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.

Click on picture for larger print

Have You Registered As An NCABL Alumni Yet?

Our 50th anniversary year is just around the corner and the NCABL is planning to celebrate this milestone event in a big way. We have been busy locating all of our players, managers, coaches, and umpires over the past year, but many of you have not yet found your way onto our alumni registry. E-mail invitations will be sent out to everyone on that alumni registry and these invitations will be issued early in the new year. We do not want you to be left out. So take a few minutes right now and click here, which will lead you through a very quick and easy registration process. Many clubs have enjoyed years of quality baseball as members of our great League and we would like nothing more than to have you gather everyone with whom you shared such great memories as players and bring them together for both a team reunion and League celebration. We will even honour individual requests for special group seating at the Gala Banquet so that you can spend quality time reminiscing with all of the old boys of summer. Over the coming months, more and more details will be released through our website regarding our six major events and ten smaller commemorative events organized by each of our current clubs. The 2017 season will be a blast for all five decades of players who donned uniforms in the NCABL. We want you all there. To help us locate a greater number of alumni, we are welcoming volunteers to serve as club representatives. Simply contact me, your commissioner ,to let me know which of the clubs listed below you would be willing to represent by searching for their E-mail addresses and a current telephone number. With your help, we hope to reach hundreds who once played this wonderful game in the north central Alberta area.

Traditional Sanctioned Tournaments Face Extinction

In an unprecedented move, Governors at the 2016 NCABL Fall Bi-Annual Meeting held in St. Albert voted to end the guaranteed status of a long standing tradition in the League, that of the sanctioned tournament package. The NCABL had supported the sanctioned tournaments through enforced legislation for fortynine years. As time elapsed since the founding of the League in 1968, the package of protected tournaments had dropped from eight, to six (affectionately known as the six-pack), and finally to four in more recent years. Despite an impassioned plea from Commissioner Riopel, the Board saw no benefit to sustaining the sanctioned tournament package beyond 2016. Financial considerations and a lower commitment by players to week-end baseball events were the main reasons cited by those who spoke to eliminate the compulsory nature of these tournaments. The tournament circuit in north central Alberta was immediately impacted with the withdrawal of the Blue Heron Invitational Tournament in Barrhead and that of the Rainmaker Invitational Tournament in St. Albert. The Blue Willow Invitational Tournament had voluntarily withdrawn from the sanctioned tournament circuit this past season, but did not host a tournament in 2016. This will leave only two declared sanctioned tournaments for 2017.

The idea behind the introduction of a guaranteed package of sanctioned tournaments in the NCABL was spurned by a desire to offer clubs who might want to adopt a developmental strategy (also referred to as a designation) an opportunity to play approximately forty games per season within a tight geographical area. Short travel distances meant less time spent on the road at less cost to those clubs. This model also allowed clubs who were not interested in embarking in a developmental program an equal opportunity to belong to the NCABL by committing only to regular season play. Developmental clubs, on the other hand, had the opportunity of doubling the number of games played during the regular season by adding tournament play to their schedules. The League’s model of offering a regular season in conjunction with a sanctioned tournament package followed that of the USA’s collegiate model of conference and non-conference play where only conference games dictate standings, but where nonconference play allows for stronger player development through any chosen number of additional games. By cutting the support for a mandatory package of sanctioned tournaments, the League will no longer be as attractive to those clubs looking to adopt a developmental strategy. As for clubs opting for the competitive or even the quasi-developmental models, this change will have little to no effect. The only lament, if any is to be heard, will be that tournaments will be fewer in number and farther to reach for those who still are drawn to the flavour of a challenging week-end of baseball and the camaraderie both on and off the field surrounding these team building moments.

Which Club(s) Have You Played For?

The following alphabetical listing of clubs should jog your memory and wet your appetite for our biggest baseball gathering yet. For a summary of major events and dates, go to League and scroll down to our calendar. Have fun recalling those times when you wore a uniform for one or more of our family of clubs. In case you haven’t counted, sixty-two clubs have played in the NCABL over its 50 year history. That number will remain providing no new franchises apply to the League for the 2017 regular season.

Alexander Braves Legal Pontiacs
Alexander Jr. Braves Legal Primeaus
Alexis Athletics Linaria Flyers
Athabasca Angels Mayerthorpe Mets
Athabasca Lions Mayerthorpe Mustangs
Athabasca Ravens Morinville Manufacturers
Bon Accord Tigers Morinville Merchants
Barrhead Astros Morinville Merlins
Barrhead Blue Jays Morinville PBI
Barrhead Broncos Morinville Pioneers
Barrhead Cardinals Morinville Primeaus
Barrhead Orioles Namao
Barrhead Yankees Parkland Whitesox
Barrhead Jr. Yankees Redwater Pontiacs
Camrose Axemen Rochester Lyons
Easyford Colts Rochester Royals
Edmonton Athletic St. Albert
Edmonton Blackhawks St. Albert Cardinals
Edmonton Indians St. Albert Mariners
Edmonton Jays Sherwood Park Athletics
Edmonton North Stars Spruce Grove Cubs
Edmonton Primeaus Stony Plain Mets
Edmonton Stars Sturgeon Paladins
Edmonton Warriors Sturgeon Rustlers
Fawcett Pirates Vimy Blues
St. Saskatchewan Pirates Waskatenau Chiefs
Gibbons Westlock Astros
Grant MacEwan Griffins Westlock Chevies
Horse Hill Westlock Cobras
Lac La Biche Loggers Westlock Legionnaires
Lamont Westlock Red Lions
Legal Indians

Highlights From the Fall-Bi-Annual Board of Governors Meeting

1 In preparation for the 50th anniversary alumni week-end in 2017, the NCABL hopes to have all
press books ready and available for viewing. Helpers with a flair for putting together scrapbooks
are welcome to contact League Office and to offer to help.
2 The alumni directory has now received about 300 names, but many remain to be added. If you
have played for any of the 63 clubs that have been members of the NCABL at some point in our
history, the League needs you to help us find your fellow teammates by volunteering as a club
representative. Your team reunion can coincide with our League festivities during Canada’s
150th birthday celebrations.
3 The NCABL will be offering a closed advanced baseball scoring session to all of its official scorers
next Spring. Attendance is strongly encouraged but remains optional. The annual official scoring
clinic will continue to be offered and is scheduled for Saturday, April 29th, 2017.
4 Following a detailed survey, League Governors decided not to expand the geographic boundaries
of the NCABL thereby discouraging bids from clubs such as the Cold Lake Cardinals who had
expressed some interest in joining the NCABL.! !
5 . The popular podcast “Circling the Bases” will be returning for another series of eighteen weekly
airings beginning in May of next year with our host Earl Thompson.
6 The 2017 NCABL regular season will open on Sunday, May 7th.
7 The second of six major celebratory events slated for our 50th anniversary celebrations will be
hosted by St. Albert on Sunday, July 16th, and will incorporate the 2017 All-Star Game
8 The NCABL will be implementing a three-man system for all post-season play beginning in 2017
whenever qualified umpiring personnel are available.
9 Another NCABL banner will be designed and ready for the 2017 season compliments of the
Morinville Servus Credit Union.
10 Sanctioned tournaments were deemed to be dispensable and will no longer be a guaranteed
fixture in the NCABL.
11 Governors approved the Diamond D1PRO baseball as the official League baseball until the next
review in 2019.
12 Governors approved a comprehensive set of disciplinary guidelines to be implemented beginning
in 2017. These guidelines delve into both fines and suspensions relating to game control
13 The NCABL will be opening its Hall of Fame on April 6th, 2017, in Morinville’s Historical Museum.
This event has been in the planning stages for over three years and will be the first of six major
events being planned to celebrate the 50th anniversary of our very progressive League.
14 Commissioner Paul Riopel was returned to his familiar role as Commissioner of the NCABL in
2017. A surprise announcement followed as a new Associate-Commissioner was nominated in
the person of Mr. Ed Ewasiuk who will be assisting Mr. Riopel during an action packed season
next year.

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.

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