2009 All-Canadian College Team: South Dakota State’s Jesse Sawyer is head of the class

By Bob Elliott, Canadian Baseball Network

JesseSawyerSDSU There was nothing provisional about the swing of third baseman Jesse Sawyer.

Playing his first year of college ball south of the border,  Sawyer hit .346 with 19 homers and 58 RBIs in 56 games for the South Dakota State Jackrabbits.

A product of the Prairie Baseball Academy and coach Blair Kubicek, Sawyer had one stretch where he homered in 11 of 13 games for SDSU, in its second season as a provisional NCAA Division I school.

When Atlanta Braves starter Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine filmed the NIKE commercial the key line was delivered by Maddux who said “chicks dig the long ball.”

And so do voters.

Sawyer’s 19 homers led the 711 Canadians playing south of the border in 2009 and he also led all vote getters in balloting for the 10th annual All-Canadian College Team. Sawyer had 33 first-place votes and was named on 43 of 49 ballots to win our unofficial player of the year award.

Results from our usual voting panel of 49 were scored on a 5-3-1 points basis, Our numbers were totaled by a bonded accounting firm of Grant Thornton.

Our experts came cross section from both sides of the border: coaches (17), scouts (nine), executives (six), writers (five), players (two), bloggers (two), SIDs (two), an umpire (one) and our crack staff (five).

How good was Sawyer in the spring of 2009? Well, he …

  • Won Pro-Line Athletic National Player of the Week award co-hitter honors.
  • Won College Baseball Insider’s Central Region Player of the Week.
  • Was named a member of the National All-Star Lineup by the College Baseball Foundation.
  • Won Summit League Player of the Week honours.
    In that week to remember he led SDSU to seven wins, including a four-game sweep of conference rival Western Illinois. Sawyer homered in six of eight games and hit safely in all eight. For the week, he had a .500 average, scored 19 runs, had 15 RBIs, 14 hits, nine home runs and two doubles. He also walked seven times, had a 1.536 slugging percentage and .641 on-base percentage.

And oh yeah, he …

  • Won Summit League Player of the Week in March batting .350 (7-for-20) with two home runs, six RBIs and four runs scored, with a .435 on-base percentage and .650 slugging percentage
  • Was named a first-team all-Summit League selection at third base.
  • Won the Greg Geary Big Stick award.

Sawyer finished second with 18 doubles, led with 148 total bases and 30 walks as one of three players to play and start all 56 games. He had 22 multi-hit games, 18 multi-run and multi-RBI games, including a 4-for-4 effort with a home run, six RBIs against Indian-Purdue Fort Wayne.

First-year head coach Ritchie Price, an assistant with the Jackrabbits last year, spent hours in the car recruiting Sawyer and Joel Blake (Langley, BC), who both played for PBA in Lethbridge, Alta. Price said Sawyer also received calls from Oregon State and Washington State, but the Jackrabbits wound up won a recruiting battle against a couple of Missouri Valley Conference teams who were interested.

Jesse Sawyer is a very good player with really good bat speed and tremendous power,” Price said. “When he flies out, it seems like the ball is in the air forever. He has made a lot of progress defensively this year and I would say he is now a little bit above-average defensively. He is still really raw but has the talent to play pro before he is done.”

Sawyer’s 19 homers were on more than Brent Lavallee (North Delta, BC) and two more than Matt Skirving (London, Ont.), Kevin Mailloux (Tecumseh, Ont.) and Josh Garton (Guelph, Ont.).

Next were Anthony Cros (Kelowna, BC) of Northwestern Oklahoma and Jon Prevost (Montreal, Que.) of Louisiana-Monroe with 15 apiece.

Our first, second and third teams features 17 from Ontario, 12 players from British Columbia, five from Quebec, three from Alberta, two from Nova Scotia and one from New Brunswick.
Including the first three teams and the honourable mentions Ontario leads the way with 53 players. British Columbia is next with 31, followed by Alberta (11), Quebec (nine), Manitoba (four), Nova Scotia (four), Saskatchewan (three) and New Brunswick (one).

Eight of 10 provinces were represented, up two from a year ago.
Each province showed an increase compared to 2008, while Saskatchewan remained the same.

And now, as Jackie Gleason used to say, on with the show …

First Team

Left-Handed starter:

James Paxton (Ladner, BC) of the Kentucky Wildcats

James PaxtonA supplemental first round pick (37th) of the Toronto Blue Jays in June, Paxton was one of two players in the supplemental first round to not sign. The A 6-foot-4, 215-pounder, Paxton was the highest drafted collegian to return to school from the 2009 draft. He finished as UK’s Friday night starter, ranking third in the NCAA in strikeouts per nine innings (13.2), fanning 115 in 78.1 innings. In 13 starts last year, Paxton was 5-3 record with a 5.86 ERA. Paxton walked 20 and allowed opponents to hit for a .266 average. With 115 strikeouts, Paxton ranks fifth-best in the 105-year history of the Kentucky program, becoming the 10th player in program history to surpass the 100 strikeout mark in a season. Paxton’s ERA was inflated courtesy of three outings that saw the lefty allow five or more runs. Without those three outings, Paxton was 5-0 record and a 3.95 ERA in 10 starts, hurling 66 innings with 101 strikeouts and a .218 opponent batting average. Seven times in 2009, Paxton struck out 10 or more hitters in a game. Paxton pitched for coaches Ari Mellios and Mike Kelly with the North Delta Blue Jays.

Paxton was a third-team All-Canadian in 2008.

Right-hander: Matt McGovern (Ottawa, Ont.) of the North Carolina-Pembroke Braves.

McGovern has pitched three years of college and still has not lost, going 9-0 for the Braves after pitching two seasons at Monroe. Amongst his awards, McGovern was selected a second-team all-American, picked up North Carolina Collegiate Sports Information Association (NCCSIA) All-State College Division first team honours and earned honorable mention all-American by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA). McGovern was 7-0 mark against conference opponents and ranked third in the Peach Belt Conference with his 2.63 ERA in 75 1/3 innings pitched. He tossed two complete games, one of which was a shutout, while holding opponents to a .260 batting average and striking out 59. McGovern was 4-0 against nationally-ranked opponents and pitched seven or more innings in seven of his 12 appearances.
McGovern, who pitched for coach Don Campbell and the Ottawa-Nepean Canadians, was an All-Canadian Second Team in 2008.

Reliever (tie): Luis Castillo (Burlington, Ont.) of the Bellevue Bruins and Shawn Hetherington (Tsawassen, BC) of the British Columbia Thunderbirds.

Castillo did a little of this and a little of that — 19 games making nine starts — and got a lot of outs. He was 8-2 with a 3.44 ERA and two saves. He walked 29 and struck out 89 in 68 innings. He ranked 10th in the nation among NAIA pitchers in batters struck out per nine innings (11.78), was 14th in hits allowed per nine innings (6.49), 16th in runs allowed per game (1.526), 18th in opponents batting average (.205), 22nd strikeouts (89) and 24th in earned runs allowed (1.368). Castillo pitched Bellevie to a 10-0 win over Oklahoma Wesleyan University with eight strikeouts to win Midlands conference player of the week honours.

Castillo, who pitched at the Canadian junior championship for Guelph Silvercreeks coach Scott Van de Valk in 2006, was a third team all-Canadian in 2008 as a ShawnHetheringtonJefferson Cannoneer.

Hetherington had 25 relief appearances for the coach Terry McKaig‘s Thunderbirds and had the most saves of any Canuck pitcher with 10 — two more than Nathan  Lewis (Burlington, Ont.) with Cisco. In 37 2/3 innings, Hetherington walked 12 and struck out 24, allowing 34 hits. He was 1-3 with a 2.87 ERA. A transfer from the University of Calgary, which competes in the CCBC with Thompson Rivers and Kwantlen, he was the ace of the Dinos’ pitching staff for two years. He also pitched for the White Rock Tritons and the Burnaby Bulldogs in 2008-09. He held opponents to a .239 average. He earned NAIA Region I all-conference first team honors.

Catcher: Marc-Olivier Mimeault-Jodoin (Candiac, Que.) of the Georgia State Panthers.

Mimeault-Jodoin hit .398 in 56 games with 14 homers and 58 RBIs. He led the team in average, slugging percentage, on base percentage, home runs, hits and total bases. His .398 average was the fifth highest single season mark in school history and the fourth best mark in the Colonial Conference, while his 78 hits were the second most in a single season in school history and ranked tied for eighth in the CAA. His 14 home runs tied for the seventh in school history and was tied for seventh in the CAA. His .658 slugging percentage, was seventh on the single season all-time list, while his 58 RBIs are also the seventh best. He had five three-hit games this season and led the team in multi-hit games. He finished his two-year career with a .364 average, highest career mark in school history. He had 18 home runs and had 142 hits. During his time at State, he scored 86 runs, while driving in 109. Mimeault-Jodoin was named to the NCAA Atlanta Regional All-Tournament team after batting .500 in the Panthers first NCAA appearance. He also earned All-CAA Second Team honors and was named to the CAA All-Tournament Team. He was also named to the Coleman Company Johnny Bench Watch List for the second consecutive year.

Jodoin-Mimeault was a third team All-Canadian in 2008 and earned second team all-Canadian honours in 2007 with the Northeastern Oklahoma A&M Golden Norse.

First base: Brent Lavallee (North Delta, BC) of the LSU-Shreveport Pilots.

Lavallee hit .335 with 18 homers and 78 RBIs. He was second amongst the 710 Canadians in home runs, one behind Sawyer and two ahead of Skirving, Mailloux and Garton, who each had 16. Cros and Prevost had 15 apiece. Lavallee slugged .690 on the season. He also led all Canucks in RBIs with 78, followed by Will Richards (Toronto, Ont.) 65, Skirving with 64 and Cros with 63. Lavallee earned NAIA honourable mention all-American and second team honours as selected to the Louisiana Sports Writers Association All-Louisiana team. Lavallee opened with an afternoon to remember as the No. 15-ranked Pilots beat the No. 9 Mobile Rams 14-8 and 22-1. Lavallee was 3-for-5 with a pair of homers and seven RBIs in the opener and three home runs in the nitecap for a 6-for-10 day with five homers and 12 RBIs.

Lavallee, who played for Ari Melios and the North Delta Blue Jays, received All-Canadian honourable mentions honours in 2007.

Second base: Kevin Mailloux (Windsor, Ont.) of the Canisius Golden Griffins.

Mailloux hit .381 in 56 games with 16 homers and 56 RBIs. Mailloux was tied for third amongst Canucks with Matt Skirving (London, Ont.) and Josh Garton (Guelph, Ont.) who all hit 16 homers apiece. Only Sawyer’s19 homers and Lavallee with 18 had more. Mailloux was named to the American Baseball Coaches Association Northeast Region First Team. Mailloux earned First-Team honors for the second consecutive season. He broke his own program record with 86 hits as the second baseman led the team in hitting and scored 59 runs. During his two years as a Golden Griffin, Mailloux reached base in 105 of 109 games and went consecutive games without a hit one time in two years. In just two years as a Golden Griffin, for coach Mike McRae (Niagara Falls, Ont.) Mailloux had one of the most productive careers in program history. Mailloux ranks in the top 10 of nine offensive categories in the Canisius career record books. Mailloux was taken in the 45th round by the Seattle Mariners.

Mailloux earned First Team All-Canadian honours in 2008, as well as 2006 and Second Team honours in 2005, the latter two years with the Kellog Bruins.

Third base; Jesse Sawyer (Calgary, Alta.) of the South Dakota State Jackrabbits.

Sawyer hit .346 in 56-56 for South Dakota and led all Canucks with 19 homers. He added 58 RBIs, while slugging .701. He set SDSU single-season records during his first season in a Jackrabbit uniform with 19 home runs and 148 total bases. Sawyer twice won the Summit Conference player of the week honors. He homered in six of the Jackrabbits’ eight games one week, including three two-home-run games, leading SDSU to a 7-1 record, Sawyer hit .500 (14-for-28) with nine home runs and 15 RBIs, tallying a 1.536 slugging percentage. He also walked seven times for a .641 on-base percentage and scored 19 runs. Sawyer put together a streak of five consecutive games with a home run — one shy of the school record. He homered in all four games of home-and-home doubleheaders against North Dakota and extended his streak in the opening game of a four-game series at Western Illinois and closed the WIU series with two home runs on April 26. The first time he won, Sawyer led the Jackrabbits to a 3-2 record, including a sweep of a two-game series at Missouri State. His three-run home run with two outs in the top of the ninth of the Missouri State series finale tied the game at 6-6, a game SDSU eventually won 7-6 in 12 innings. Sawyer also hit a two-run home run that stood up as the difference in the Jackrabbits’ 4-2 victory at Creighton. For the week, Sawyer batted .350 (7-for-20) with two home runs, six RBIs and four runs scored. He compiled a .435 on-base percentage and .650 slugging percentage. He was also recognized by College Baseball Insider as its Central Region Player of the Week, was named a member of the National All-Star Lineup by the College Baseball Foundation and was honored by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association as its National Co-Hitter of the Week and was named Greg Geary Big Stick award winner.

Shortstop: David Narodowski (Vancouver, BC) of the Kansas Jayhawks.

Narodowski hit .354 in his first year in the Crimson and Blue, which included eight home runs and 43 RBIs. He had 19 doubles and was named Big 12’s Newcomer of the Year after hitting .353 in Big 12 games and was second on the team in multiple-hit games with 24. He was the team’s starting shortstop from day one and had a team-high 20 errors in the field, but just three in the final 17 games of the season. He showed power near the end of the season, belting five home runs in KU’s seven post-season contests. He transferred to KU prior from Vernon, where he played his first two seasons. Narodowski in the 15th round by the Aironza Diamondbacks, KU’s highest pick since 2006.

Narodowski, who played for Ari Melios and Mike Kelly with the North Delta Blue Jays, was a second team All-Canadian in 2008.

Outfielders:

AnthonyCros Anthony Cros (Kelowna, BC) of the Northwestern Oklahoma State Rangers, Josh Garton (Guelph, Ont.) of the Volunteer State Pioneers and Jon Prevost (Montreal, Que.) of the University of Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks.

Cros hit .441 with 22 doubles, a triple, 15 homers and knocked in 63 runs in 53 games. He had a .657 slugging percentage. In all, he had 75 hits fourth among Canucks. Cros was tied for sixth in homers with Prevost behind Sawyer, who had 19, Lavallee 18, plus Skirving, Mailloux and Garton had 16 apiece. Cros, who played at Thompson Rivers Wolfpack, hit .425 in with 29 RBIs and stole 24 of 27 bases as he won the MVP. He was born Christmas Day at Montpellier, France in 1985, moved to Canada at age 18. His mother is from Vernon, BC and part of the reason why he moved to Kamloops. He discovered ball on his summer hollidays in the Okanagan valley, but began playing in Montpellier, when the head coach was Greg Hamilton. Cros spent the previous two summers with the Okotoks Dawgs and was named MVP in 2009. His goal is to play for the Quebec City Capitales.

Garton hit .386 with 16 homers and 39 RBIs. His most important homer was a grand slam in a 9-3 win over Walters State to win eliminate the favored Governors from the TCCAA/NJCAA Region VII tournament. He was selected in the 12th round by the Cincinnati Reds and scout Bill Byckowski (Georgetown, Ont.) and spent the summer at class-A Billings. Garton was tied for third amongst Canucks with 16 homers tied with Skirving and Mailloux. They were behind Sawyer, who had 19 and Lavallee who hit 18.

Garton, played for Danny Thompson’s Intercounty Terriers and Scott Van de Valk’s Guelph Silvercreeks, received All-Canadian Honourable Mention in 2008.

Prevost batted .332 with 15 homers and a career-high 52 RBIs in 59 games. He was 20-for-26 stealing bases. Prevost was a first team All-Sun Belt selection and earned All-Louisiana honors by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association honourable mention. Prevost lead the Warhawks in home runs and stolen bases. His home run total along with his 70 runs scored ranked fourth best in a single-season in ULM history. He was second with a .594 slugging percentage and a .447 on-base percentage. Prevost was a 39th round selection by the Florida Marlins in 2005 and played for Greg Hamilton and the Canadian National Junior Team. He was tied for sixth in home runs with Cros among Canucks. They were behind Sawyer (19), Lavallee (18), while Skirving, Mailloux and Garton (Guelph, Ont.) had 16 each.

Prevost earned All-Canadian honorable mention as a DH in 2008 and as an outfielder in 2006 when he played for the Seminole State Trojans.

DH: Doug Toro (Longueuil, Que.) of the Lynn Fighting Knights.

Toro hit .415 with seven homers and 51 RBIs in 62 games for Lynn. He was voted to All-Sunshine State Conference Baseball Team. Lynn bear Emporia State 2-1 to win the NCAA Division II National championship In Cary, N.C. Toro doubled and scored in a 7-5 over the Belmont Abbey Crusaders to get to the final; knocked in a run with a fly ball in a 6-5 win over the Dowling Golden Lions and Lynn beat West Chester 7-3 in the opener. Toro earned Third Team Daktronics All-American honours. Toro set a school record with 71 runs scored and a .545 on-base percentage. In addition he led LU with a .418 average and posted career-highs for hits (87), home runs (7) and runs batted in (50). A First Team All-SSC selection, he stole 30 stolen bases in 35 attempts. Toro was also selected to the NCAA South Region All-Tournament team.

Toro was a Third Team All-Canadian at third base in 2008 and earned All-Canadian Honourble Mention in 2006.

Second Team

Left-hander: Mark Hardy (Campbell River, BC) of the British Columbia Thunderbirds.

MarkHardy Hardy was 10-1 with a 2.97 ERA, despite being out since April with an arm injury. Making 12 starts, Hardy walked 23 and struck out 61 in 69 2/3 innings. He also pitched for Canada at the World Student games in the Czech Republic and did not allow an earned run. Hardy pitched Terry McKaig’s Thunderbirds to wins over Concordia-Oregon and Corban (twice apiece), plus wins against Claremont, Patten, Lewis-Clark State, Idaho, Bethany and Idaho, before losing his final start to Lewis-Clark. He earned NAIA Region I all-conference first team honors.

Hardy held opposing hitters to a .233 average.

Hardy, who pitched for the Parksville Royals and coach Dave Wallace, earned All-Canadian honorable mention honours in 2008.

Right-hander: Keith Head (Whitby, Ont.) of the Sauk Valley Seahawks.

Head went 6-2 with a 2.01 ERA as he walked 19 and struck out 59 in 58 innings. He held opponents to a .175 average. Head pitched complete-game, shut outs against the Miami-Hamilton, striking out 10, Carl Sandburg, fanning five, Highland-Illinois, whiffing four, and Oakton, striking out five. Head also registered a win over Waubonsee and Illinois Valley. Head had the second lowest ERA at amongst right-hander starters on the ballot. Only Matthew Whidden (Hamilton, Ont.) at Niagara County a lower ERA at 1.06. Head transferred to Northwestern State. Head pitched for Danny Bleiwas (Thornhill, Ont.) and the Ontario Blue Jays.

Reliever: Dan Zehr (Guelph, Ont.) of the Northeastern Huskies.

Zehr racked up seven games for the Huskies, working in 25 games with a 2-3 record and a 3.30 ERA. He walked only nine and struck out 45 in 46 1/3 innings. Zehr finished his career at NU as the all-time saves king with 11 to his name and led the Huskies in innings pitched without a start. In three innings of relief he allowed only three hits and no runs on against George Mason, he struck out four in 2 1/3 innings against Dallas Baptist, pitched three innings against Delaware striking out three batters and allowing only two hits, pitched a scoreless eighth against Fairfield, struck out five in four innings facing Miami (Ohio) and pitched five scoreless for the win as the Huskies beat Northwestern. He was named to the ESPN the Magazine All-Academic District I team. Zehr pitched for Greg Hamilton’s Canadian Junior National Team in 2004 and Danny Thompson’s Team Ontario from 2002-04.

Catcher: Matt Skirving (London, Ont.) of the Eastern Michigan Eagles.

Batted .348 in 54 starts with 16 homers (fifth in Mid-American Conference). Skirving led the team with 64 RBIs (third in MAC) and a .647 slugging percentage. He tallied six RBIs at Western Michigan and recorded 18 games with multiple RBI and hit a walk-off homer against Northern Illinois. He was 4-for-6 with four runs scored and five RBIs in EMU’s MAC Tournament win over Ball State. He was MAC West Player of the Week in May and earned first-team All-MAC accolades. Skirving played for Mike Lumley’s London Badgers. He was tied for third with Mailloux and Garton in homers amongst Canucks, three behind Sawyer, two back of Lavallee. He was third among Canucks with 64 RBIs, behind Lavallee 78 and Richards who had 65 and ahead of Cros’ 63.

First base: Kevin Atkinson (Surrey, BC) of the New Mexico Lobos.  

KevinAtkinson Atkinson batted .400 with 15 doubles, six triples, four homers and 61 RBIs for the Lobos. Atkinson earned first-team all-Mountain West Conference honours. He was both fourth on the team and in the conference. Moved from first to third for the final 13 games of the season due to an injury. Atkinson ranked 24th nationally in triples and 36th in hits while also ranking in the top 100 nationally in triples per game at 53rd and average at 64th. He was 113th in RBIs ranking in the league’s top 10 in seven additional offensive categories (92 hits-second, 61 RBIs, third, 59 runs scored, fifth, six triples, fifth, 131 total bases, eighth, 230 at-bats, 10th, 13 sacrifice bunts, second). He matched a career-high with four hits in a game on four different occasions and recorded 30 games with multiple hits. He drove in four runs on two separate occasions: against Binghamton and BYU. He was 7-for-10 in a two-game series against No. 3 Texas A&M with four runs scored and three RBIs and his average did not fall below .379 all season. He had two home runs going 3-for-4 outing over Northwestern with three RBIs. He had three hits in back-to-back games against BYU with five runs scored. He was named the MWC Player of the Week.

Atkinson, who played for the White Rock Tritons and coaches Don Archer and Josh Ridgway, was a Second Team All-Canadian in 2008, a First Team All-Canadian in 2007, leading all vote getters and in 2006, when he was with the New Mexico Thunderbirds. He’s a rare Canuck to be all-Canadian all four years of schooling.

Second base: Chris Bisson (Orleans, Ont.) of the Kentucky Wildcats.

Bisson led UK in average (.360), games played (53), runs (49), hits (80), triples (3), RBI (52), walks (20), while stealing 13-of-15 bases. The 5-foot-11, 185-pounder, hit .365 (46-for-126) in SEC play, ranking second in the league with 46 hits. Bisson drove in 27 RBIs and had a league-leading three triples. Bisson, who totaled a team-high 15-game hitting streak earlier in the year, has led the club with 25 multi-hit games and 13 multi-RBI games. Defensively, Bisson fielded .953 with 133 assists, turning a team-best 24 double plays. Bisson’s offensive production came a year after hitting .157 (8-for-51) in 27 games as a true freshman, seeing 13 starts primarily in place of injured starting third baseman Chris McClendon in 2008. Bisson, who played for coach Don Campbell’s Ottawa-Nepean Canadians, was selected to the All-Southeastern Conference coaches’ Second Team. Bisson led the Cape Cod League in stolen bases, swiping 36-of-45 bases while leading his Cotuit Kettlers to the CCL Championship series. He finished the summer with a .269 average (34-for-136), leading the Kettlers in hits (36) and walks (23), totaling five doubles, 15 RBIs and 19 runs scored.

Third base; James Lavinskas
(Montreal, Que.) Seminole State Trojans.

Lavinskas batted .386 with 10 homers and 37 RBIs, while slugging .676. He helped the Trojans to the JUCO World Series in Grand Junction, Col. Seminole went out two straight — losing 11-8 to the Cowley County Tigers and 16-6 to the Middle Georgia Warriors. It was hardly Lavinskas’ fault as hitting clean-up he was 3-for-5 in the opener and 3-for-3 with a triple, a double and two runs scored in the second loss. Lavinskas attended Kent School, a prep school in Connecticut, played for the Montreal Elites of the Quebec Elite Baseball league and went to both the bantam and national championships with Team Quebec. He transferred to the Marshall Thundering Herd.

Shortstop: Colin McKeen (Orangeville, Ont.) of the Parkland Cobras.

McKeen hit .383 with 10 homers and 52 RBIs in 49 games. He helped Parkland won its second NJCAA Division II World Series title defeating Scottsdale 11-3 in Enid, Okla. in the final of the 10-team tourney. The Cobras scored three times each in the second and third innings to build a 6-1 lead as McKeen had three hits in the championship, including a homer and three RBIs. Parkland opened with a 9-1 win over Kankakee, as McKeen singled and knocked in a run; then he singled twice knocking in a pair of runs in a 14-9 win against Allegany, thumped Scottsdale 10-1 as McKeen doubled; edged Kankaee 7-6 in the semi-final as McKeen singled and drove in a run. McKeen, a 2009 NJCAA Academic All-American, was with the Grayson County Vikings when they won the Alpine Bank Junior College World Series in Grand Junction in 2008. McKeen has transferred to West Alabama.

Outfielders: Sean Bignall (Brampton, Ont.) of the Northern Oklahoma-Enid Jets, Jesse Wight (Calgary, Alta.) of the University of Nevada-Las Vegas Hustlin’ Rebels and Damon Loewen (Abbosford, BC) of the Clarendon Bulldogs.

A freshman, Bignall set a school mark, hitting .441. Not only did he break the mark, he smash it — breaking Mike Williams .421 mark from 2008. Bignall hit seven homers and knocked in 50 runs. Coach Raydon Leaton saw Bignall at the Sunbelt Games in Norman, Oak. Bignall is one of the fastest players in NOC Enid history. He has been clocked in 6.4 seconds in the 60-yard dash. He stole nine bases, hit 15 doubles and six triples. Despite the speed, Bignall bats in the middle of the order for the Jets. He also set a school record with a .564 on-base mark. Bignall was second in school history with 51 runs scored and hit triples mark was one off the record. Bignall played for coach Murray Marshall and Team Ontario.

Wight, who earned pre-season Mountain West Conference honours, hit .345 with 10 homers and 37 RBIs. Wight went 3-for-5 with five RBIs, including a pair of two-run homers as the Rebels beat the Air Force Falcons 10-5. Wight hit a two-run homer in the fourth inning and added a two-run homer to left field that gave him a team-leading five homers on the season. Wight was named to the spring Academic All-MWC team with a 3.24 GPA in university studies. To be eligible for selection to the Academic All-MWC team, student-athletes must have completed at least one academic term at the school while maintaining a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better, and be a starter or significant contributor on their team.

Loewen hit .409 with 14 homers and 55 RBIs for Clarendon. He earned WJCAC all-conference recognition and was selected to play in the 2009 Texas/New Mexico All-Star Game in Waco. Loewen ranked third in home runs per Game (.304), fourth in slugging percentage (.906), fifth in homers (14), ninth in total bases per game (2.5), 11th in RBIs per game (1.196), 13th in runs scored per game (1.174) 15th in total RBIs (55), 19th in runs scored (54) and 20th in total triples (4). Loewen committed to the Lamar Cardinals. “Damon can do it all,” said Lamar coach Jim Gilligan. “He can hit; he can run, and he can hit with power. He’s a guy who has all of the tools. There’s a lot of untapped talent up there in Canada. We’ve had a lot of good luck with Canadian-born players in recent years, so I’m glad we’re able to keep our pipeline going up there with the signing of Damon.” C Jeff Vickers (Nanaimo, BC) and INF Jeremiah Sammy (Markham, Ont.) are previous Lamar Canucks.

DH: Ian Choy (Mississauga, Ont.) of the Canisius Golden Griffins.

Choy hit .359 with nine homers and 36 RBIs in 53 games. Choy was named to ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District I Second Team. The honor is voted on by members of the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) whose schools are in the region. Choy has a 3.44 grade point average and is in his junior year, pursuing a degree in economics. He was second on the Canisius team in average (.359), led in on-base percentage (.478). Since mid-March, Choy hit .430 (46-for-107), with at least one hit in 26 of the last 33 games. Choy has six home runs since April a after recording four in his previous 121 games. Choy was named Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Player of the Week in April, after going 8-for-12 with three home runs and five RBIs for coach Mike McRae (Niagara Falls, Ont.). Choy ranks sixth in program history with 163 hits and was named the MAAC Rookie of the Year and a freshman All-American by Louisville Slugger in 2007.

Choy who played for Danny Thompson with Team Ontario and the Intercounty Terriers, was a Third Team All-Canadian in 2007.

Third Team (Campbell River, BC), of the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats.

Left-hander: LHP Ali Simpson

The 6-foot-3 Simpson was 9-2 in 2009 with a 3.23 ERA, striking out 79 batters in 75 1/3 innings. Simpson allowed 68 hits and and only 14 extra base hits. He had an ERA of under 2.00 for most of the season. He pitched 8 1/3 innings against the Miami Hurricanes, allowing four hits and three walks in a 5-2 over the Hurricanes. Simpson ended the season with seven straight wins and a no-decision at NCAA Regionals to earn all Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference first team honours, MEAC Rookie of the Year and made the Louisville Slugger/Baseball America NCAA Division I All-Freshman Team. He has been ranked No. 81 on the College Baseball Blog’s Top 100 Players in the the USA for 2010.

Opponents hit .245 against Simpson. He pitched for the Parksville Royals and coach Dave Wallace.

Right-hander (tie): Andrew Page (Stoney Creek, Ont.) of the Missouri S and T Miners and Matthew McDonald (Dartmouth, N.S.) of the Connecticut Huskies.

Page finished the season with a 6-3 record and a 3.18 earned run average, tying the school record for wins in a season. Page walked 23 and struck out 78 in 82 innings appearing in 15 games, making 11 starts and holding opponents to a .233 average. He also broke his own school record for strikeouts in a season with 78 in 82 innings of work – also an S&T single-season mark – and held opposing hitters to a .233 batting average. Page posted a record of 5-1 against teams from the GLVC, including wins over four of the six teams playing in the conference tournament. Page was named to Great Lakes Valley Conference as all-conference second team.

McDonald was 5-1 with a 4.14 ERA in 11 games, making nine starts. He walked 19 and struck out 44 in 58 2/3 innings, holding opposing hitters to a .219 average. McDonald pitched seven innings allowing one earned run in a win over Toledo; pitched six innings with four strikeouts in a win over Yale; pitched six innings in a win over Brown; worked 6 2/3 innings, fanning five in a win against Pittsburgh and he pitched seven innings fanning five as he allowed one run in a victory against South Florida. He pitched 6 2/3 innings allowing two runs in a 3-2 loss to Rhode Island. He was in his second year at UCONN after two years pitching for Ryan Snair (Margaret’s Bay, N.S.) at Ulster College.

Reliever: Kyle Kotchie (Pickering, Ont.) of the Lake Sumter Lakers.

Kotchie was 4-2 with a 3.70 ERA appearing in 18 games and making three starts. Kotchie walked 24 and struck out 64 in 41 1/3 innings to rank amongst the strikeout leaders in the nation. Kotchie led the state in strikeouts per innings pitched with 1.559. Next behind Kotchie were Johnny Sedlock, South Florida (39 innings, 51 strikeouts, 1.331), Austrin Wright, Chiopla (44 innings, 55 strikeouts, 1.241); Daniel Bennett at Tallahassee (40 innings, 50 strikeoute 1.229) and Shane Walker, Northwest Florida State (44 innings, 54 strikeouts 1.227). Kotchie, who transferred to Texas Pan American, pitched for Rob and Rich Butler’s Ontario Prospects as well as Jim Lutton’s Oshawa Legionaires.

Catcher (tie): Aaron Johnson (Sussex Corner, N.B.) of the Illinois Fighting Illini and Will Richards (Toronto, Ont.) of the Indiana Tech Warriors.

Johnson hit .333 on the nose with 10 homers and 52 RBIs as Illinois continued its strong tradition of Canuck catchers. Johnson squatted where Chris Robinson (Dorchester, Ont.) and Lars Davis (Grand Prairie, Alta.) did before him and Kelly Norris-Jones (Victoria, BC) will after him. Johnson was named to the watch list for the 2009 Coleman Company-Johnny Bench award. He was sixth on the Illinois in average and fourth in hits. He has proved to be durable, starting 51 of 53 games. Johnson was second in RBIs one off the pace and was second in home runs. He also has been hit by a pitch 15 times, which ranks seventh on the Illini single-season hit-by-pitch list and has thrown out 14-of-39 (36 percent) would-be base-stealers on the season. Johnson leads Illinois with 13 multiple-RBI games and is third with 16 multiple-hit games. Johnson was named Big Ten Co-Player of the Week as the 21st-ranked Illini took a series No. 1-ranked LSU Fighting Tigers. Johnson led the Illini with a .500 average, going 6-for-12 with a team-best five RBIs. He came up big in the ninth of the opener, with a two-run homer for a 3-1 win. After going 2-for-4 with three RBIs in Saturday’s loss, Johnson stayed hot with a three-hit performance in Illinois’ 6-2 series-clinching win on Sunday. He also threw out 4-of-6 would-be base-stealers by an LSU team that entered the weekend having stolen 30-of-35 bases in nine games.

Richards hit .392 with 12 homers and 65 RBIs in 55 games. With 18 doubles Richards had a .702 slugging percentage and was named Wolverine-Hooiser conference player of the year. Twice Richards won conference player of the week going 9-for-15 (.600) with three homers and 11 RBIs against Madonna, Huntington and Concordia-Michigan and 8-for-14 (.571) with four RBIs against Aquinas, Goshen and Madonna. Against Anderson, Richards was 4-for-4, with two home runs and six RBIs. Richards played for the COBA all-stars and coach Ron Szczepanowski before heading off to Muscataine and then transferring to Indiana Tech. He was second amongst Canadians with 65 RBIs, behind Lavallee, who had 78 and ahead of Skirving with 64 and Cros and his 63 total.

First base: Jeff Hutton (Ladner, BC) of the Newman Jets.

Hutton hit .401 with 10 homers and 53 RBIs in 53 games. Hutton was named to the All-Heartland Conference First Team, as voted on by the league’s coaches. Hutton led the Jets in 10 offensive categories in helping Newman to a nine-game improvement over 2008. Hutton stroked 19 doubles and scored 51 times, while posting 36 walks compared to 27 strikeouts. Hutton also led in slugging (.704) and on-base percentage (.517). Hutton earned player of the week honors going 8-for-17 (.471) with nine RBIs. Hutton drove in five with two doubles in the win against Sterling and homered twice in a 15-5 win against Texas Permian Basin. Hutton, who played for Ari Melios and the North Delta Blue Jays, finished the week with five doubles and two home runs.

Second base: Tyler Delaney (Truro, N.S.) of the Maine-Presque Isle owls.

Delaney hit .426 with six homers and 40 RBIs. The Owls were a like a wandering band of minstrels playing their season on the road until the final weekend series. Delaney was named to the Association of Division III Independents names All-Independent Team and earned All-Sunrise Conference First Team honours. He also won a NAIA Player of the Week as he went 21-for-25 (.840) in five wins. During a three game stretch, he had a hit in 14 straight plate appearances. In the 30-0 win over St. Joseph (Vt.), he went 6-for-6 with five runs scored, four RBIs and four extra base hits including two homers. On the week, he compiled 15 RBIs, scored 16 runs, had four doubles, four triples and four homers while slugging 1.800. He was also went 3-for-3 in stolen base attempts.

Third base;  Jordan Castaldo (Toronto, Ont.) Connors State Cowboys.

Castaldo batted .455 with four homers and 26 RBIs in 26 games for the Cowboys. His average ranked him 16th nationally among all junior college players. He delivered 10 doubles and also ranked third nationally with an on-base percentage of .600. Castaldo transferred to the Arkansas State Red Wolves after finishing school at Connors. A Region II All-Region performer at Connors and ranked third nationally with an on-base percentage of .600. He played for coach Danny Bleiwas with the Ontario Blue Jays and the Oshawa Dodgers.

Shortstop (tie): Jonathan Slattery (Mississauga, Ont.) of the Western Texas Westerners and Jeremiah Sammy (Markham, Ont.) of the Lamar Cardinals.

Slattery batted .409 with four homers and 46 RBIs, scoring 43 runs in 48 games. Slattery ranked 16th in Region V in hits per game (1.396), 23rd in average (.409), 24th in total hits (67), 29 in total triples (three), 36th in RBIs (46), 38th in RBIs per game (.958), 42nd in total bases (93) and 47th in total bases per game (1.938). Slattery, who played for Team Toronto and Jason Chee-Aloy after the Mississauga North Tigers, earned WJCAC All-Conference Honorable Mention and transferred to the William and Mary Pride.

Sammy hit .310 with 15 doubles, six homers and 33 RBIs for Lamar. He started all 60 games for the Cardinals, his average was fourth highest on the team, he was fourth with 15 doubles, second in home runs and fifth in RBIs. Sammy fielded at a .934 clip with 19 errors and helped turn 29 double plays. Sammy’s best game came against the Central Arkansas Bears with he reached base three times, knocked in three runs, drove in a career-high three runs and hit his first career home run in a 9-4 win. He hit a two-run homer on a 2-2 pitch, walked in the sixth, hit a run-scoring fly ball in the seventh and walked in the ninth. Sammy played two years at Lon Morris before transferring to Lamar. Undrafted, Sammy returned to home to take a job with his father’s construction company. Soon after the Colorado Rockies signed him as a free agent.

Outfielders: Marc Bourgeois (Montreal, Que.) of the Chipola Indians, Joel Blake (Langley, B.C.) of the South Dakota State Jackrabbits and Chad Stang (Surrey, B.C.) of the Midland Chaparrals.

Bourgeois hit .369 with 11 homers and 34 RBIs for Chipola. Bourgeois was named to the Coaches’ All-Panhandle Conference First Team, along with 1B Mark Ellis (Maple Ridge, BC). Bourgeois also won the Buddy Kisner Award for academics. In the vote for the league’s top 10 players, Bourgeois sixth and Ellis eighth. Voting was done by the conference’s five head coaches. Bourgeois was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 42nd, but chose not to sign. He transferred to the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles.

Blake, who handled leadoff duties for much of the season, ranks among the league leaders in hits (80), home runs (13), doubles (21), total bases (140) and slugging percentage (.614). He was named to the Summit League Second Team and was Summit Player of the Week helping the Jackrabbits to a 3-1 record against Indiana-Purdue Fort Wayne. In the four-game series, Blake hit a team-best .611 (11-for-18) with six runs scored and six RBIs. Of his 11 hits, seven were doubles and one was a home run. Blake doubled in every game against the Mastodons, including hitting two doubles each in the last three contests. Blake played in all but one of the 56 games making 54 starts, tying for second on the team with a .351 average (80-for-228) and tied for the team lead in hits (80) tying the school record with teammate Tony Martin) and was first in at-bats. Blake was second in runs with 51 and he had 22 multi-hit games. He had a home run in back-to-back games against Creighton with three RBIs and went 2-for-3 with a home run, a double, two runs and three RBI against North Dakota State. Blake went 4-for-4 with a homerun, a double, four RBIs and three runs scored against Southern Utah and followed it up with a 3-for-5 effort the next day. He had a 4-for-5 day at the plate with a home run, two doubles, a RBI and three runs scored in the Summit tournament game against Southern Utah. Blake is a product of the Prairie Baseball Academy and coach Blair Kubicek after playing for the Abbotsford Cardinals.

Stang hit .370 with six homers and 37 RBIs for Midland, slugging .601. Stang was 12 in total triples (five), 19th in triples per game (.094), 22nd runs scored (53), 23 total at-bats (173), 31st in total hits (64), 33rd in total bases (104), 35th in runs scored per game (1.0), 44th in total bases per game (1.962) and 47th in slugging percentage (.601). Stang was drafted in the eighth round by the Milwaukee Brewers and received a $125,000 US signing bonus. He played at Rookie-Class Helena.

DH: Brendan Miller (Taber, Alta.) of the Colby Trojans.

Miller batted .473 with four homers and 46 RBIs in 41 games. Miller had a .674 slugging mark, while racking up a ,503 on-base mark. Miller hit two homeruns in a game against Wayland Baptist and was 4-for-5 with a homerun, double and eight RBIs against Seward County. Against conference foes, he was 9-for-12 (.750) with three doubles and three RBIs against Dodge City; 6-for-11 (.545) with five RBIs against Barton, 8-for-10 (.800) with a double, homer and eight RBIs against Seward. Miller played for Les McTavish with the Vauxhall Jets.

Honourable Mention:
(/ denotes school player transferred to for 2010).

Left-handers: Jon Hesketh (Langley, BC) New Mexico Lobos, Marc Wilson (Calgary, Alta.) Campbellsville Tigers,  Shane Davis (Belmont, Ont.) Canisius,  Steve Teno (LaSalle, Ont.) Central Michigan Chippewas,  Jean Francois Ricard (St. Eustache, Que.) Northeastern Oklahoma A & M Golden Norse,  Shawn Schaefer (Pitt Meadows, BC) Cumberland.

Right-handers: Matt Jebb (Toronto, Ont.) Maine,  Adam Jung (North Sannich, BC) Central Arizona/South Alabama,  Eric Brown (Thunder Bay, Ont.) UBC,  Brandon Farquhar (Mossley, Ont.) Indians Hills/Lander,  Matthew Whidden (Hamilton, Ont.) Niagara County,  Sam Armstromg (Vancouver, BC) South Idaho/Utah Valley State,  Kyle Bolton (Burlington, Ont.), Madonna,  Cory Pappel (Mississauga, Ont), Cornell,  Andrew Brock (Burnaby, BC) College of Idaho,  Shawn Wilyman (Regina, Sask), Taft.

Relievers: Paul McKenna (Oakville, Ont.), Niagara County, David Kington (Coquitlam, BC) Southern Illinois, Eric Bryce (Regina, Sask.), Monterey Peninsula/Buffalo, Ryan Williams (East Preston, N.S.) Mount Olive, Jeff Hall (Calgary, Alta.) UBC, Ryan McGorman (Arden, Man.) Canisius, Jeff Katchmar (Thompson, Man.) Missouri Southern, Alexandre Beaulieu (Levis, Que.) Albany, J.R. Robinson (Burnaby, BC) Oklahoma.

Catchers: Derrik Strzalkowski (London, Ont.) Kellog, Peter Bako (Mississauga, Ont.) Connors State/North Carolina State, Marshall MacDonald (Red Deer, Alta.) Dayton, Tyler Plumpton (Peterborough, Ont.) Rio Grande, Olivier Bertrand (Saint Adele, Que.) Monroe, Jamie Fitzgerald (Ottawa, Ont.), Manhattan, Luke Krobath (Langley, BC) Science and Arts of Oklahoma, Dan Welch (North Sannich, BC) Central Arizona/Dayton; Mark Jeffery (Whitby, Ont.) Western Texas.

First base: Mark Ellis (Maple Ridge, BC) Chipola/Souther Mississippi, Scott Hornstra (Rocky Mountatin House, Alta.) Colby/New Mexico, Brian Burton (Kitchener, Ont.) Canisius, Tyler Tamayose (Lethbridge, Alta.) William Woods, Bobby Wagner (Port Coquitlam, BC) Panola, Steven Anderson (Markham, Ont.) New Mexico State, Scott Webster (Port Moody, BC), UBC.

Second base: Michael Mutcheson (Morden, Man.) New Mexico Jr. College/Creighton, James Kottaras (Markham, Ont.) Connors State, Carl Moniz (Laval, Que.) Georgia State, Chad Marshall (Paris, Ont.) Stoney Brook, Alex White (Richmond, BC), UBC, Jeff Cowan (Scarborough, Ont.) High Point.

Third base; Ben Cairns (Nanaimo, BC) Jamestown, Jaret Chatwood (Red Deer, Alta.) Colby/Montana-Billings, Kurri Darby (Swift Current, Sask.) Kansas Wesleyan, Ryan Pilgram (Pitt Meadows, BC), UBC.

Shortstop: Sammie Starr (Toronto, Ont.), UBC, Steve Wickens (Whitby, Ont.) Florida Gulf Coast, Sean Jamieson (Simcoe, Ont.) Niagara County/Caniusis, Terrence Dayleg (Surrey, BC) Western Kentucky, Manny Kumar (Mississauga, Ont.) Grambling State, Duncan Blades (Victoria, BC) Salt Lake,

Outfielders: Aaron Dunsmore (Spruce Grove, Alta.) Dayton, Sterling Crawford (Burlington, Ont.), Iowa Western, Alex Carnall (Oakville, Ont.) Cisco/Texas Pan American, Ryan Lapensee (Lasalle, Ont.) Wayne State, Jon Syrnyk (Langley, BC) UBC, Branson Joseph (Mississauga, Ont.) Canisius, Shayne Wilson (Surrey, BC) Canisius, Kyle Fillier (Campbellville, Ont.) Connors State, Paul Young (London, Ont.) Grand Rapids, Matt Stuckless (Kanata, Ont.) Hofstra, Matt Gray (Bright, Ont.) Northwestern, Mike Ronnie (Red Deer, Alta.) Minot State, George Agyapong-Mensah (Toronto, Ont.) Western Texas, Ryan Macdonald (Kennetcook, N.S.) Texas-Brownsville, Tom Robulack (Toronto, Ont.) Newman, Max Ouelette (Montreal, Que.) Pasadena  City,

 DH: Tyler Boshart (Stittsville, Ont.) Charleston, Brian Simone (Amherstburg, Ont.) West Alabama, Paul LaMantia (Tecumseh, Ont.) Wayne State, Steve Keltke (Altoona, Man.) Grambling State.

2009 All-Canadian college team stats