June 13th, 2024

Legion teams look back on fun summer

By Sean Rooney on August 16, 2018.

NEWS PHOTO SEAN ROONEY
Award winners from the Medicine Hat Moose Monarchs and K of C Knights pose for a photo at the Beefeater Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2018.


srooney@medicinehatnews.com
@MHNRooney

It wasn’t the best season by the win-loss records, but that’s not to say it wasn’t a successful one for Medicine Hat’s two American Legion baseball squads.

The Moose Monarchs missed the playoffs by essentially a run, while the K of C Knights were ousted quickly in their post-season, but players and coaches agreed that didn’t mean everything.

“It had its ups and downs, the beginning was a little rough but then we started coming together more as a team, started to take off from there,” said Monarchs co-MVP Zack Stark.

“I’ll remember the great summer I had with a bunch of great guys, improving with them, everybody coming to the field wanting to get better. It didn’t end the way they wanted it to but at the end of the day you’ve got to enjoy it, it’s the game of baseball.”

Stark hit .344, also won the rookie of the year award and made sure the dugout was never a dull place to be for a team that went 15-22-1 overall and wound up ninth in the Montana-Alberta AA standings. They actually tied for the last playoff spot but Great Falls took the tiebreaker — turn that one tie into a win and it’s a different story.

Braydon Pudwell shared the MVP honour with Stark and had a slightly different outlook as one of eight graduating players. That it was a fun summer wasn’t in question though.

“This year was by far the most fun year I’ve ever had,” said the team’s top slugger. “Just our teammates in general made it such a fun environment to be at the diamond every day.

“It’s really weird, honestly. I don’t think I’m going to realize it until next summer kicks in and I’m moving home from college, baseball’s supposed to be starting up again and it’s not. That’s when it’s going to hit me.”

Both MVP’s expect to play for a college team soon, though Pudwell’s not decided on where. Stark will join his older brother Nathan at Colby Community College in Kansas.

Other Monarchs awards went to Ethan Boutkan (top pitcher), Tyran George (most improved), Ethan Loran (hardest worker) and Will Sharpe (unsung hero).

Reese Whelen was the single-A Knights’ MVP, hitting .374, catching and even dominant as a pitcher when called upon.

“It’s pretty nice, I worked pretty hard all season and it’s nice to see it paid off,” said Whelen.

At 15-31 the Knights had a spot in playoffs regardless, but couldn’t pull off a Cinderella run.

Other Knights awards went to Ayden Matycio (top pitcher), Connor Drever (unsung hero), Kaitlyn Ross (hardest worker) and Joshua Stark and Heyden Harrison, who shared the Ken Stefani Memorial for most improved player.

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