August 23rd, 2019

Outstanding accomplishment by Hat ball team

By Letter to the Editor on August 8, 2019.

I would like to offer my congratulations to the Medicine Hat Junior Little League all stars in winning the Canadian championship last weekend in Lethbridge.

This group is the first team at any level from Medicine Hat to win a national Little League championship. Trust me when I say getting to a Canadian Little League championship, let alone winning one, is not easy. In recent years, there have been many of us who have succeeded in getting to the national championship and the final game, but never winning one.

But not this 2019 team. Although I am not personally close with any of the families on this year’s team, it was evident to me they were an assembly of players, coaches and parents who came together which bought into a system of “whatever it takes.” Their resilience was clearly evident. Facing elimination, their playoffs began one game earlier with a must win situation over B.C. in the final round robin game. Then an incredible victory over the previously unbeaten squad from Quebec. Finalizing a terrific tournament with a near perfect 10-3 win over Atlantic.

This accomplishment will be etched in the memories of these players, coaches and parents for a lifetime.

Medicine Hat has been very successful at the Junior Little League level. There are many factors. One, we have been fortunate in having our very best players participate in the all star program every year. Many outstanding coaches have come forward and guided these young men – like Jim Moser, Dave Schibler, Rob McDonnell, Keith Lutz, Jason Bartram, Mike Street and Bob Rath. Secondly, a shoutout to Rob McDonnell and his baseball academy at Notre Dame. Rob has been influential in our Junior Little League teams by working with many of our junior players year round at the academy and honing their skills. Medicine Hat Little League should deserve some credit. The executive in the past and present has always been very supportive of the summer all-star program providing first-class uniforms and nationally recognized facilities, second to none.

It can not be understated how important it was for the core of this team to have participated in the 2017 Canadian Little League championships here in Medicine Hat. That experience alone would have instilled confidence, fortitude and the ability to believe they belonged at these national finals.
But make no mistake: Credit for this team’s success lies solely with their players, coaches and parents.

So when the players and coaches arrive at Heritage Park in Taylor, Mich., and they head to the barracks to line up and receive their Team Canada jerseys and caps, they should be proud. They’ve earned it.

To the parents, coaches and most importantly the players, enjoy every minute of this once in a lifetime experience which many of us before you have only dreamt about.

Have fun and play hard.

Kevin Friesen
Medicine Hat

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