You are here: Home / News
Saturday October 27, 2012
(Pictured Above: Matt Thornton. Photo by: Shelly Kostic)
by Jonathan Hodgson
The Okotoks Dawgs are very pleased to be welcoming back three more players from the University of British Columbia in 2013. Closer Matt Thornton will return to Okotoks next summer from the Thunderbirds along with outfielders James Stewart and Brendan Rose.
Matt Thornton is a 6’4’’ 220 lb right-handed pitcher from Campbell River, BC currently in his junior year at UBC. Dawgs fans should remember Thornton well, as 2013 will be his third summer in Okotoks including a dominant 2012 campaign while serving as the team’s closer. The hard throwing right-hander appeared in 17 games this past season, logging 19.2 innings. In that time, he allowed 24 hits and only 2 walks while striking out 24 leading to a 3.20 ERA and 9 saves. He narrowly missed the WMBL saves record of 11.
Dawgs Managing Director, John Ircandia made it a top priority to bring his closer back next season,
“Matt returns to the Dawgs after just missing the WMBL record for saves in 2012. He features a 92 MPH plus fastball and proved last year he has what it takes to put games away. I know Coach McKaig at UBC is excited to have Matt at the back of his bullpen and Dawgs fans will be thrilled to have him back closing out wins for the Dawgs again in 2013."
Thornton himself cannot wait to get back on the mound in Okotoks, and hopes to be closing out games deeper into August next year,
“I am extremely pleased and grateful to be able to return for my 3rd summer with the Dawgs, and am looking forward to another summer ball season playing in a special town for the greatest fans and I'm ready to help get us back to the top of the WMBL and win a championship."
UBC Head Coach, Terry McKaig talks about his closer,
"We are really hoping Matt can build off of his successful 2012 in Okotoks by having a strong and healthy 2013 here at UBC. If he can do that, pro ball or another great summer in Okotoks will be waiting for him. A true power arm, Matt can very tough on hitters with his movement, and assortment of off speed pitches.”
Returning from the 2012 Dawgs outfield will be James Stewart. Stewart is a 5’10’’ 180 lb outfielder from Calgary, Alberta currently in his sophomore year at UBC. 2013 will be Stewart’s second season with the Dawgs summer collegiate team and his sixth year in the organization after graduating from the Dawgs Academy in 2011. James battled for playing time in the outfield this past summer, appearing in 22 games. Over that time he hit .221 with 10 RBI’s, but it was more than his bat that impressed. When called upon early in the season, Stewart displayed stellar defense while patrolling centerfield proving his value to the club.
John Ircandia expects Stewart to be a major contributor in 2013,
“James enjoyed success for the Dawgs as a freshman outfielder in 2012 and has really started the fall season off with a bang with the Thunderbirds at UBC. ‘Stewie’ can play defense with the best outfielders in the WMBL and gives the Dawgs a major stolen base threat while he continues to develop offensively.”
Stewart is ready to get back to Okotoks and build on his success in his second year with the collegiate Dawgs,
“I am very excited to be coming back to Okotoks this coming summer. Last summer was the best summer of my life and I can't wait to play in front of the best fans in baseball again. Playing as a JDawg, it was always my dream and goal to come back to play for the collegiate team. The environment is surreal and it is always a blast coming out every night to play for the fans.”
Terry McKaig likes what he has seen in the Dawgs product,
"James just continues to improve each year with us. He is starting to get bigger and stronger which is really helping his game. A product of the Jr. Dawgs, he plays the game the right way and will compete for a starting outfield spot with us this year."
Rounding out the Thunderbird contingent is outfielder Brendan Rose. Rose is a 5’11’’ 175 lb outfielder from Calgary, Alberta. Currently in his freshman year at UBC, Rose is another Dawgs Academy graduate, having been a key contributor to the Dawgs 2012 Midget National Championship team. The heart of that National Championship lineup will be in Seaman Stadium next summer as Chris Shaw and Ramon Valdez recently signed to the 2013 collegiate team along with Rose.
John Ircandia expects Rose to gain valuable experience with the Dawgs this coming summer,
“Brendan was one of the top run producers in the middle of the J Dawgs lineup as they won the Canadian National Championship this year. Next summer will be a learning year for him coming off his freshman year at UBC, as we expect him to do double duty with our top Academy team. But bottom line we know Brendan can hit and we won't hesitate to get him at bats with the collegiate Dawgs."
Rose is looking forward to the opportunity to return to Okotoks next summer,
“I feel fortunate to have played the last four years for the JDawgs, as they have been the best years of baseball of my life. I love everything about the Dawgs organization and am excited to come back this summer.”
The T-Birds' bench boss likes the potential he sees in Rose,
"Brendan is adjusting to college baseball nicely here in his first fall. He is dedicated to improving his game and being in our competitive environment is bringing out his best. Another product of the Jr. Dawgs, Brendan has a nice foundation in place as a player and we look forward to seeing him grow with us over the next 4 years."
UBC Head Coach, Terry McKaig says he has complete confidence in once again lending some of his best players to the Dawgs for the summer,
"The UBC Baseball program is once again excited to send some of our top players to Okotoks for another competitive summer experience. Year in and year out, John Ircandia and all of the Okotoks Dawgs family put on a first class experience for college baseball players. Why the experience is beneficial to our players is simple: They come back to us better players, and better people, than when they left."
The Dawgs are thrilled to once again partner with UBC in the construction of the 2013 roster. These three players along with outfielder Jerod Bartnik, signed earlier in the fall, give the Dawgs four Thunderbirds next summer, all of them with previous Dawgs experience. Each know what it means to put on the Dawgs uniform and will battle to get Okotoks back to the top!