2018 Baseball Nova Scotia Award Winners
BREAKING: Your 2018 BNS Award winners are:
Major Male Athlete – Evan O’Toole (Bridgewater)
Evan O'Toole was instrumental in bringing a Bronze medal back to Nova Scotia for the first time since 1995. The native of Bridgewater pitched what will go down as one of the top performances in Nova Scotia history at Nationals during his quarter final battle with Quebec. A heavily favored Quebec squad was no match for O'Toole, as he went a complete game for the shutout, allowing only 2 hits and striking out 9 in a historic Nova Scotia victory. He finished the tournament leading the team in innings pitched (11.1) and strike outs (15), and was third in ERA (2.47) and WHIP (1.06). At the T12 Showcase tournament in Toronto, was the most dominant pitcher on Team Atlantic, with 6 innings pitched, 10 strike outs, 3.00 ERA, and 1.33 WHIP. These performances earned Evan an invite to the Baseball Canada Junior National team selection camp earlier this month. Evan continues to pitch for the Vauxhall Jets in Alberta.
Major Female Athlete(s) – Ellie MacAulay (St.Peter’s) and Katie Hagen (Dartmouth)
Ellie MacAulay had a monster year in the Baseball Nova Scotia girl's programs. Representing the province on the Prospect team at the Senior Women Nationals, she was one of the youngest in the competition, competing against women over double her age. Ellie spent most of the tournament batting lead off for the Prospect team, and playing in the outfield. She lead the team in Runs (9). Ellie also saw 3 2/3 innings on the mound. Her performance helped lead the team to a Silver medal, and an invite to the final 26 players to contend for a spot on the Canadian National team. Ellie followed this performance up by heading to Stonewall, Manitoba with the Nova Scotia 21U Women's, and helping lead the team to a Bronze medal finish. Two weeks later, Ellie would dominate the 16U Nationals in Bedford. She went 14 for 24 at the plate, finishing with a .583 batting average, the top on the team and one of the top in the tournament. On the mound, she dominated British Columbia in a relief appearance in the round robin, and was instrumental in the teams semi final victory over Alberta. Against a high powered Alberta offence, she pitched 4 1/3 innings, with 7 strike outs. The team would capture a Silver medal. To cap it off, she finished the season with a 15U A Provincial Gold medal on the Strait Area Sting. Ellie is the first athlete from Nova Scotia to win 3 National medals in the same season.
It is hard to capture in one paragraph everything that Katie Hagen did in 2018. , Katie received the opportunity to travel to Virginia, USA as a member of the Ontario Trailblazer’s Women’s Team to compete at the 13th annual Eastern Women’s Baseball Conference, Diamond Classic. Katie pitched an extra inning win in the Round Robin and started her first of three Gold Medal Games for 2018. From there, she would head to the Senior Women's Nationals on the Prospect team. Katie got the nod to start her second Gold Medal game of the season this time vs Senior Women’s powerhouse Ontario. The match would end with the Prospects settling for silver and this performance earned Katie a spot in the selection camp for the Senior Women’s National Team. A month later with the Nova Scotia 21U Women in a semi final match with Quebec, Katie would pitch masterfully in 6.2 innings, Katie would come off the hill locked in a 2 – 2 tie that took 10 innings to eventually complete. Earlier in the tournament she closed out a game vs Ontario recording the win. Aside from these solid pitching performances, Katie further helped her team by hitting .450 and playing solid in the field earning her the Defensive Player of the Tournament Award and Tournament All-Star Shortstop for this National event. She did all this while also playing for the Kentville Wildcats 18U AAA team. A highlight from the season at this level for Katie was a 5 inning 40 pitch MVP outing vs Tri County in Provincials landing her the start for the gold medal game, her third major of the season, vs Truro. Katie did all this while also running camps and development sessions for young girls across the province. Katie is currently playing in a semi pro women's league in Australia.
Minor Male Athlete – Adam Crocker (Hantsport)
Adam Crocker was a leader on the first ever 13U AAA team out of Hantsport. This reputation as a top player on the Hantsport Shamrocks earned Adam a spot on the Nova Scotia 13U team. At the National Championships, he lead team in home runs (1), RBIs (6), Runs (5), and second in Batting Average (.333). Adam also pitched 5 2/3 innings and finished with a 2.47 ERA (top on team). A stellar 5 1/3 innings pitched vs Quebec in the round robin contributed to a big Nova Scotia win, that would result in a top 4 finish. Adam was also a pick up by Halifax for the 13U Atlantic Championships, where he posted a batting average of .353, and pitched 5 2/3 innings with a 2.47 ERA and 13 strike outs.
Minor Female Athlete – Molly White (Fall River)
A key player with the Tri County 15U AA Rangers and Nova Scotia 16U Girls, Molly held down 1st base, the outfield, and pitching duties through the season. While her statistics during the season were impressive, her performance at the 16U National Championships in Bedford is really what makes her stand out. Molly went 11 for 21 at the plate, good for a .521 batting average and .615 on base percentage. Along with 15 RBI’s and 10 runs scored, Molly was one of the top offensive players at the tournament. She also started on the mound in Nova Scotia’s first game with British Columbia, and closed out a perfect inning in the National Championship game vs Quebec. She was without a doubt a key contributor in the 16U team advancing to the National Championship game for the first time in history.
During the 14U Atlantics (her 4th time attending the event) Molly hit over .900 with two home runs. This was combined with 3 dominant pitching appearances. Molly’s amazing tournament carried her team to a 4th place finish, and earned her Top Defensive player of the tournament.
Coach of the Year – Andrew Holland (Clark's Harbour)
For the past 15 years, Andrew Holland has coached various levels of baseball in the south shore region. This year, Andrew coached the 15U AA Clark's Harbour Foggies to an overall record of 47 wins, 7 losses and 1 tie. The team went on to win the Bluenose League, the Summerside Chevy tournament, the Moncton Invitational, the Provincial Championship and the Atlantic Championship. 2018 wins were Holland’s fourth Provincial and Atlantic titles.
Andrew is well respected by his players, always showing attention to their individual improvement. With no children of his own involved, he spends many hours holding practices for his team, as well as lending a hand to other local teams. Andrew is not only busy on the field, he is also involved in fundraising events for the team and the association. If you are looking for Andrew in the summer, he will be at the ball field coaching, practicing, organizing or even umping. He is truly dedicated to the sport of baseball and the development of young players in the south shore.
Grassroots Coach of the Year – Shawn Samson (Isle Madame)
Shawn Samson founded the Mariners in 2014 after their being no minor baseball on Isle Madame in the previous 2 seasons. He coaches and is present (to the best of his ability) at every T-Ball, 11U, 13u, 15U and RABA Mariners games/practice. If it would not be for Shawn, there may not be baseball on Isle Madame. In a just a few short years he has developed an association to be extremely proud of. He dedicates much of his summer to the kids in the area and this dedication is truly appreciated by the local baseball community. There are not many people that start an association and coach every single team from T-ball right up to the RABA. A constant and supportive voice on the field, Shawn Samson is a shining example of the important impact Grassroots Coach can have on its community.
Volunteer of the Year – Randy Crouse (Antigonish)
Randy Crouse has been the driving force behind Challenger Baseball in this province for many years. In 2013 when Ian McLean came to Nova Scotia to encourage associations to take on Challenger, Randy was there ready to bring it back to Antigonish. As players and buddies started turning up, he took on the newly formed role of Director of Challenger Baseball for Baseball Nova Scotia. Then he got to work growing this program everywhere. Hammonds Plains, Truro, New Glasgow, Pictou County and more began taking on the program. His passion and enthusiasm made people want to work towards the same goal – inclusion for all players. He has set up meetings, gone to sports fairs, and reached out to various support groups in the community. Sends out communication constantly about grant opportunities and coaching sessions to existing members. His organizational and communication skills are one of his strong suits as well. As if he decided he wasn’t busy enough, he become the national chair for Challenger Baseball. Randy now works side by side with the Blue Jays and Baseball Canada to create new programs, ideas and interesting ways to teach and grow the game of baseball within this unique groups of athletes. Finally, Randy is the driving force in raising a half a million dollars to build a beautiful accessible field for his players in Antigonish. Randy has for years organized baseball games and the Provincial Jamborees. He has been the leader at the community, provincial and now national level. Without Randy, it's unlikely Challenger Baseball would be as successful as it is today
Association of the Year – New Waterford Minor Baseball
There are few associations in the province that have seen the rapid growth like New Waterford Minor Baseball. It was just five short years ago that minor baseball in the town had a small membership of around 50 kids playing baseball across 4 teams. In the five years since, thanks to a dedicated Executive and volunteer base, the small Cape Breton town now boasts a thriving program with over 200 members and 15 teams.
One of the major projects for the group was refurbishing three fields that badly needed upgrades to host programming. Over $200 000 was raised to ensure the community had safe facilities to play on.
A true grassroots organization offering programming from Rally Cap to the 18U level, New Waterford Minor Baseball is now viewed by many as a model association. Always keen to host events that will strengthen the associations coaches and players, the association took full advantage of every program available in 2018. This year alone, the group hosted NCCP clinics for 25 coaches in the CBRM, a Recreational Coaching Education session, a Rally Cap session, a My First Pitch session, a BNSUD officials clinic, and Winterball at Greenfield Elementary.
On top of these grassroots sessions, the association hosted Provincial Championships at the 11U A Tier 5 and 18U A Tier 2 levels. They were also selected to host Classification Tournaments in three different divisions. Cape Breton League playoffs at the 15U division were also hosted in the community.
The association registered two teams in the Bluenose League, and sent five teams to Provincials. Their 11U A team captured the 11U A Tier 5 Provincial title at home.
New Waterford has also committed to growing girl’s participation in the sport. The town even boasted an all girl 11U team. The association had 40 girls registered in 2018, and hopes to see that number continue to grow.
The organization even saw its first Challenger athlete and buddy in 2018!
New Waterford Minor Baseball is shining example of how an organization can grow with a grassroots mindset. The countless hours provided by its volunteers has shown the rest of the Province what it means to run a successful organization and get kids excited about baseball.
Team(s) of the Year – Nova Scotia 16U Girls White and Nova Scotia 17U Selects
Nova Scotia 16U Girls
2018 was a banner year for the program. With the tournament being held in Bedford and featuring all 10 Provinces for the first time, the program was able to offer two 16U teams for the first time ever. While the first team featured more experienced players, the second team offered younger players the chance to develop and experience a National tournament, all while being coached by the first all female staff in the tournaments history.
The first team, known as Nova Scotia White, featured players from Springhill, St.Peter’s, Weymouth, Bridgewater, and all around the HRM. The team was a well respected opponent in the 15U AA Bluenose League, finishing with a .500 record against some of the top AA teams in Atlantic Canada.
The team hit its stride at the National tournament. Surviving an early scare with British Columbia, being down 11-4 in the 4th inning, the team roared back with 15 unanswered runs to take the first game. This was followed by convincing victories over Saskatchewan and Quebec 2, good for first place in Pool B. This set up a Quarter Final match up with Newfoundland, which the team handled 11-1.
In the final four, Nova Scotia drew an undefeated Alberta team, that had secured first place in the A division. In an offensive duel, Nova Scotia was paced by a 9 run second inning, winning 14-12 and securing its place in a National Championship game. No female team from Atlantic Canada had ever accomplished this at any age level.
In a historic night at Robert Lenihan field, a jam-packed park would experience the provinces first ever Gold medal game. An older and talented Quebec team would come out on top, but that did not tarnish the accomplishment of the team. In winning the Silver medal with a 5-1 record, outscoring opponents 73-41, the team displayed a historic performance. A true team effort, with all 12 players playing important roles, this group will serve as an inspiration to girls across the province playing baseball.
This group of girls trained regularly from February to August, with trips all over the Province and Atlantic Canada. Games were played in Weymouth, Amherst, Port Hawkesbury, Summerside, and other towns. The commitment required for this program is massive, both from a time and travel standpoint. The hard work and dedication of this group is also inspired by the motivation to be accepted in a traditionally male dominated sport. This group certainly gained that acceptance.
When having a conversation about the toughest Provinces in the country to play in the girls divisions, Nova Scotia is now in the conversation with its much bigger Provincial counterparts, and this group is a big reason for that.
Nova Scotia 17U Selects
The Nova Scotia 17U Selects had a historic 2018 season. As with any other year, the season started early with initial Identification Camps held in January and February. A Core Team of approximately 30 top players from around the province was selected to continue workouts in March and April. The final 20 man roster was selected in April and that's where things got busy.
Made up of players from Sydney, Bridgewater, Antigonish, Kentville, Hantsport, Truro, Hants County, St.Peter's and around the HRM, the team would have a hectic summer. The team hosted the 2nd Annual 17U & 21U Early Bird Tournament in May. This tournament was open to the other Maritime 17U teams and 21U Junior teams. The squad would then attend tournaments in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick (Atlantic T12) and PEI. The Selects would make it to the finals in several of these tournaments, including a Silver medal at the 21U Provincial Championships.
Competing with 21U teams and its Provincial Select counterparts, the team finished with an overall season record 28 wins, 17 losses & 2 ties in 47 games. On top of this large competition commitment, the team practiced regularly and held many side workouts at the batting cage and bullpens.
The Canada Cup is where the team made history. After a grueling round robin, featuring rain delays, and a string of must win games, the team edged out Manitoba 4-2 to earn itself a Quarterfinal match up with Quebec. The perennial powerhouse Quebec did not have an answer for Evan O'Toole, as the Nova Scotia team took the game 2-0. Later that day, the upstart Nova Scotia team held a semi final lead going into the 6th inning over British Columbia. Although they would eventually lose a heart breaker, 10-6, the team had to prepare for their third game of the day. For the first time in history, two Atlantic teams would square off in a medal game. Avenging their earlier loss in the round robin, Nova Scotia captured its first medal in 23 years at the Canada Cup with a 9-3 victory.
By September, 9 players from the team were named to the Tournament 12 (T12) Atlantic Team to compete at the Rogers Centre. The team once again advancing to the final four resulted in two Nova Scotia athletes (Evan O'Toole and Micah McDowell) receiving invites to the Canadian Junior National team camp in October
Overall the Nova Scotia 17U Selects terrific season resulted in medals and opportunities for its athletes to advance in baseball. A truly dedicated and supportive group of players, coach and families, the team collectively demonstrated resiliency, grit and determination all year long.
Junior Umpire of the Year – Alex Marriott (Halifax)
If one was to describe Alex in one word it would be "enthusiastic". Alex has been umpiring in Halifax for the past five years and truly made a name for himself over the past two years. In 2017, the local UIC recommended him for our "High Performance" group. This group is comprised of younger umpires, who have been identified as umpires who may eventually have the drive and talent to become umpires at the National Level and in the future, leaders within BNSUD. Since early 2017, Alex's rise up the ladder has been exponential. In 2016, Alex was working strictly in Halifax, mostly at the 15U level and below. Since that time, he has worked his way to already become one of our youngest Level 4 umpires. In 2018, Alex worked in the 18U AAA Elimination tournament, the 15U AA Atlantics and at the 16U Girls Nationals. His enthusiasm seems to have no bounds. He is always excited to be on the field and is always looking to improve. What will make Alex be a successful umpire is his obsession with being perfect. Often, Alex will be his worst critic, lamenting over a mistake that only he knows he made. Just like any elite athlete, the need to improve upon every performance drives him to be better. What will also make him a success is his willingness to take any feedback and implement it. Alex does this every time out and it reached his peak at the 15U AA Atlantics. It was at that tournament, that his ability was recognized, not by his fellow umpires, but by others at the tournament. He was nominated for this award by the organizers of this event, who were very impressed by his performance. When your performance is that good that non-umpires notice, you are doing things right. With his dedication and attitude, it is a pleasure for BNSUD to award Alex with the Junior Umpire of the Year.
Senior Umpire of the Year – Steve Clark (Dartmouth)
Steve moved to Dartmouth at the beginning of 2017. Prior to moving here, Steve had attained his National Level 4 and worked one National tournament representing New Brunswick. Since coming to Nova Scotia, Steve has enthusiastically taken on any challenge thrown his way. In 2018, Steve had a profound impact on BNSUD both on and off the field. Off the field, Steve became the Treasurer for BNSUD and was in instrumental in reorganizing of the financial procedures. He also began his pathway toward becoming a Baseball Canada Senior Course Conductor, by attending the Course Conductor Caravan hosted here in April. As part of this process, he worked as an assistant supervisor at the 2018 Girls U16 Nationals and also as the Lead Supervisor for the 15U AA Atlantics in Amherst. He was very active in the evaluation and mentoring of many younger officials during the summer. On the field, Steve also had an exemplary year. Steve worked all levels of baseball, from 11U recreational to the NSSBL. He was always available to work whatever needed to be done, regardless of level or location. Steve's skills were apparent at the 18U Boys Nationals in Fort MacMurray, where his work earned him both a Semi-Final plate assignment, as well as 2nd base in the Gold Medal game. To round out the year, Steve worked the plate for game 6 of the NSSBL finals and 2nd base in game 7. As impressive as his season was, what truly makes Steve deserving of this award is his never-ending commitment to both the organization and his fellow umpires. His positive attitude and determination to improve both himself and others makes him worthy of the title of Senior Umpire of the Year.
Ken Evans Award - Alex Lawrie (Dartmouth)
Alex Lawrie was first identified and entered our High Performance Group five years ago. In the subsequent five years, Alex has progressed from working local games in Dartmouth to working the plate for game 7 of this year's NSSBL finals. He has also attended multiple umpire camps in the USA and in 2016 worked a year in the Can-Am league, based in New York, but with the majority of appearances in Ontario and Quebec. Alex entered our National program in 2016, attending his first National last year at the 15U event. This year, Alex umpired at the Baseball Canada Cup. While the headlines for Nova Scotia at the surrounded the great showing of our team in taking home the Bronze medal, it wouldn't be a stretch to say that Alex's performance was even better. Alex's work was outstanding and he received rave reviews by anyone who saw him. Alex's performance earned him a Plate assignment for one of the Semi-Final games and 2nd base in the Bronze Medal game. Overall, Alex earned a rating of "Accomplished" from the supervisors. What does that mean? To get this rating, the umpire must exceed expectations - not just in one game, but throughout the event. To do so at such a high profile event is a rare occurrence. As an analogy, if he were a player, that means he would be on the All-Star team. Through his efforts, he is now recommended to work at any level national event and is certainly on pace to perhaps some day work an International event. Alex's performance in 2018 is likely the best we have seen from a Nova Scotia umpire in at least the past five years, which has certainly earned him the Ken Evans award.
Newsmaker of the Year - Paige McNally (Hammonds Plains)
What is the definition of a Newsmaker?
Newsmaker: One whose actions make the headlines of news reports; one who affects the course of public discourse
In May Paige was selected by the Toronto Blue Jays to be one of their Unstoppable Kids. The Jays brought her entire family to Toronto to enjoy a game, speak at the Curve Ball Gala at the Rogers Centre, were she stole the show and mingled with the current Jays players. She was also awarded the Hammonds Plains Citizen of the Year and The Nova Scotia Challenger Baseball Award.
Normally, this award is presented to a community program coordinator; however, in 2018, no one has promoted Challenger Baseball across Nova Scotia more than Paige McNally.
Her involvement with the Jays Curve Ball along with numerous interviews led to what we called the “the Paige Effect”. After her story aired on CTV and she made the various social media rounds, Randy Crouse, National Challenger Coordinator said he received over 40 calls and emails.
Congratulations to all of our award winners from across the province on their fantastic year!