Dawg a Giant draft choice

Baseball: Hollick also named U.S. JUCO player of the year

By: Bruce Campbell

  |  Posted: Thursday, Jun 07, 2012 04:43 pm

Okotoks Dawg Tyler Hollick strokes a single against the Lethbridge Bulls on June 6 at Seaman Stadium. The 19-year-old Hollick was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 14th round of the Major League baseball draft on June 5.
Okotoks Dawg Tyler Hollick strokes a single against the Lethbridge Bulls on June 6 at Seaman Stadium. The 19-year-old Hollick was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 14th round of the Major League baseball draft on June 5.
Remy Greer/OWW

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An Okotoks Dawg has a Giant of a decision to make in the next few weeks.

However, even if outfielder Tyler Hollick decides to sign with the San Francisco Giants, he will leave his heart in Okotoks.

“I could pick up and leave tomorrow if an offer came in and if it is right for my future,” Hollick said. “Right now, I just feel blessed to be drafted and to come through the Dawgs organization… It's just awesome to be a Dawg.”

The 19-year-old Hollick was drafted by the Giants in the 14th round of the Major League baseball draft on June 5. It was an antsy day for Hollick.

“I was at my dad's house at around 10 a.m. with my whole family and we started watching the draft,” said Hollick a 2010 Holy Trinity Academy graduate. “Suddenly it was 11 o'clock, 12 o'clock... and nothing happened. I got a little antsy and at about 5:30 p.m. the Giants called my name.”

He said the Giants' selection caught him by surprise. He had received phone calls from representatives from the Los Angele Angels, the New York Yankees, the Oakland A's and the Cleveland Indians inquiring what his intentions were in regards to signing a professional contract.

“The Giants kind of came out of nowhere,” Hollick said. “I had filled out some information for them but they weren't one of the teams that I thought would draft me, but I'm really happy. They are a great organization.”

Hollick was drafted after a prolific season with the Chandler-Gilbert Community College Coyotes in Arizona. He batted .475 in 162 at bats and drove in 29 runs during the 2012 spring season. He was selected the U.S. Junior College Player of the Year earlier this week.

Hollick finds himself in a win-win situation. He can either fulfill a lifetime dream and play professional baseball or play for the Ohio State University Buckeyes on a 75 per cent scholarship in the fall.

“I am trying to let the thrill of the draft die down a bit,” Hollick said. “I'm not trying to make any rash decisions, but playing professional baseball has been a goal of mine since I was five years old.

“I have to think about my education — everything has to be weighed into my decision.”

Hollick has until July 15 to sign a contract with the Giants. If he doesn't sign, his name goes back into the amateur draft for 2013 and he will head off to Columbus to be a Buckeye after completing the 2012 WMBL season with the Dawgs.

No matter what he chooses, he said he owes his success to the Okotoks Dawgs. Hollick joined the Dawgs Academy in 2007, the first year the organization was in Okotoks.

He was an infielder for the Okotoks Bantam-age team, which jumped up to win the Tier II Midget provincial championship that year. Some of the other players on the team included current College Dawgs James Stewart and Brendan Reid.

“We were the original Okotoks J Dawgs,” Hollick said. “To be honest I wouldn't be anywhere without the Dawgs.”

Dawgs coach Brandon Newell could lose one of the top players in the league, but he was delighted for his outfielder. Hollick was named the Dawgs Rookie of the Year last season when he hit .407 and led the team with 21 stolen bases.

“People keep asking me: ‘are you disappointed because you might lose him?'” Newell said. “I couldn't be happier for him. He deserves everything he gets.

“This wasn't a surprise for me. I was surprised we had him last year after the season he had at Chandler-Gilbert (in spring of 2011). I thought he would be drafted last year.”

He knows about the chills going down Hollick's spine.

Newell was drafted twice, once by the Seattle Mariners after high school in 1990 and then by the New York Mets in 1993 after attending the University of Washington.

“Both days it was just one of my greatest thrills,” Newell said. “To get that phone call telling me that someone wants me to play pro baseball, it was something I dreamed of.”

The Dawgs have had more than 20 players get drafted since the organization got started in Calgary in the 1990s. Executive director John Ircandia is thrilled to have the first drafted player who got his start with the Okotoks Dawgs when the program moved in 2007.

“Coaches told me without exception that Tyler was always the hardest working kid in his group as he came up,” Ircandia said.

Ironically, Ircandia has been a Giants fan practically since the days of the two Willies, McCovey and Mays. As well, his son, Matt Ircandia, a Calgary Dawgs grad, was drafted by the Giants in 2002.

“Yeah, I have a lot of stroke with them,” John Ircandia said with a laugh. “I have (Giants GM) Brian Sabean's autograph on my wall, but that's it, but I don't know him.

“It is total coincidental.”


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