The conclusion of PBA seasons is often joyful and glorious. Players, parents, fans, and coaches reminiscing on hard-fought wins, heroics and late-inning dramatics. Ultimately, leading to another championship. As you all know by now, this year was not one of those years. Within 24 hours three loses ended the Dawgs season. Eight months of hard work, dedication, and preparation all to be skunked. Seven years of excellence tarnished by a poor showing when it counted most.
Players and coaches alike in this program have never had to deal with losing at the end of a year. Emotions of anger, disappointment, and embarrassment are all experienced during this time. The previous year, winning felt so easy, while this season, losing has never been harder. While blame can be placed on individual performances, coaching decisions, roster makeup, a restructuring of the CCBC playoff format or just flat out exhaustion I don’t believe it would serve any purpose. At the end of the day, this program suffered a heartbreaking end to a phenomenal season.
After going 16-1 to win the conference, the team felt poised to strike again as champions, but unfortunately it didn’t go our way. To the alumni of the program, I wish to offer our apologies. This program is unique in that respect and appreciation for those that came before us is a central theme. The alumni of this program serve as an inspiration and a motivating factor for the pursuit of excellence. Part of that extra motivation for those long road trips or those ridiculous workouts is that young men, the same age as us, had done it before and came out victors. There is a sense of duty and pride surrounding those who came before us and those who will come after us. Winning is more complicated than a streak of seven championships. In this program, players expect to win, and anything less than winning is unacceptable. Your contributions to this program made us better ball players. The league as a whole has improved in recent years. The ass-kicking delivered by this program to other teams in previous seasons sparked change in the league. These teams were forced to improve. As Coach Sawyer loves to say "adapt or die."
To my fellow graduating players/ sophomores. I want to say I loved playing with every single one of you. Every minute we played together was a memory I will cherish for the rest of my life. Please do not let one poor weekend of baseball ruin what will be remembered as some of the best years of our lives. While our futures about baseball, school, and work are uncertain, know that we are forever brothers. Remember rookie party fiascos, back of the bus poker games and other things that I cannot mention in a family friendly blog. Baseball has always been so much more than a game. For myself, the friendships forged are lifelong whether we win or lose. Take the never say die attitude from this program and add it to your daily lives. Finally, keep your heads up. While we were the group ultimately responsible for the end of the streak we also contributed to this program positively in so many ways. Fundraising, community service hours and pursuing education are all extraordinary accomplishments for which we should all be proud. Instead of seeing ourselves as a group of players that wrecked the streak, carry yourselves as a group of men that won a championship on one of the most successful teams in Prairie Baseball Academy history.
To the seventeen freshmen on the varsity team. PBA is your program now. Leadership is a funny thing and a challenge that is much more difficult than anyone expects. Work hard, be honest with yourself and with your teammates, and play the game the right way. Trust your gut and speak when necessary while always leading by example. Be the captain you wanted to have. This upcoming fall and 2019 spring season are going to be more challenging than the last. As previously mentioned, losing is not in this programs vocabulary. Do whatever it takes to bring the trophy back to its home in Lethbridge. Pick up your former teammates by winning and starting a new streak. It is up to you now. I have the utmost of confidence in every single one of you.
The Okanagan College Coyotes were this year’s CCBC champions, and I wish to congratulate them. OC has consistently played remarkable baseball and has been a powerhouse in the conference for the past few years. I have tremendous respect for some of the players on that squad, and in our defeat, I am happy to see another great team win the title. Enjoy it while it lasts Okanagan, because we’re gonna take it back next year!
The annual Keith Jorgensen golf tournament was held this past week in the unrelenting sun. Thank you to Paradise Canyon for being such great hosts and thank you to all alumni who came and continued to support our program. Each year at the golf tournament the coaches present the prestigious War Dawg award. The War Dawg is given to the player that best exemplifies the morals and values of the Prairie Baseball Academy. Players that value hard work, dedication, perseverance and a team-oriented mindset. The recipient of the 2018 War Dawg award was Kai Poffenroth. Kai is a teammate that was all this and more. Kai was the first man to get the building clean, grab a rake or to help in a volunteer situation. All while getting two separate agriculture diplomas at Lethbridge College. Without a doubt, Kai was the best man on our team, and his teammates were happy to be represented by someone they respect as much as they do Kai.
With this being my last blog of the season I want to thank all of you for reading. The support from everyone who read served as an inspiration for each blog. Writing about each week's events and games was something I came to love. For myself, it allowed me to treasure every last minute of what might be my final year of baseball. Moreover, for all of the parents, I hope it allowed you to get a better insight into the lives of your children. Your support is so essential to our success so thank you for everything you do. Thank you all for reading.
I would just like to say thank you to Chris Ewanik for taking on this project. I am proud of the person Chris has evolved into. Chris came to us as a boy three years ago, he is leaving this program as a man. A great young man who will do great things in whatever path he chooses. Thank you again for writing a blog for the program this season. Hoepfully we can keep this tradition going, and another PBA player will take on this task in 2019.
Thank you again Chris Ewanik,
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