2022 DAWGS IN REVIEW……WITH A GLIMPSE INTO 2023
The 2022 season of Dawgs Baseball at both the summer collegiate and Youth Academy levels can only be viewed as an unmitigated success. Emerging out of a devastating 2 year global pandemic that prompted the cancellation of the entire 2020 baseball season, the Dawgs reached new heights in 2022.
Meeting the “COVID Challenge”
Despite financial challenges resulting from the pandemic, the Dawgs remained dedicated to their market communities. In particular, the Dawgs undertook a number of initiatives including but not limited to Dawgs Food Bank Drives whereby the club raised significant funds and collected in excess of 4000 lbs. of non-perishable food items for the local Food Bank. In addition, the Dawgs continued to conduct its School Reading Program for local elementary schools modifying the program to include “Virtual” Reading when necessary in order to comply with health and government regulations.
Further, with over 130 youth players participating in the Dawgs Youth Academy, Dawgs Coaches developed a Virtual Training Program to assist player development and promote mental and physical health and wellbeing. Subsequently, the Virtual Program gave way to an onsite “Health & Safety First” Practice Plan as the Dawgs became the first amateur program to be approved for live practices. It is a testament to the dedication and creativity of our Dawgs coaching staff that despite the shut down and the inability of Dawgs teams to travel to showcase tournaments across the United States, the Dawgs were able to maintain a 100% graduation rate to US and Canadian colleges and universities.
In addition, as restrictions imposed by the health authorities eased, the Dawgs were at the forefront of professional and amateur sports franchises in offering our communities positive, healthy, outdoor, family entertainment. As such, despite the closure of the Canada/US border restricting travel and the participation of American college players, the Dawgs spearheaded an initiative to offer the communities an “All Canadian”, Safety First, 2021 Season. This involved introducing several health and safety features and protocols throughout the Stadium and related facilities. This initiative was a major success the best illustration of which was the fact that the Dawgs were able to host a sellout crowd on Canada Day 2021 with the Premier of Alberta in attendance!
Dawgs & Dawgs Academy Return “Full Force” in 2022
Summer Collegiate Dawgs: 2022 was truly a phenomenal season for Dawgs Baseball at Seaman Stadium highlighted by a 1st place finish with a WCBL record 43 wins during the regular season, exciting playoff series wins and another WCBL Championship before a record breaking crowd in Okotoks. Dawgs Academy grad, Ricardo Sanchez (Barton CC) was named league MVP, Brendan Luther (OCC, Bellevue) captured WCBL Playoff MVP honors and Micah McDowell (Oregon State) was named 1st Team All-star.
Dawgs and Academy grads were also selected in the amateur draft of Major League Baseball. Jacob Melton and Gavin Logan (Oregon State) were selected in the 2nd and 9th round respectively by the Houston Astros and the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Milwaukee Brewers had selected former Dawgs standout Tristan Peters in the 7th round and signed Justin King to a contract.
In terms of attendance, Ballpark Digest reported that the Dawgs were the 4th top summer collegiate draw in North America averaging 4207 fans per game in 2022 for the regular season with 5003 fans attending on Canada Day and a record shattering 6000 fans at the WCBL All Star Game and Home Run Derby. In June 2022, the Dawgs welcomed their 1 Millionth fan to Seaman Stadium! For the season, the collegiate Dawgs attracted a record breaking 130,000 fans.
Beyond the baseball, the Dawgs, its donors and the Town added over $2 Million in facility upgrades to enhance the viewing experience of our extraordinary fan base at Seaman Stadium. Highlighting these were the completion of the Kore 4 (+14) Corner Hospitality Patios and “Front Row” Seating Section, a new Visitors’ Clubhouse, the Grog & Grub Concession, a new washroom building, the expansion of the walkway along the Ford Family Berm, construction of 2 large Pergolas and the addition of Berm Countertop Viewing Areas. In addition, the Dawgs added Satellite Concession Stations, new Fibre Optik High Speed Internet, a Mobile Concession Application and a number of TV monitors.
Dawgs Youth Academy: The success of the summer collegiate Dawgs was matched by the Youth Academy. Perfect Game ranked the Dawgs 18U Black Team the 3rd top (1st in Canada) youth travel team in North America. The Dawgs second 18U squad, Dawgs Red was ranked 70th (#2 in Canada). The Dawgs 15U captured another Alberta Championship.
In the fall of 2022, the Academy scheduled another West Coast College Tour playing 18 games in 17 days against premier NCAA college competition including the University of Utah, Washington State, Gonzaga, the University of Oregon, Oregon State and the University of Portland.
A few other Dawgs Academy highlights:
- 72 College placements including 25 NCAA D1 commitments, 13 of which are Power 5 commits;
- 8 Canadian Junior National Team selections in 2022;
- 12 Dawgs attended the Toronto Blue Jays Showcase;
- Dawgs Academy alumni selected in the MLB Draft Tristan Peters (7th round; MilwaukeeBrewers) Gavin Logan (9th round pick; Arizona Diamondbacks), Justin King (Milwaukee);
- Dawgs Academy alumni Alejo Lopez makes MLB debut with Cincinnati Reds;
- Dawgs Academy and collegiate alumni Jim Henderson makes MLB Coaching Debut withMilwaukee Brewers;
- 5 Dawgs Academy alumni earned College World Series Championships including Ayden Makarus & Jackson Fraser (LSU-Eunice; NJCAA D2), Ty Johnson & Matt Wilkinson (Central Arizona College; NJCAA D1) & Clayton Keyes (Southeastern University; NAIA).
Looking Forward to Dawgs 2023
The Dawgs will continue to raise the bar in 2023 in terms of enhancing our player and fan experience. Facility upgrades in process for the 2023 season include an iconic new Da Dawgs Beach Bar on the Anthem Hospitality Patio, a new “Ay Caramba” Cantina on the Fortis Family Patio and 2 new Pergolas.
In the fall of 2023, the Dawgs plan to add a new Indoor Batting Facility to compliment the Duvernay Indoor Fieldhouse and Training Center as well as new Ground Level Hospitality Suites with Rooftop Patios in order to afford more fans with an opportunity to experience the grassroots phenomenon that is Dawgs Baseball.
Dawgs wish all of our incredible fans, donors, sponsors and partners, a fabulous 2023!