World University Games preview: Team Canada

UBC/Team Canada Coach Terry McKaig. Photo by Dan Ashman.

UBC/Team Canada Coach Terry McKaig. Photo by Dan Ashman.

Coach Terry McKaig has put together a team consisting mostly of Division I players, plus six members of his NAIA British Columbia team.

Key position players:

1B Marshall MacDonald (Dayton, Red Deer, AB) A Junior who started all 56 games for the Flyers. He hit .306, and led the Flyers with eight home runs and 42 RBI.

OF Ken Fuglerud (Saint Mary’s, Lethbridge, AB) hit .351 with three home runs and 25 RBI for the Gaels. He is a Senior.

OF Grant Kveder (Gonzaga, Lethbridge, AB) A Junior transfer from the College of Southern Idaho, where he was an Academic All-American. He hit .322 with 31 RBI.

C/1B Ryan Pilgrim (British Columbia, Pitt Meadows, BC) A Junior who hit .324 with four home runs and 31 RBI for the Thunderbirds. He has hit well in Team Canada’s pre-tournament exhibition games.

SS Sammie Starr (British Columbia, Toronto) Very good glove guy (.959 fielding), hit .268 with two home runs and 15 RBI. He is a Sophomore.

Key pitchers:

RHP Mathew Wilson (Bucknell, Toronto) A Senior who was 6-1, 3.67 ERA with 73 strikeouts for the Bison. His six wins included the biggest win in school history, a complete-game shutout against Florida State in the NCAA Regional tournament.

Thain Simon

Thain Simon. Photo by Bob Broughton

RHP Thain Simon (Santa Clara, El Dorado Hills, CA) went 9-2, 2.59 ERA with 71 strikeouts for the Broncos. He was named to Baseball America’s Freshman All-America second team. He is eligible for Team Canada because he is originally from Toronto.

RHP Kris Dabrowiecki (Northeastern, Toronto) was 2-4, 5.81 ERA with 63 strikeouts during his senior year with the Huskies, but he was a four-year starter, and had 21 wins and 236 strikeouts during his career. He recieved the Herbert Gallagher Award, awarded to Northeastern’s top male scholar-athlete each year. He will probably be used as a reliever by Team Canada.

LHP Mark Hardy (British Columbia, Campbell River, BC) A Sophomore, Hardy was 6-6, 4.67 ERA, and he led the Thunderbirds with 54 strikeouts. He pitched three seven-inning complete game shutouts during the 2008 season.

History:

Canada gave the 2006 tournament a miss. In 2004, they won one game, 6-5 (11 innings) against Mexico.

Outlook:

Canada is sending a much better team than they did in 2004. However, Team Canada has nowhere near the resources that Team USA has. (Neither does anyone else in this tournament.) Their hitting is suspect, but their pitching should keep them competitive. And if lightning strikes Mathew Wilson again, Team Canada will pull off at least one big win during the tournament.