Rod Callihoo receiving the 2016 Ken Schultz Memorial Award from Commissioner Riopel and Becky Smith representing the Schultz family.

Commissioner Riopel is seen congratulating Blair McGeough of the Mets, the 2016 MVP selection in the annual All-Star Game.

Joey Greilach, a Governor for the host Orioles, congratulates Jphn Osborne, shortly after the retirement of the latter’s jersey.

Winston Tuttle is all smiles upon being presented with his five year umpire recognition award from Commissioner Riopel.

Shane Hoetmer was recognized by the NCABL and presented with his ten year service award at the 2016 All-Star Game.

Barrhead Fans Cheer Leon’s Carpet & Paint All-Stars to Victory

The first game of the 2016 NCABL Championship Final Series was played at the Edmonton Professional Ball Park under slightly wet field conditions. The Blackhawks came away with a 3 - 0 victory with the best of three Series continuing on Sunday.

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League Championship Final Series Moves to Telus Field
The League has announced a last minute change of venue and game times for the most important series of the 2016 season. The League Championship Final Series between the Edmonton Blackhawks and the Stony Plain Mets will be played at the Edmonton Professional Ball Park formerly known as Telus Field. The times for all games have also changed as a result. The first game of the best of three series will be played on Saturday, August 27th, at 11:30 AM. This will be the only game played on Saturday. The Series will resume on Sunday, August 28th, with a second game scheduled to start at 2:30 PM. A third and final game, if necessary, would follow immediately after the conclusion of the second game. Fans are advised to pass the word around that their last chance to see some of Alberta’s best amateur baseball will be this coming Saturday and Sunday. Admission on both days will be $5. Children ten years and younger will be admitted free of charge if accompanied by an adult. The Ken Schultz Memorial Award, the most coveted award in the NCABL, will be presented on-field just prior to game time along with the NCABL’s Education Grant for superior studies to a worthy recipient from the League’s eligible youth. The latter is being sponsored by Servus Credit Union, Morinville branch.

Blackhawks Sweep Mets At Edmonton Park

Contributed by Earl Thompson & Paul Riopel

Josh Turner and the Mets were in a must win situation as they faced veteran Regan Hoet (regular season ERA of 0.82) in the second game of the LCFS at Edmonton Park. Early on it looked as though the Mets had come to play. In the second inning, Brandon Strocki singled with two out followed by Al Lyster who hit a long single into centre field to score Strocki giving the Mets their first lead in the series.

The lead would be short lived as the Blackhawks came right back in the top of the third with two runs on RBI’s by Kyle Lawrence and Justin Koch. The Blackhawks would add 2 more runs in the 4th on RBI singles by Jamie Gregg and Jarret Brophy. The Blackhawks added a 5th run in the top of the 5th to make it a 5 - 1 game. The Mets showed a little life in their half of the 5th when, with runners on first and second, they attempted to score the lead runner on a hit to right field. A great throw from the outfield caught the runner at the plate and the inning was over. The Mets appeared listless after that closing the game on three consecutive outs.

Regan Hoet went the distance for the win giving up 8 hits, 1 earned run, 2 walks, while collecting three strike outs. Josh Turner also went the distance giving up 11 hits, 4 earned runs, 2 walks while collecting 7 strike outs.

The Blackhawks were presented with the League Championship Trophy for the third time in four years and will once again be wearing the traditional Championship caps which were presented by Commissioner Riopel. Pitcher Kyle Lawrence padded his resume by adding the Most Valuable Player of the Series Award to his regular season MVP award, a most impressive feat. Lawrence pitched 15.33 innings of post-season baseball while recording 1 win and allowing only one run. During that stretch Lawrence struck out 21 batters. When not pitching, Lawrence was rock solid in the outfield. The season closed with the boys of summer still on the field celebrating the moment long after the last fan had left Edmonton Park.

Championship Final Series Opens in Edmonton

Contributed by Earl Thompson & Paul Riopel

Despite having bested the Mets by scores of 7-1 and 16-3 during the regular season, game one of this series between the Blackhawks and Mets was a nail biter.

The Mets went down in order in the top of the first inning, while the Blackhawks scored early in their half of the inning. Kyle Martel stroked a base hit before Justin Koch advanced him to second on a sacrifice bunt. Ryan Gregg’s caught fly ball to right field advanced Martel to third. Kevin Stork’s RBI base hit then brought Martel home. From this point, starting pitchers Mike Cote of the Mets and Kyle Lawrence of the Blackhawks settled in.

The Mets did threaten with two out in the top of the second with back to back base hits from Brandon Strocki and Al Lyster but Lawrence managed to strike out Steve Cote to end the inning.

In the top of the fourth, the Mets once again threatened with two outs when Strocki connected for his second hit of the game followed by an error by Lawrence which left Al Lyster on first. Again with two runners on base, Lawrence struck out Steve Cote on a 2-2 pitch to end the inning and keep the lead at 1-0.

Kevin Geinger replaced Cote on the mound to start the 4th inning. Jamie Gregg promptly got aboard on a throwing error followed by singles from Reschny and Hoet to load the bases. Jamie Gregg scored on a wild pitch giving the Blackhawks a 2-0 lead. The pinch hitter, Brophy, grounded out followed by successive outs on fly balls to the outfield from Martel and Koch to end the threat.

Tyler Lyster led off the top of the fifth with a walk. With two out, McGeough hit a single. Again the Mets failed to capitalize as Turner grounded out to end the top of the fifth.

The Blackhawks made it 3-0 in their half of the sixth when Geinger was touched for a lead off double from Jamie Gregg. Reschny got on as a result of an error to Radke. Hoet stroked an RBI single to score Gregg, but Geinger was able to limit the damage to only one run by striking out Jennings and getting both Martel and Koch to fly out for the second time.

Steve Cote managed to reach first on a lead off walk in the seventh, but the Mets were unable to muster any offence in their last at bats.

Kyle Lawrence threw a complete game 4 hit shutout while walking 3 and striking out 5 batters. Mike Cote took the loss going 3 innings while giving up only 3 hits, 1 earned run, and walking 2 batters.

Final score: Edmonton Blackhawks 3 Stony Plain Mets 0

The first game of the 2016 NCABL Championship Final Series was played at the Edmonton Professional Ball Park under slightly wet field conditions. The Blackhawks came away with a 3 - 0 victory with the best of three Series continuing on Sunday.

Classic Defensive Gem Kick Starts NCABL Semi-Final Series A

Contributed by Earl Thompson & Paul Riopel

The first game of the semi-final Series between the Blackhawks and Red Lions proved to be an exciting and closely contested affair. The game remained scoreless until the top of the 5th inning when, with two out, the Red Lions managed to string two consecutive hits. With two runners on base, Nathan Swap delivered with a sharp single bringing in the first run of the ball game.

With time running out for the Blackhawks in the bottom of the 7th, a lead off base hit followed by a Red Lion error on an attempted sacrifice bunt suddenly gave the Blackhawks new life. Another base hit loaded the bases before Dustin Reschny delivered with yet another single driving in the tying run. With none out the Blackhawks looked confident that the game could be won in walk off fashion. But Curtis Burlet had other ideas as he got the next two Blackhawk batters to fly out before striking out the third to throw the game into extra innings.

This game would see-saw back and forth with both teams having their chances until the bottom of the 10th when with the bases loaded, Ryan Gregg was hit by a pitch bringing in the winning run and giving the Blackhawks the all important first game victory. Kyle Lawrence, the 2016 MVP of the Year, was outstanding on the mound for the Blackhawks amassing 16 strikeouts in 7 and one third innings pitched. Regan Hoet got the win with 2.2 innings pitched. Burlet went the distance in taking the loss giving up 8 hits over ten innings to go along with 5 strikeouts.

Final score: Edmonton Blackhawks 2 Westlock Red Lions 1

Athletics Tamed by the Mets in the First Game of Their Series

Contributed by Earl Thompson

Unfortunately for the second seed Sherwood Park Athletics, this game was over early as the Mets sent 11 batters to the plate in the first inning on the way to scoring 5 runs on 4 hits. With the deficit already significant, the Mets heaped 4 more runs in the third inning to make it a 9 -0 game. In this game, the Athletics could not seem to get anything going against Mets pitcher Josh Turner who went the distance while giving up only 2 hits and 1 walk. Turner struck out 6 batters on his way to recording the win. Catcher Brandon Strocki led the way for the Mets with a double, single, stolen base, walk, and 4 RBI’s.

Final score: Stony Plain Mets 9 Sherwood Park Athletics 0

Blackhawks and Red Lions Keep Fans in Their Seats

Contributed by Earl Thompson & Paul Riopel

Game two in the best of three Series between these two clubs continued where it had left off by providing high drama. The Red Lions took an early lead scoring 2 runs in the bottom of the first and adding a third in the second inning. They looked to be on their way to tying the series until the Blackhawks came roaring back in their half of the fourth by scoring 4 runs to take the lead 4-3. The Red Lions quickly answered with two runs of their own in the bottom of the fourth to regain the lead 5-4.

The Blackhawks would again strike back in the seventh inning with the tying run and in dramatic fashion attempted to score the go ahead run only to be thwarted by Chris Brand’s strong throw from the outfield which cut down the second runner for the third out.

Into extra innings for the second time in the Series did both teams battle with each club seeing opportunities vanish as a result of good defence and outstanding pitching. In the tenth, opportunity knocked for the Blackhawks as they scored two runs to give themselves the lead they would not relinquish. Although the Red Lions responded with a two out double in the bottom of the inning, the Blackhawks took no chances by bringing in Hoet in relief who extinguished any hope the Red Lions may have had of repeating as League Champions. The Series was over after 20 innings of incredibly entertaining baseball which will not be soon forgotten by those fans in attendance.

Final score: Edmonton Blackhawks 7 Westlock Red Lions 5

Mets Advance to LCFS

Contributed by Earl Thompson & Chuck keller

After getting trounced 9-0 in game one of their Series against the Mets, the Sherwood Park Athletics were looking for a bounce back effort to force a 3rd and deciding game.

Game 2, however, started out much the same as game 1 as the Mets’ Chad Spellman led off the bottom of the 1st with a base hit, stole 2nd ,took 3rd on a wild pitch and scored on a bases loaded walk. The Mets went on to score another run in the 2nd inning and took a commanding lead in the 3rd with 4 more runs as starter Brennan Nelson struggled with his control, hitting 3 batters, walking 2 more and giving up a bases loaded double to Chad Spellman. With a 6-0 lead the Mets looked to be in total control.

To their credit, the Athletics did not throw in the towel. RBIs by Cole Viger and Kent Morrison in the 4th inning off starter Kevin Geinger gave the Athletics their first runs of the series narrowing the score to 6-2 after four innings of play.

With reliever Mike Cote now on the mound for the Mets, the Athletics’ Mike Falkins cracked a 2 RBI base hit in the 5th inning to close the gap to 6-4. One inning later, the young Sherwood Park crew tied it up when Henry Duke hit a shot to right field that went for a 2 run triple.

In the top of the seventh, the Athletics threatened to take their first lead of the game only to leave runners stranded on second and third. In the bottom of the seventh with runners on first and second, the Athletics elected to make a pitching change and brought in Henry Duke. Chad Spellman greeted him with a base hit to load the bases. In dramatic walk off fashion, Brad Walde lined a pitch into right field to claim the victory and series for the Mets.

Mike Cote was credited with the win for the Mets while Brennan Nelson, who pitched well for the most part, took the loss. Despite falling in two straight games, the Athletics showed signs of maturing as a team and will undoubtedly be seen again in the League Championship Series. Cole Viger, Evan Hole, and Henry Duke were 2 for 4 on the day for the Athletics, while the Mets were led by Spellman who finished 3 for 5.

Final score: Stony Plain Mets 7 Sherwood Park Athletics 6

University or College Bound NCABL Players Take Note

For the sixth year running, the North Central Alberta Baseball League, in partnership with Servus Credit Union, will be offering an educational grant to a deserving NCABL player who qualifies. The deadline for applications is fast approaching. The application process is relatively simple and all of the details can be found in the Commissioner’s Corner under Contacts on our main page. If you are planning to be in full time attendance at a post secondary institution anywhere in North America in the 2016-17 academic year, you can apply to receive a $500 grant. Simply follow the links and submit your application on or before the regular season deadline date of August 12, 2016. Your League believes in supporting its young players in their academic pursuits as well as providing them with good quality amateur baseball opportunities.

Calling On Our Alumni Everywhere

You’ve heard the buzz by now, but have you signed up yet as an NCABL alumni? The League is currently building a registry of players, managers, coaches, umpires, and sponsors who have at one time or another been involved with us. We have given ourselves six months to reach as many of our former members as possible. It’s easy as pie to register. Simply go to contacts on our main page and scroll down to “register as an NCABL alumni”, or click here. Follow the easy directions and you will be included on our invitation list come January. This will be an invitation to attend two celebrations. The 50th Anniversary All-Star Game, to be hosted in Barrhead in July of 2017 will be the first of two major events. The second will be the 50th Anniversary Alumni Week-End to be held in August of 2017 in Westlock, Alberta. We need your communication skills to help us along, whether these skills are verbal or technological. Get out there and tell your baseball friends all about our upcoming celebrations or get on social media and spread the word that way. Whatever you do, don’t just stand for doing nothing. We want everyone to join us in celebrating a great Alberta tradition, the North Central Alberta Baseball League.

Circling the Bases To Offer 50th Anniversary Updates

Players and fans will have one more reason to tune in to Circling the Bases at any time during the week. With a new show released every Monday night, Earl Thompson’s informative talk show will not only continue to provide timely baseball related news but will also touch upon what might be in the works regarding the upcoming 50th anniversary celebrations. This is the kind of program that you can listen to at any time from the comfort of your home or office by simply finding League on our main page and scrolling down to Circling the Bases. Are you sitting on a new piece of information related to baseball? Why not call Earl to make him aware of it?

Club stats released August 12, 2016
LCS Club stats released August 29, 2016
Barrhead Orioles
Camrose Axemen St. Albert Cardinals
Edmonton Athletics Sherwood Park Athletics
Edmonton Blackhawks Stony Plain Mets
Edmonton Primeaus Sturgeon Paladins
Westlock Red Lions