And Still…

The reigning champions of the CCBC, your Prairie Baseball Academy Dawgs.

Yes, indeed the dust has settled, the sun has set, and the Prairie Baseball Academy Dawgs are still National Champions. This makes it six straight years for the Dawgs, or in other words, back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to back (take that Drake…). If you haven’t already seen the figures, it’s been over two thousand days since the last time a different team won the Championship. To provide you with some perspective, the last time PBA lost the National Championship, varsity members Jacob Melville and Brett Brittany were in grade seven! 2010 was the year. Vancouver was hosting the Winter Olympics (remember the Golden Goal), Obama was in just his second year of presidency, and movies like Inception, Iron Man 2, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 were all released.

Yes, it has been quite a run for PBA over the last six years, but this year’s Championship weekend was one that will be remembered fondly for its flare for the dramatic.

It began on Wednesday night, as we rolled into Kelowna and headed to the awards banquet for dinner and the presentation of the various awards for the season. PBA had a great year on the field, and the awards highlighted that. On the All-Conference First Team was Cory Scammell, Matt Malec, Nick Ankermann, Brett Brittany, Layne Currie, Brett Semeniuk, Jared Libke, and Tanner Dalton. The remaining six spots on the team were filled by players from the other five teams in the league. On the All-Conference Second Team was Carter Witbeck and Chance Wheatley. For those counting at home, that is half our starting rotation and eight of our nine position players. Other awards for the Dawgs were highest team batting average, most homeruns hit, most pitching strikeouts, and best team ERA. Cory Scammell also took home top hitter, while Jared Libke won the award for most individual strikeouts.

The following day was the beginning of the championships, where the Dawgs started on the right foot. If you haven’t read in depth about our performance on the weekend, there are daily write-ups on the Prairie Baseball Academy website. To summarize, the Dawgs started the tournament on fire in day one. A 14-2 victory followed by a 16-5 victory gave us the sweep in our doubleheader. The next day, we continued the dominance with a 16-1 victory. The following day we played the host-team and eventual silver medalists, the Okanagan College Coyotes, and won 7-1. The four wins in round robin play came in large part to the incredible offense that showed up in the games, evident through the scores. The starting pitching in the games was also outstanding and held our opponents down the whole weekend.

The final day was where we faced our first obstacle. In a repeat of Saturday night’s game, we faced off again against the Okanagan Coyotes in the finals. After we made it 2-0 early, the Coyotes had a big fifth inning and were up 4-3 for the second half of the game. After they scored their three, Thursday’s starter Jared Libke threw four shutout innings out of the bullpen to hold the Coyotes at four runs.

Heading into the ninth inning down by a run, there was some serious nerves being felt on the bench. After five straight years of winning this very game, we were only three outs away from watching the wrong team celebrate in front of us. This was the Dawgs’ final chance. After hitting the ball well all day but not finding much luck, the Dawgs finally found the holes in the defense. Chance Wheatley started it off by picking up his first hit of the game, a one-out single to right field. Following him was Layne Currie, who hit a ball through the left side of the infield to reach base, representing the winning run. After the second out of the inning was recorded, Cory Scammell stepped up with the season resting on his shoulders.

With Okanagan being a single out away from winning the championship and breaking our half-decade streak, Cory Scammell delivered. He ripped a ball to right field, his first hit of the day, to score Chance Wheatley and tie the game at four. The bench exploded as the game would not be lost in this inning any longer. Following Scammell, was Lethbridge’s own Matthew Malec. He entered the batter’s box with the championship run standing ninety feet away. Malec was hitless on the day, but had ripped multiple balls to different parts of the field each time. This time, on the very first pitch, Malec swung. He made contact with the ball and started running towards first base. Every eye in the park fell on that ball, as it bounced twice and escaped the infield, plating Currie and winning the championship for the Dawgs. The players burst out of the bench and mauled Malec at first base, as he had just etched his name into history as the player to bring home the winning run in the Dawgs’ sixth straight National Championship.

There was a moment of disbelief from many of us as we sprinted onto the field. After watching the Coyotes roll through our potent offense all game, the clutch hits in the final inning had shocked many. The celebration ensued in right field as Malec’s jersey was ripped off of him and the Dawgs were let out of their cage and ran free in the outfield knowing they were all champions.

The win also gave PBA its second straight undefeated championship weekend (five straight wins each year), improving the current championship weekend winning streak to fifteen (which stretches over the last three years). These numbers come from a continuation of the end to the season we had. After a turning point in Kamloops where we did a serious evaluation of the leadership and chemistry of the team, we went on to win nineteen out of our last twenty games, this run included the twelve game winning streak as well. When counting playoffs as well, the 2016 Dawgs went 24-2 over the last month and a half, surely one of the most successful finishes to a season PBA has seen.

And that concludes it. Later in the week, Cory Scammell was named Dawg of the Year, marking the end of his PBA career, as well as eleven other players. The Dawgs say bye to Cory Scammell, Matt Malec, Chance “Crush” Wheatley, Dustin Braun, Mitch Grisbrook, and Layne Currie on the offensive side. And from the pitching staff, they say farewell to Jared Libke, Luc Hebert, Andrew Grieder, Dylan Theroux, Logan McDonald, and myself.

It’s a weird feeling being finished. I walked out of the facility a few days ago knowing that it would be the final time I walked through the doors a Dawg. We survived years of crazy workouts, freezing temperatures, and long bus rides. During the time, we know it’s hard. For me, it has been some of the most challenging years in my life so far. But as I sit back and see my last three years at PBA, I feel large amounts of pride and admiration. I will miss the people and I will miss the place.

Before our season starts, we always sit down and make team goals. The first three things said are always the same. They are to come first in league, to repeat as champions, and to “leave a legacy”. The first two are measurable, the third is not. We finished with a record of twenty-two wins and six losses, which gave us the title of League Champions. We made it to the Championship game and won, which gave us the title of National Champions. But in order to leave a legacy, you need to do something as a team that will be spoken of for years. I firmly believe that the bottom of the ninth in the Championship game is one of many details within our legacy this year. We started the year with one win and eleven losses. After a grueling preseason on the bus, we had improved our record to 8-13. Then with a fresh start entering the regular season, we posted winning records every weekend except one. We swept three of our last four weekends, and we did it as a tightly-knit unit of brothers. Legacy: left.

As I go, I thank you all so much for your support over the last two years. To everyone that has been involved in my baseball career, from Mission single-A to Cardinals to PBA Dawgs, thanks so much. It’s been a pleasure to meet everyone along the way and I hope the best for all of you. To all the readers of the Dawg blog over the last two years, thanks so much. This page has helped me to constantly practice what I hope to do for a long time, write. The support and encouragement from all is greatly appreciated.

For this and for the last two years, thanks for the read.

Jesse McGowan

The One Before the Last One

The Dawgs have been on a roll since I last checked in on here, going 14-2 over the last month, including a twelve game winning streak. The massive surge by the Dawgs secured first place in the CCBC, as we finished with a record of twenty-two wins and just six losses. This record was more than enough to secure our title of League Champions, which was a team goal we set for ourselves early in the year. Winning our sixth-straight Championship is our final goal, as we take our talents to Kelowna this weekend, looking to do just that.

Since we last spoke, the Dawgs have had three very successful weekends. The winning streak began during our first home games of the year. After dropping game one of the weekend to TRU, we managed to win our next three games. The following weekend, we were up in Calgary, where we won all four games. There were two close games and two blowouts on the weekend, as scores went 5-2, 15-4, 5-4, and 12-0.

On the pitching side of things for the weekend, some new starters were added to the rotation and did not disappoint. Dylan Theroux, who has been used in late relief for most of the year, started game one of the weekend. He managed to get through five complete innings without letting a single hitter reach base. He left the game in the sixth, but had still not given up a single hit. He earned the victory in the game thanks a role-reversal that saw Jared Libke, our usual game one starter, close out the game and earn the save. In the final game of the weekend, Luc Hebert took to the mound for his first start in the CCBC, after two seasons of dealing with injuries. Hebert would make it through five complete innings with only one hit surrendered. Other winning pitchers on the weekend were Andrew Grieder, who threw six strong in game two, and Rhett Feser, who threw five innings in relief with just one earned run and six strikeouts.

On the other side of the ball, the offense continued to put up large numbers, as they had the weekend before. Brett Brittany led the way for the Dawgs, as he went eleven-for-nineteen on the weekend, with eight of those hits going for extra bases. His performance included four doubles, three triples, and a homerun. Cory Scammell had a great weekend, where his extra-base hits made him the new all-time doubles leader in Dawgs history. The team as a whole recorded forty-eight hits on the weekend. With offensive production like that, it is no wonder the Dawgs picked up four wins.

We then carried our seven game winning streak into our next series, a four-game set against the VIBI Mariners. After they made the trip all the way from Vancouver Island, we played a single game on the Saturday night, two games on Sunday, and a final game on the Monday morning. The Dawgs started right where they left off in Calgary, as our first two games were both big wins, 10-0 and 12-1. The Mariners put up a late fight in game three, but we were able to hold on for a 7-5 victory. The Monday morning saw similar tenacity from VIBI, but the lethal offense of the Dawgs was too much, as we won our fourth game of the weekend by a score of 9-6.

The starting rotation was full of familiar faces this weekend. Libke returned to his role and pitched an outstanding eight innings, where he held the Mariners scoreless, with just three hits and ten strikeouts. Game two saw Grieder on the mound for five solid innings of shutout pitching. Next up was a return of Hebert for the second straight weekend, throwing eight innings with six strikeouts and zero earned runs. Finally, Feser started game four and picked up the win in his five innings of work.

Offensively, Cory Scammell led the way in game one of the weekend by picking up five hits, hit two runs in, and scored twice. Matt Malec and Dustin Braun also brought in two runs each. This game saw all nine hitters pick up at least one hit, seven hitters had more than one, and as a team, we put up twenty-one hits in the eight-inning game, final score was 10-0.

Game two featured Brett Brittany picking up four RBIs on three hits, including a double and his second homerun in two weekends. Scammell contributed to the effort by picking up a pair of doubles and three RBIs, and freshman Rick Marin did his part by picking up a double and three RBIs to cap off the 12-1 victory.

Matt Malec recorded two doubles and brought two runs in in the next game. Dustin Braun also helped the cause by bringing in two runs off of a triple. Nick Ankermann and Dylan Borman each picked up three hits as well, adding to the Dawgs’ thirteen hits in game three, where we earned a 7-5 win.

The final game of the weekend saw us get off to a quick seven-run lead to help hold off the Mariners throughout the game. Layne Currie, who recorded two hits, Scammell, who hit two more doubles, and Borman, who got three hits in the game, all brought in two runs apiece. Nick Ankermann finished off his birthday weekend by picking up three more hits, bringing his total for the weekend up to ten. The final score in the final game: 9-6.

The offense topped their previous weekend’s numbers by scoring one more run (38) and eighteen more hits (66). The wins on the weekend, which extended our winning streak to eleven games, also clinched our spot of first place in the league, guaranteeing we would finish with the top record.

A final weekend series was just played with the U of C Dinos this previous weekend. The home-and-home Battle of Alberta was an up-and-down weekend for the Dawgs, as our winning streak was extended in game one after a 14-1 win, but then was snapped in game two due to an unfortunate 4-3 loss to the Dinos. Sunday went much better for us, as we picked up a pair of big wins with final scores of 12-2 and 13-1.

Winning pitchers on the weekend were Andrew Grieder, who picked up his team-leading fifth win of the season, Jared Libke, and Rhett Feser. The bullpen of the Dawgs worked through more innings than usual this weekend and did a great job of minimizing Calgary’s offense to keep us ahead in three of the games this weekend.

Game one, which was won 14-1, had seven different contributors on the score board, including Matt Malec, who brought in two runs with his four-hit performance, and Rick Marin, who knocked in three runs off of two hits, one being a double. Cory Scammell continued to etch his name in the PBA record books, as his two hits in the game gave him the single-season hit record.

Game two on the weekend was very different than the other games played recently, as only three runs were scored by the Dawgs. The Dinos capitalized on mistakes made late in the game to steal a win from us and break our twelve-game winning streak, by a score of 4-3.

Sunday morning had us back in Lethbridge, where we had our eyes set on starting a new winning streak, with hopes of it continuing through next weekend. Ankermann led the way in game three with three hits, including two doubles, and three RBIs. Currie also picked up three RBIs and Brittany hit his third homerun in as many weekends. The offensive production once again elevated the Dawgs to a large victory, 12-2.

The final game of the season for the Dawgs stayed consistent with previous performances. We scored thirteen runs in the first four innings, and won with a twelve run lead, 13-1. Two key performers in the game were Currie and Witbeck. Layne hit his second homerun of the year and brought in three runs in the game. Carter also brought in three RBIs with a bases-clearing double.

The outstanding season the Dawgs had has resulted in many league leading statistics through impressive personal performances, which can be read about in the write-up on our team website: http://prairiebaseball.ca/news/?article_id=88. Also on the website, is a link to our schedule for the CCBC Championships, which will be starting on Thursday.

Thanks for reading and for continually supporting the Dawgs. It’s been great to have many games close to home and see so many friends and families coming to support. Hope to see you in Kelowna.

Jesse McGowan

Good Blogs Come in Twos

First off, I am sorry to all you anxious Dawgs fans staring at your computer waiting to hear about how your favorite Canadian team (no, not the Blue Jays) is doing. Being a student-athlete-blogger is a busy life I guess, so thank you for bearing with me as I barely get through another finals week. I am happy to be back to inform you all how we’re doing through the Dawg blog.

Secondly, I would like to thank you all for coming back for a double installment of PBA literature. I hope the coming read is well worth the wait.

The Dawgs have been going through some mid-season ups and downs as of recent. Two weeks ago, we found ourselves in Kamloops for our last road trip until the CCBC Championships. We were thankfully greeted by beautiful weather and great fans to take in the games. I was especially thankful to see three of my best friends, who chose to surprise me by showing up unannounced. Thanks to them for coming up, as well as anyone else who joined us in Kamloops. The scorching weekend brought the Dawgs a two-win split against the TRU Wolfpack. Most recently, our first weekend played at home was a great time for us, where we took three out of four games from our visiting guests, TRU and the University of Calgary. Our record is now improved to ten wins and five losses, which has put us right where we want to be, at the top of the league standings.

Scores in our four-game series in Kamloops were all over the spectrum. We started the weekend by winning 12-8, in a game that saw us leading by eight runs before the ninth. Game two was unfortunately a blowout, where the Wolfpack won 18-2. Sunday’s games were a lot closer, where we won 6-3 and then lost 4-2. Winning pitchers on the weekend were Jared Libke, who threw six innings in game one, and Tanner Dalton, who threw seven innings and gave up just one run in his effort.

Our offensive explosion in game one was supported by Cory Scammell, who had two doubles and an RBI, Matt Malec, who had two hits and three RBIs, and Layne Currie, who had three hits, scored three times, and brought in a run. Currie also picked up another three hits in game two of the weekend. The final two games saw the Dawgs pick up seventeen hits, adding to the thirty-nine we had on the weekend.

This previous weekend got off to a bit of a slow start, as we found ourselves in a 9-1 game in the fourth inning of game one. Efforts by the Dawgs on offense brought them back to a 9-6 score. Both teams continued to score in bunches though, as the Wolfpack improved their lead to 13-6, then we clawed back and made the deficit two. That would be as close as it would get though, as we lost the first game of the weekend, 13-11. Game two was against University of Calgary and held much excitement for the Dawgs, as Carter Witbeck lifted a high fly-ball deep into the night sky for a walk-off homerun in the tenth inning to win the game. Final score of game two, 10-8. Our final two games of the weekend went our way as well, as we finished with a pair of mercies, 13-3 and 11-1.

Winning pitchers for the weekend were Dylan Theroux, who closed out the tenth inning before the Dawgs won game two, Tanner Dalton, who held the Wolfpack hitless until the fifth inning, and Andrew Grieder, who gave us a great effort through his seven innings of work with just one earned run.

Game one saw another great performance by Scammell and Malec. Scammell picked up two more doubles, as well as two RBIs, and Malec had another three-RBI game. Currie also performed well, as he managed to reach base four times in the game and score three times.

The night game on Saturday saw many late game heroics. In the bottom of the ninth, Cory Scammell knocked in his second and third RBIs of the game on a double to tie the score at eight. Then, in the bottom of the tenth inning, Carter Witbeck hit a deep ball that carried all the way over the fence to win the game for the Dawgs in walk-off fashion. The boys stormed the field, waiting for Witbeck to make it home, celebrating the exciting win after a very long day at the yard.

Sunday’s first game, the 13-3 victory for the Dawgs was largely thanks to an eight-run fourth inning. Nick Ankermann led the way on offense, with three hits and three RBIs. Chance Wheatley and Carter Witbeck both added two hits and two RBIs, one of Carter’s hits being a triple.

The impressive offensive performance continued in the final game of the weekend, where eleven more runs were scored off of fifteen hits. Layne Currie once again had a great game, with four hits, two doubles, four runs scored, and an RBI. Wheatley and Scammell both had two-RBI games to contribute to the lopsided Dawgs win as well.

Now that the Dawgs are free from all school, baseball becomes the sole focus in our last month of the season. We find ourselves in Calgary this weekend for a four-game set against the Dinos. After the series in Calgary we get to play another set at home, those games against the Vancouver Island Baseball Institute Mariners.

Stay tuned for updates as the Dawgs enter the second half of the season, hoping to solidify our spot at the top of the league and continue to improve as we get closer to the Championships.

Thanks for the read,

Jesse McGowan

Familiar Feelings in Blistering BC

The Dawgs experienced an unfortunately familiar feeling this weekend in Kelowna, as three straight wins were followed by a loss in our final game to narrowly miss sweeping the weekend. This same thing happened three times last year and has now happened two times in a row during our 2016 season, a trend we hope to break as the year goes on. In spite of the frustratingly close four-game win streak, the Dawgs did still manage to come out on top three times and improve our season record to six wins and two losses, which puts us at the top of the league standings.

Under the sweltering heat of BC’s interior, we went toe-to-toe with host team Okanagan College Coyotes and the University of Calgary Dinos. Two of our wins were against the Dinos, leaving our other win and the only loss to come from the games against the Coyotes. The split against OC for the second straight weekend leaves our record against them at an even two wins and two losses. Those four games are all that we play against the Coyotes this year, as we will not see them again until the 2016 National Championships, which just so happen to be hosted in Kelowna.

To kick off the weekend, our game one starter Jared Libke threw seven innings and surrendered just two earned runs, before I came in to close out game one. Leading the way on offense was Carter Witbeck, who hit a single, a double, and picked up two RBIs in the game. Dustin Braun and Dylan Borman also brought in runs to contribute to the win. Final score: 6-2 for the good guys.

In the second game of the weekend, Rhett Feser worked through six inning against the U of C Dinos without giving up any earned runs and striking out five. McDonald and Theroux relieved to help close the game out.

Consistency was key for the hitters in this game, as we scored in six different innings during the game. Fourteen hits were recorded thanks to eight hitters reaching base throughout the game. Cory Scammell contributed to the hit count, by picking up three hits and an RBI, Chance Wheatley brought in two runs on one hit, and Matt Malec brought a run in with his fourth double of the season. Layne Currie and Dustin Braun also both brought in runs during the game. The production from hitters, combined with the solid effort from the pitching staff produced the second win of the day, 9-4 Dawgs.

Sunday morning was another hot day under the sun for us. Game one put Andrew Grieder on the mound, where he would pick up his first win of the season. Grieder made quick work of the Dinos’ hitters through six impressive innings, giving up a single run and just one hit. Jacob Melville and Justin Logan worked hard in relief to finish off the game for us.

The tremendous pitching performance by Grieder was at first not matched on the offense, as we found ourselves trailing 2-1 going into the sixth inning. Thankfully, in the bottom of the sixth, the offense broke things open. Seven runs were scored in the inning, followed by two more runs in the eighth inning. Cory Scammell helped the cause, by bringing in three runs, while two more runs came from both Brett Semeniuk, who also roped a triple during the game, and Dustin Braun. Nick Ankermann, who got three hits and an RBI, and Layne Currie, who picked up a hit, an RBI, and two stolen bases, also contributed to the 10-3 win for the Dawgs.

In the final game of the weekend, Tanner Dalton threw four innings of shutout ball, while picking up seven strikeouts, before leaving the game. Unfortunately, the Dawgs could not hold the 0-0 tie, as the Coyotes would go on to score six runs off of six hits and four PBA errors in the next four innings.

In the 6-1 loss for the Dawgs, the bleak offensive production came from a Layne Currie double and an RBI from Chance Wheatley.

This loss finished off another near-perfect weekend for us. Here’s hoping we can break the habit and win that ever illusive fourth game soon. The boys get back on the bus on Thursday this week, heading to Kamloops for a three-day four-game series against the Thompson Rivers University Wolfpack, kicking off on Friday night. We look forward to seeing more of our great and loyal fans out to watch!

Once again, thank you for stopping by for a read.

Jesse McGowan

 

A Kamloops Easter for the Dawgs

How was your Easter weekend spent? Maybe waking up in the morning and scavenging the house for hidden Easter treats. Possibly gathering with friends and family to celebrate the long weekend. Hopefully it also featured a scrumptious dinner with all the tasty entrees you dream of. Whatever you did, I hope you had a good one! For the Prairie Baseball Academy Dawgs and many of our awesome fans who made the trip, it was spent at the baseball field, kicking off our CCBC season in Kamloops, BC.

After a four-game sweep last weekend, we entered our first games of the year on this side of the border with high expectations. After months of hard work and preparation and four long bus trips down to the states, the Dawgs were excited to be staying on Canadian soil for the start of our season. During the weekend, we faced off against both the Okanogan College Coyotes and the Thompson Rivers University Wolfpack. Continue on to see how we fared in our first test in the CCBC this year.

The scorching sun greeted us on Saturday afternoon as we took the field against the Coyotes in game one of the weekend. As we have grown accustomed to now, Jared Libke was up on the mound for the Dawgs, and he supplied us with another quality start. Libke threw seven innings and only gave up one earned run. Impressively, of the twenty-one outs Libke recorded, eleven were strikeouts. McDonald and Melville followed Libke in the game, each pitching an inning to end it off.

After PBA led 3-0 for most of the game, the Coyotes squeaked their lone run across in the seventh. We answered with five more runs in the next two innings, making the final score 8-1. The middle of the order elevated the Dawgs to victory as multiple extra-base hits from Scammell, Malec, and Braun brought the Dawgs all the runs they would need. In the first, Malec hit an RBI double to score Scammell. In the third inning with two outs, back-to-back doubles were hit by Scammell and Malec, followed by a Braun triple to bring in another run. The seventh inning saw Ankermann get in on the action with a triple of his own, later scoring on a sacrifice fly by Layne Currie. The four-run eighth inning was thanks to back-to-back RBI doubles by Braun and Dylan Borman. The late offensive production effectively put the icing on the cake for our first win of the year and extended our winning streak to five games.

Next on the agenda was the TRU Wolfpack. For this game, lefty Rhett Feser got the pitching start, and would pitch into the fifth inning, before myself and Dylan Theroux would make our contributions to the pitching effort. The back-and-forth battle between the two teams provided excitement for all the dedicated fans sticking it out through the cold to watch the game.

After getting us off to a 3-0 lead, highlighted by Dustin Braun’s RBI triple in the fourth, TRU would work back to tie the game in the fifth at 4-4. Unfortunately for them, we were in the middle of a six-inning scoring streak. We got the lead back in the sixth, thanks to Chance Wheatley hitting a two-run triple. We would score again in the seventh and the eight, before exploding for six runs in the top of the ninth to put the game out of reach. RBIs were picked by Austin Schibler, who hit a triple to score a run, Carter Witbeck, Dustin Braun, and Austin Schibler again in his second at-bat of the inning.

Theroux capped off a tremendous pitching performance by finishing off the Wolfpack in the bottom of the ninth and picking up the win for the team. Final score: 15-6.

Sunday morning saw the rains roll in.

Thankfully, after waiting it out for a short while, we were able to play. Game one was against TRU again. Pitching for the Dawgs was Tanner Dalton, who worked through six innings with just a single earned run and eight strikeouts. Logan McDonald would come in as relief and pitch three innings to finish the game off. Another favourable result came from the first game of the day, as the Dawgs scored fourteen runs off of fifteen hits to pick up our seventh straight win and third for the weekend, 14-4 being the final result.

The offensive power of the Dawgs was on full display again as five hitters had multi-hit games and three hitters brought in multiple runs. Dustin Braun led the way on Sunday morning, picking up four RBIs for the second game in a row. The ninth inning was once again owned by the Dawgs, as we scored eight more runs. Braun’s bases-clearing double brought in three, Semeniuk and Currie both got their second RBIs of the game through sacrifice fly-outs, Wheatley brought in two with a single to left field, and Scammell capped it off with an RBI on his second double of the day.

We must have used all of our offensive production in the first three games of the weekend, where we recorded 37 runs on 39 hits. Contrary to those numbers, the final game saw very little offense from the Dawgs, as we fell to the Okanogan College Coyotes by a score of 10-2. Chance Wheatley provided the RBI in his two-hit game, which included a double.

Despite the loss to end things off, our first weekend of season play in the CCBC was very successful. After another week of practices, we are heading to Kelowna to face off against the Coyotes again, as well as the University of Calgary Dinos.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope your Easter was just as good as ours.

Jesse McGowan

 

Spring Training Week 4: Putting the W’s in Walla Walla, Washington

60 Hits. 35 Runs. 4 Wins. PBA’s most recent weekend was one to be remembered.

Adding to the amazing offense of the team this weekend were milestones, not to be confused with the popular restaurant. This weekend PBA finished off our preseason on a very high note. Travelling down to Southern Washington and into Oregon for the third straight week must have felt pretty natural for the boys, as the familiarity of the process brought a comfortable set of players to face off against Blue Mountain Community College Timberwolves for a second time, and the NWAC’s reigning champions, the Walla Walla Community College Warriors. And if you haven’t heard yet, the results were pretty good. A strong showing all weekend earned the Dawgs four wins, to give them the first sweep of the year, something last year’s team didn’t accomplish until the Championship weekend.

Rolling hills and quiet highways greeted us Saturday morning as we drove an hour from our hotel to play in Pendleton, Oregon, against the BMCC Timberwolves. Two weeks ago, we squared off against them and broke a lengthy losing streak, then took the second game of the day too. This weekend wasn’t any different, as we played tenaciously for the whole day and earned two wins.

Game one was pitched by Jared Libke, Jesse McGowan, and Dylan Theroux. Libke went seven strong innings, with seven strikeouts and only three hits, in another great start from the third-year veteran. The two runs BMCC scored were matched by us with a run in the fifth and the sixth. Dylan Borman chalked up the first milestone of the weekend, as he led off the fifth inning with a soaring fly ball that carried all the way over the fence for a monstrous homerun, the first of his college career. The next inning was led off by Layne Currie, who ripped a triple to the outfield. Two hitters later, Cory Scammell hit a sacrifice fly to bring in his team-leading nineteenth RBI of the season.

After Libke, I followed, looking to keep the game close and give the team a chance to win. After two clean innings, the bottom of the tenth saw the winning runner on third base, another runner on first base, and two outs. With a steal play on, catcher Carter Witbeck faked a throw to second, making the runner on third bite, and threw him out at third to end the threat and send the game into the eleventh.

In the eleventh inning, the Dawgs went off. The top of the order struck again, as Currie and Wheatley both reached base and set the table for Cory Scammell, who did not miss his opportunity, as he hit a scorcher over the outfield fence for a three-run homerun, 5-2 Dawgs. Later in the inning, Carter Witbeck hit a bases-loaded single to bring two runs in and increase the lead to 7-2.

The Dawgs were sitting pretty going into the twelfth inning, but the Timberwolves did not go down too easily. After getting the first out, they struck back with three straight hits and a run, before Dylan Theroux entered the game. The Timberwolves brought one more run across the plate by the end, but it wouldn’t be enough to defeat the Dawgs. Theroux picked up his second save, I picked up my first college win, and the Dawgs picked up their first extra-inning win of the season, after having several chances to do so. Aside from the excitement of homeruns and clutch defense, the offense as a whole had a great game, picking up fourteen hits in the game. Dustin Braun picked up four hits in his five at-bats, including a triple, a double, and two singles.

In game two, we sent Rhett Feser to the mound, after having pitched very well in his last outing against the Timberwolves. Saturday was not much different, as Feser would pitch into the sixth inning and only give up one earned run.

On the offensive side of the ball, another great game was had, as sixteen hits were recorded by eight different hitters. Five hitters had multi-hit games and five players batted in runs, leading to the nine runs scored in the game. The game also featured a returning face, as freshman Brett Brittany, who injured his ankle during our Las Vegas trip, came back into the lineup and got two hits and an RBI.

Offensive success, combined with solid pitching performances from Rhett Feser, Jacob Melville, and Logan McDonald, earned us a 9-4 victory to finish off the day.

Saturday’s successes carried over to Sunday, as the Dawgs took two more games from the Walla Walla Warriors. Offense was the story of the day, as nineteen runs were scored off of twenty-eight hits, giving us all the runs we’d need to roll over the Warriors. Tanner Dalton pitched in game one, gave up no earned run, just three hits, and lasted through the sixth inning. In relief would be Theroux again, who added three more innings to his successful weekend to close out game one, 9-1.

Notable in this game was a first in PBA history. In the seventh inning, with runners on first and second, a hard-hit ball went to Matt Malec at third base. With a step on his bag and a crisp throw, he put our first ever triple-play into action. Wheatley received the ball at second, getting the out, and got a quick throw off to Scammell at first to end the inning. The electricity from the play radiated throughout the dugout, as we immediately put up four runs in the inning.

The nine runs we scored in the commanding victory came courtesy of great games by Wheatley, Witbeck, Borman, and Ankermann. Wheatley and Witbeck both knocked in three runs off of three hits. Borman stepped up and hit another homerun and Ankermann picked up his first college RBI to top it off.

The final game of the weekend saw Andrew Grieder in the game to pitch, with the hopes of grabbing that last win of the weekend. Grieder would get all the offensive support he needed, as the Dawgs put up ten more runs to stomp Walla Walla. On the bump, Grieder got through five and two-thirds innings, before Logan MacDonald would come in to finish the game off.

Another incredible offensive game was played to round out the weekend. We scored ten runs off of fifteen hits, culminating the already fantastic weekend our lineup had. Once again, we had eight hitters through our lineup come up with a hit, six of which were multi-hit games. Witbeck capped his spectacular weekend off with three more hits and two RBIs. He also found himself catching all four games this weekend, due to an injury to Mitch Grisbrook last week. Triples in the game were hit by Borman and Brett Brittany, who showed us his ankle was just fine by picking up two more hits and a run-batted-in in the final game.

The sweep on the weekend improved our overall Preseason record to eight wins and fourteen loses, an impressive improvement from our one win and eleven loss start. Since Vegas, the boys have won seven out of their ten games, and believe they are more than ready to kick off the 2016 CCBC season next weekend in Kamloops, BC.

Thanks for stopping by again for a read.

Jesse McGowan

Spring Training Week 3: Blame it on the West Coast – Year 2

History repeated itself this year in Spokane. The West Coast managed to rain on our parade for the second time in two years, as dark clouds brought constant rainstorms to our four-game set in Spokane, Washington. One game each day was all that the Dawgs were able to play, as the wet weather poured down on us for almost the entire weekend. Thankfully, we were able to win a game before we packed it in. A 9-0 victory on Saturday came at the hands of Jared Libke. On Sunday, we let a close one slip away, losing 7-3. Immediately following the game, the rain rolled in, the tarps rolled out, and the bus rolled back to Lethbridge. I’ll rewind though, and tell the story of the two games we did get to play this weekend.

Saturday morning in Spokane greeted us with light rain, something we could play through thankfully. Jared Libke toed the rubber in the first game of the set against the Spokane Falls Community College Sasquatch. Libke threw seven scoreless innings, with just three hits coming from the twenty-six batters he faced. Libke also picked up another nine strikeouts, adding to his team leading thirty-six strikeouts in the pre-season. After Libke, McGowan and Melville each picked up an inning to finish off the shutout.

Offensively, great days were had throughout the lineup. Leadoff hitter Layne Currie drew three walks and added a hit at the end, as well as scoring three times during the game. Next in the order was Wheatley, who went 3 for 4 with a double and an RBI. Scammell and Malec both picked up a pair of hits in the middle of the lineup. Braun cleared the bases in the fifth with a three-RBI double. Borman and Ankermann both had multi-hit games and picked up an RBI each, while Witbeck did his part with a sacrifice fly to score a run as well.

After our commanding win in the morning, the rain became too much and the teams packed it in for the day. This cancellation brought us an abundance of free times, where we rested up in the hotel’s sauna and hot tub, picked up some bargains at Ross, played some cards, and took in a movie. Some of us even found the motivation to get some homework done during the night. But with our clocks about to spring forward, we all got to bed early to make sure we didn’t get cheated out of our full-night’s rest.

On Sunday morning, after a slight rain delay, we headed to the field in hopes of making up the game we missed, plus the scheduled ones for the day. The weather had other plans for us, as we just finished our first game when more storm clouds rolled in and washed away any chance of continuing play.

The game was not exactly as we expected either, as our dominant play on Saturday did not carry over to Sunday’s contest. Andrew Grieder started the game for us and made quick work of the Sasquatch lineup early. We kicked the scoring off in the third inning, thanks to back to back to back singles by Ankermann, Schibler, and Currie. Currie’s single brought the first run in, followed by Wheatley bringing in the second.

After a few mental mistakes on defense, the first runs of the weekend were scored for the Sasquatch in the third inning tying the game up at 2. However, in the top of the next inning we took the lead back, as Dustin Braun made it all around the bases on errors by Spokane Falls, 3-2 for us.

The Sasquatch would add another in the fifth, tying the game again, before blowing up in the seventh for four runs. They would not look back after taking the commanding lead and went on to win the game 7-3.

Like clockwork, once the game ended the rain started. There was a short wait before the decision was made to cancel the rest of the day and get on our way back to Lethbridge.

Now, just one weekend remains before we enter league play in the CCBC. The coming weekend will have us back in Southern Washington, this time for two games against Walla Walla Community College, and then back down to Oregon for another two against Blue Mountain Community College. I hope you are enjoying staying connected with the Dawgs this season through these posts. Thanks for stopping by for a read of our short but sweet weekend! See you here next time for more Dawgs news.

Jesse McGowan