MVP loves going to the Dawgs
Baseball: Austin Voros remains with organization as a coach
| Posted: Wednesday, Jan 30, 2013 06:00 am
The 2102 MVP for the Okotoks Dawgs was always willing to do whatever it took for the organization. That includes putting on an oversized dog suit.
Austin Voros donned the Diggity Dawg suit for students when they visited the Duvernay Field House on Jan. 17.
“Some Grade 1 kids had a tour of the place and they needed a Diggity,” Voros said with a laugh. “So I volunteered.”
Voros will be wearing a suit and tie and not a dog’s head when he receives the MVP award Feb. 2 at the Dawgs sixth annual awards banquet at the Foothills Centennial Centre.
Voros was willing to do anything for the organization when he joined the squad in 2010. During his Dawgs’ career, he played rightfield, designated hitter, first base and a cup of coffee at the hot corner. He blossomed in his final year, leading the team in hitting with a .339 batting average. He was second in RBI with 24 and he hit two dingers in the regular season.
Voros was a slam-dunk for MVP said Dawgs 2012 manager Brandon Newell.
“I didn’t think there was anyone else even close,” Newell said. “Austin understood the expectations here and what it took to get ready to play. He had a great year.”
Voros maintained his high average despite his spot in the batting average changing more than the provincial budget.
“We moved him all over the batting average just to find different sparks,” Newell said. “He hit the two-hole, he was third, he hit clean-up. He did whatever we asked.”
However, it was in the dugout where Voros might have had his biggest impact. Voros remained the happy-go-lucky guy who was willing to dance on the dugout to YMCA, but he had a more serious tone in 2012, his final year with the Dawgs.
“I pulled in the reins a little bit and I wanted to be a leader,” Voros said. “The older guys had to step up and be leaders in order to win a championship. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen.”
Newell said Voros’ role in the clubhouse was invaluable.
“That alleviates a lot of coaching off the field when guys like Austin can take care of things for you in the clubhouse.“ Newell said. “I definitely saw the maturation process with Austin this summer. He was never a bad kid, but this year he was more of a leader. He brought his presence into the clubhouse even when he wasn’t having success on the field.”
It’s easy to lead when you are practically leading the Western Major Baseball League in hitting, which Voros was doing in the first month of the season. However, a leader still has to maintain that role even if his batting average starts to go further south than Alabama.
Voros slumped towards the end of the season, but he didn’t let it affect his role in the locker room.
“Young men want to see you do the things you are talking about,” Voros said. “You can’t be a leader if you can’t prove it. I think I was able to do that even when I was slumping. It’s hard to stay positive when you are slumping, but you have to do it.”
His leadership was apparent. He was the Dawgs’ True Grit recipient in 2011. Voros was a mainstay for the Dawgs the past three seasons. He said his biggest regret is not winning a championship for the loyal fans at Seaman Stadium.
“I never expected to be here for three years but with the community being so welcoming, I think that is why I have decided to stay,” he said.
Over those three years, fans know Voros will never be accused of being shy, but he’s humbled to be the team’s MVP.
“I appreciate the award very much,” Voros said. ‘Being a good teammate, working hard and a decent player paid off. I really appreciate the Dawgs for what they have done for me.”
He added the key reason for his being MVP may have come three weeks into the season. That’s when the Dawgs’ Tyler Hollick signed a contract with the San Francisco Giants organization.
“That opened up a spot in the outfield for me — I definitely have to thank him for that,” Voros said with a laugh, adding Hollick would have been the MVP hands down had he stayed in Okotoks.
Voros isn’t quite done with baseball. In fact he is still a Dawg. He is one of several College Dawg grads who are working with the young players in the organization’s academy. He is a hitting and batting coach for all level of players at the academy.
“I love the game and when the Dawgs offered me the position, I accepted,” Voros said.
He’s not only a hitting coach, but also a pinch hitter for Diggity, something he doesn’t mind at all if it helps put a smile on a child’s face. Voros would like to complete his degree in physical education at either University of Calgary or Mount Royal University after baseball with an aim to working with special needs children in the future.
Voros, who hails from Surrey, B.C., attended Texas A&M International during his stint with the College Dawgs.
Tickets for the Dawgs banquet are available by calling the Dawgs’ office at 403-262-3294. The guest speaker is Dawgs alumni Jim Henderson, who after 10 years of toiling in the minor leagues was one of the firemen for the Milwaukee Brewers during their National League Central pennant run last summer. A tribute will be made to 2012 Canadian champion Okotoks Midget Black Dawgs.