academy, a program that guides student athletes as they pursue their academic and sporting dreams.

Brad Wolansky, the director of the academy, brought his extensive baseball experience to Alberta’s capital with the aim of coaching aspiring major leaguers. He made time for us and our latest installment of “1 Thru 9,” which examines the baseball academies in Alberta.

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2019 Projections for Mike Soroka

As pitchers and catchers report for spring training duty in Florida, Calgarian Mike Soroka finds himself on the cusp. On the cusp of what exactly remains unclear, but suffice to say, it’s a big season for the 21-year-old Atlanta Braves right-hander. 

Last year at this time, Soroka was chasing the dream of his first start in Major League Baseball (MLB). He achieved that on May 1, 2018 during an impressive victory over Noah Syndergaard and the Mets at New York’s Citi Field. 

The 2015 first-round pick of the Braves followed that up with four more starts – posting a 3.51 earned run average (ERA), a 2-1 record and 21 strikeouts over 25.2 innings pitched in the majors – before injuries sidelined him for the remainder of the season.

What will a healthy Soroka do for an encore? If 2018 proved anything to the PBF Redbirds alumni it’s that getting there is only half the battle – staying up with the big club is the other half.

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1 Thru 9: Prairie Baseball Academy

One of the longest tenured baseball schools in Alberta is in Lethbridge, where the Prairie Baseball Academy (PBA) teaches student athletes about the sport and about life.

The team name at PBA is the Dawgs, but you’ll also find some bulls in the pack. That’s because several members of the coaching staff at the academy have played and coached for the Lethbridge Bulls of the Western Canadian Baseball League (WCBL). And if you check the Bulls roster each summer, you’re sure to find some PBA players on the squad.

You can count Ryan MacDonald among those who have close ties to both the Bulls and the Dawgs. Now in his 10th year of coaching at PBA, the Nova Scotian played five years for the Bulls and coached the Lethbridge team to their first WCBL title in 2015.

MacDonald made some time for Alberta Dugout Stories so we could learn a bit more about PBA and the school’s approach to baseball tutelage.

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