Black Dawgs ready to rock n roll
Baseball: Performance Midget team has depth
By: Bruce Campbell
| Posted: Wednesday, Apr 25, 2012 01:53 pm
An Okotoks Black Dawg had some extra push to his weight training in the off-season.
Jared Frew’s memory of losing the Performance Midget National championship in extra innings last August had him working extra hard in the winter.
“I was thinking about it all winter,” Frew said. “I’ve been in the weight room, getting bigger.”
The Dawgs were beaten 8-6 by Ontario last August. They appeared to have the game won in the bottom of the seventh when Frew hit what looked like a ground ball single to bring in the winning run. However, the ball took a high hop to the Ontario second basemen and Frew was thrown out. They lost in the extra inning.
Frew said the Dawgs are a better team than the one that finished second at nationals last year.
“Our pitching staff is better - we have a lot more guys who can throw,” said Frew, a Grade 12 student at Foothills Composite High School. “Offensively, I think we can hit from No. 1 in the order to No. 9.”
The Dawgs opened defence of their Alberta Baseball title by beating their hometown pals the Okotoks Red Dawgs on April 18.
Black Dawgs power-hittter Ramon Valdez got the big blow with a grand-slam home run —the first home run ever at the new Tourmaline Midget Field.
The Black Dawgs also swept the Edmonton Cardinals, 8-5, 10-3 in a doubleheader Sunday.
Valdez, a Grade 12 student at HTA, hit a three-run jack in Game 1 of the twin bill.
He shares Frew’s assessment about this year’s team.
“Last year we had a really good team, but this year I think we have a little bit more speed and more depth,” said Ramon Valdez, the Midget catcher/designated hitter. “We also have a really strong pitching staff with Wile Cunningham and Shawn Anderson. We have really good relief pitchers too.
He said the Dawgs also have a good mix-up of power and being able to hit for average in their line-up.
Black Dawgs coach Brett Thomas agreed with his two players, except they forgot one thing. They can also pick it.
“As much as these guys an hit and pitch but this team can also really field,” said Thomas.
Frew was a second baseman with the Black Dawgs last season. Although he was more than an adequate fielder last year, he has moved to first base for the slick fielding Eduardo Sanchez at second base. Sanchez and shortstop Alejo Lopez teamed up with Frew for a slick double play in the second game of the twin bill on Sunday.
Okotokians Cole Slamko and Kurtis Taylor picked up the win on the mound in Sunday’s doubleheader.
The Dawgs top three starters pitchers are Cunningham, Shawn Anderson and Jake Shaw.
“As good as those guys are what makes our staff better is guys like Cole Slamko and Kurtis Taylor,” Thomas said.
The Dawgs will officially open the new Tourmaline Field with a Midget tournament on May 2-5. The tournament will feature two divisions, U18 and U16.
There will be teams from British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Great Falls, Montana and all three of the Okotoks Dawgs teams, Black, Red and White.
Black Dawgs hurler Wyle Cunningham and his battery mate Chris Shaw will be in the line-up after trying out for Team Canada in Florida.