PBA Season Long Blog Entry # 1

Well hello to all the fans of the Prairie Baseball Academy and with the start of another season and another series of blogs/ weekly write ups. With former dawg and blog writer Jesse McGowan graduating from the program the coaches did a comprehensive search for the next great writers. This search produced two very promising prospects. Myself, Chris Ewanik, and my teammate and friend Eric Davies. We will be keeping you updated with all things baseball throughout this year. My name is Chris but you guys can call me chewy. I am a University of Lethbridge student Majoring in Applied Statistics and doing a concentration in Economics. My friend Eric, who you can call E.D is also attending the University perusing a degree in political science and minoring in music. We were teammates on the JV team last year and will now be your hosts for this season of Dawgs baseball.

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Another year marks the beginning of another season and the fall produced 53 young men would who would show up to Lloyd Nolan Ball Park. After a fall World Series, circuits and the dreaded 30 minutes of hell the spring would come and along with it a roster of 23 ball players with the same goal in mind. Another conference championship, the 7th in a row, and as of February 16th, we were on the road to Las Vegas to begin our season. After a grueling 18-hour bus ride, complete with a bus break down in St. George, we would begin our season against Northeastern CC. The game was in a tie until the top of the 4th where PBA would erupt for 5 runs knocking the starter out of the game. The Bottom of the lineup for PBA would start the offensive explosion with Dalton Wells reaching on a hit by pitch and David Leblanc and E.D with back to back singles. Meanwhile Tanner Dalton was cruising on the mounds throwing 5 innings of shutout baseball. Northeastern however would crawl their way back into the game scoring in 3 consecutive innings including a 3 spot in the bottom of the 8th tying the game. “Stone Cold” Liam Sabiston would enter the game for the Dawgs in the 8th getting a swinging strike out to end the threat but it was time for bats to get to work for PBA, not having scored since the 5th. Sophomore Brett Semeniuk would hit a one out double before scoring on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Austin Schibler pushing the score to 7-6 in favour of PBA. Sabiston would shut the door in the bottom of the 9th picking up his first college win and save. Notables hitting performances of the game included Brett Semeniuk and David Leblanc both picking up two hits and E.D with 2 RBIs. On the mound Tanner Dalton (5 IP 5 H 0R 2 BB and 6 Ks) and Liam Sabiston (1.1 IP 1 H 0R 1 BB 2 Ks with the Win and Save) threw excellent as previously discussed. Overall a great win for the program after two very difficult travel days.


Saturday would bring with it a unrelenting rain proving it belief that “it doesn’t rain in the desert” was not true in fact. The team would go to the old strip to take in the culture of Las Vegas complete with zip lining and pictures with the lovely ladies of Vegas. Sunday would feature a double header against the College of Southern Idaho (CSI) with Sophomore starter Rhett Fesser getting the nod for the dawgs. Fesser had trouble finding his stuff early but competed very well giving the Dawgs a quality start giving our offence a chance to win. The offence didn’t disappoint with 4 players posting multi-hit games including another brilliant day with the sticks by Brett Semeniuk picking up 3 hits. Dylan Flasch, Brett Brittany and Austin Schibler also collected two hits apiece. Schibler would also demolish a ball over the left field wall for PBA’s first homerun of the season. CSI would make it close tying the game in the bottom of 6th (double headers were 7 inning games) but in the top of the 7th Schibler would be clutch again for the dawgs with an RBI single to give PBA a 6-5 lead allowing Sabiston to shut the door for the dawgs picking up his second consecutive win and save. The second game of the double header saw the big unit Greg Hollman starting on the mound. The first 5 innings of the game saw the Dawgs playing exceptionally well being up 6-1 including a no doubt towering homerun by the DH Carter “Element” Witbeck. Late inning problems continued to plaque the team as CSI would score 1 in the bottom of the 6th and 4 in the bottom of the seventh tying the game as Chris Messer would enter the game on the mound. Messer was fantastic shutting down CSI giving the dawgs bats time to hit their stride in extra innings. Schibler would, yet again, come up big for the program plating a single that would score Brett Brittany for the go ahead and game winning run in the 9th. A gritty pitching performance by Messer (2.1 IP 1 H 0 R 2 BB 5 Ks and the Win) was quintessential to the Dawgs first winning streak of the year. Dalton Wells and Dylan Flasch both contributed multi-hit to the winning effort which would give PBA 3 consecutive wins and their first winning streak of the year.


After Sunday’s sweep of CSI, the Dawgs, along with their win streak, had two days off to explore Vegas. On our first day off, Monday, we practiced at CSN’s field.  With the infield out of capacity brought on by incremental weather, the obvious choice was to go to battle in a friendly match of touch football. Defensive standouts for Coach Sawyer’s losing squad team were Tyson Abbott and Liam Sabiston, both being walls in the back end, while the winning team of Coach Macdonald, were helped to victory by Nick Cardinal’s two touchdown catches. With a day of activity behind them, Tuesday was the day to do tourist. The Dawgs went to the outlet mall to supplement the Vegas economy by buying cheap sunglasses, $5 coffees, rose coloured shirts and the like. After the spending spree the Dawgs tackled the strip. Inspired by the nicest weather we saw on the trip the boys walked from Treasure Island to the Luxor and back again logging thousands upon thousands of steps on their Fitbit. Again a few of the Dawgs couldn’t pass over a great bargain and bought some well haggled mixtapes; Gage Buckaroo was extremely excited to add to his already massive mixtape collection. At the end of the Strip adventure the boys settled down for a meal at the eloquent Dick’s Last Resort. Returning to the hotel the boys were pooped and hibernated until Wednesday morning.

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A quick circuit ran by Coach Mac helped wake us up but we didn’t seem to translate well into our game. Sloppy defense and uninspired offence, spare a Dylan Borman opposite field bomb and a good showing at the dish for Austin Schibler, produced our first loss of the trip. Thursday would see a regrouping and better effort as a 4 run 8th inning inspired by 2 shutdown innings thrown by Jacob Melville in the 6 and 7th innings brought the game to a tie in the 9th. Eventually losing, the game proved we could play with anybody given the right effort and mindset. Friday brought on our next opponent, Utah State University Eastern. Starting out the gate with a 3 spot showed our offence alive and well but things got nasty in the 2nd inning for our defence. Veteran Tanner Dalton recuperated after the estranged inning and went on to throw 5 dominant innings then handing it over to Liam Sabiston who shut the door for his own dominant 4 innings.  Good pitching and timely hitting, including a go ahead pinch hit double by Chewy, helped the Dawgs overcome a nasty inning and show some inspired play for a bounce back victory. A double-header against Utah on Saturday marked our last games of the trip. Played on a diamond in suburbia Las Vegas, the boys came out a little flat as we gave away the game through mental mistakes and lack of effort in some aspects. Carter Witbeck had a good showing as he hit his second homerun of the year, while David Leblanc and Dylan Borman also had two hits on the day. The pitching was solid but Utah squeaked hits through the infield to rack up 7 runs.  Justin Logan threw a solid 3 innings of relief in the loss. The second, and final game of trip yielded better results.  Both Rhett Feser, the starter, and Scotty-G, shoved and shut down the Utah hitters. The big boys in the lineup showed up in full force as Brett Brittany got back in his groove and racked two doubles. Borman, Flasch, and Semeniuk also added to the effort with their own multi-hit game. The game overall wasn’t the prettiest, it showed our fatigue from 10 days in Vegas, but the boys grinded out the win. This meant the bus ride home would be a positive one and Ian (our top notch bus driver) got us to a random Motel 6 safely and soundly. The next morning, bright and early, we were on our way back to Canada.

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3,770 km later and the boys were home. Overall the trip went well as went 5-3. We learned some valuable lessons about competing as well we worked out some kinks. We look forward to competing this weekend as we head down to Wala-Walla Washington for another week full of baseball.

-Chewy & E.D



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