Commissioner's Corner

North Central Alberta Baseball League

Highlights from the 2017 Spring Board of Governors Meeting

A. Governors will be looking at giving new life to the High School Outreach Program by revisiting it in the fall. The recruitment of young athletes for the umpire mentorship program was the central purpose of this initiative.
B. A comprehensive report on the 50th anniversary events was presented. Governors have been asked to provide their current player rosters to League Office along with E-mail addresses before April 1. The League will then automatically add the 2017 rosters onto its alumni registry guaranteeing that all current players will be receiving an invitation to the week-end reunion.
C. Commissioner Riopel will have presented the League's package of 50th anniversary activities to ten municipal councils before mid-April.
D. The NCABL will proudly open its Hall of Fame on April 6th in Morinville. The Hall will be the first sport specific Hall of Fame to have been opened by an independent League in Alberta.
E. The All-Star Game, hosted by the St. Albert Cardinals, will feature a family themed tail gate party on July 16th, 2017.
F. The alumni week-end taking place from August 18-20th in Westlock, Alberta will feature an NCABL presence in Friday's parade plus a meet and greet called "The NCABL Story" on Friday night. Fifty impact players from all ten decades will be honoured on this night.
G. An alumni golf tournament has been included in the festivities for the 50th.
H. A sport and leisure expo called "Salute to Out Communities" will be a great place to spend a Saturday afternoon during the alumni week-end with many municipalities present each offering a free raffle on great prizes. A main stage will buzz with entertainment from local high schools, while a few interactive games will surely keep dad and sons busy challenging one another.
I. Festivities will officially close with the 50th anniversary gala banquet featuring well known media types who will be spinning their best ever sports related stories. The annual League awards will also be incorporated during the banquet.
J. Early bird invitation packages will be launched on-line sometime in mid-April. The League encourages early registrations by offering great value on week-end packages.
G. Governors will be selling individual tickets to the 50th anniversary gala banquet beginning in early May.
L. The Orioles will not be returning to the NCABL for the 50th edition. Nine returning clubs will be playing a 72 game schedule which begins on May 7th.
M. Two clubs are on the move. The Blackhawks will be playing out of the Edmonton Professional Baseball Park while the Sherwood Park Athletics will be returning to Centennial Park after a multiyear absence.
N. Governors ratified an eight man roster to serve as its core of umpires this season. Named to the core are returnees M. Beaudry, A. Becigneul, J. Crawford, S. Hoetmer, P. Riopel, P. Milberry, and W. Tuttle. Newly appointed to the core will be B. Duncan.
O. The Official Scoring Clinic will be held on Saturday, April 29th, at Bessie Nichols School.
P. Our own Earl Thompson will be back on the air with "Circling the Bases" again this season. Look for a new League twitter account to be opened as well.
Q. An early spring camp for all interested NCABL players will be organized by the Blackhawks sometime in April with dates and times to be posted on our website.
R. Spring Training Camps will once again be including a presentation of the League's Code of Ethics along with particulars on new guidelines related to player and coach ejections.
S. The LCS will be League sponsored for the 50th and held at the Edmonton Professional Baseball Park on August 26th and 27th.
T. Coverage in the post-season will be handled with a three-man umpire system.

Highlights from the 2016 Fall Bi-Annual Board of Governors Meeting

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 violations.
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.

North Central Alberta Baseball League
Award Ceremony Held on August 20, 2016
At Keller Field in Westlock, Alberta

Presentation of the Servus Cup:
Recipient: Edmonton Blackhawks

The Edmonton Blackhawks have joined a select group by capturing a third consecutive NCABL pennant. Only the Morinville Pioneers and Westlock Red Lions, who accomplished this feat on three separate occasions, have this claim to fame. The Blackhawks were undefeated in the first half of the regular season and completed the regular season with a record of 15 wins and only three losses besting the surging Sherwood Park Athletics by a single game. The Blackhawks allowed only 34 runs while scoring 180 over the regular season eclipsing their 2015 accomplishments by a wide margin. The NCABL wishes to congratulate the Blackhawks for an exceptional regular season by presenting them with the Servus Cup, emblematic of regular season supremacy in the North Central Alberta Baseball League.

Presentation of the Bob Kootenay Memorial Award:
Presented to the Manager of the Year:

Recipient: Brett McElroy of the Sherwood Park Athletics

A very young Brett McElroy broke into the NCABL six seasons ago after having been given the reigns of a very youthful club, most of whom were fresh out of Sherwood Parks’ Midget AAA program. Three years later, Brett led his club into the post-season for the first time repeating that feat the following year. After missing the post season in each of the following two seasons, McElroy guided the Athletics to their best regular season ever in 2016 finishing second to the Blackhawks while recording a record of 14 wins and 4 losses. The Athletics were red hot in the second half of the season and hope to capitalize on that momentum going into the post season. Brett McElroy, from a very young age, has always conducted himself in an exemplary fashion on the playing field, displaying good sportsmanship and a cool demeanour. His leadership style has earned him the respect of his peers. In recognition of his dedication, success, and personal growth as a Manager, the NCABL wishes to honour Brett with the Bob Kootenay Memorial Award presented annually to the Manager of the Year.

Tabulated results for the 2016 Manager of the Year:
Ballot Points
Brett McElroy Sherwood Park Athletics 58
Randy Gregg Edmonton Blackhawks 44
Brad Walde Stony Plain Mets 36

Presentation of the Most Valuable Player of the Year Award:
Presented to the player who has distinguished himself throughout the regular season by his exceptional offensive and defensive abilities resulting in the highest level of performance.

Recipient: Kyle Lawrence of the Edmonton Blackhawks

Kyle Lawrence is another of those unassuming athletes whose contributions to the success of the Blackhawks has been monumental this season. A reliable outfielder who usually patrols right field, Kyle enjoyed a breakout season at the plate. Kyle placed 9th on the NCABL’s regular season top twenty list on his way to recording a .444 batting average. He saw the ball exceptionally well all season long striking out only twice on 45 official at bats. Lawrence scored 22 runs while driving in 9 for the pennant champion Blackhawks. But Kyle’s contributions to his club’s success did not stop there. When called upon to pitch this season, Kyle delivered in spades and an assortment of difficult to hit pitches which earned him the second best ERA in the League behind teammate Regan Hoet, last season’s MVP. Lawrence logged more innings for the Blackhawks than any other of their pitchers. He registered a 1.13 ERA on 43.33 innings pitched. Lastly, Lawrence led all pitchers in recording a whopping 66 strikeouts. Among his four credited wins was a late season no-hitter. Kyle Lawrence is a most deserving winner of the Most Valuable Player of the year award and the League wishes to congratulate him on his exceptional season of play.

Tabulated results for the 2016 Top Ten Most Valuable Players:
Ballot Points
Kyle Lawrence Edmonton Blackhawks 62
Josh Turner Stony Plain Mets 55
Blair Mulder Camrose Axemen 48
Forrest Hisey Sherwood Park Athletics 44
Blair Cowley Edmonton Primeaus 40
Austin Watamaniuk Westlock Red Lions 27
Brent Wierenga Barrhead Orioles 24
Kyle Fagnan Edmonton Primeaus 40
Nick Audet Edmonton Athletics 19
Taylor Heck Barrhead Orioles 18

Presentation of the Dan Gerlach Memorial Award:
Presented to the Most Promising Junior Player of the Year in the NCABL

Recipient: Forrest Hisey of the Sherwood Park Athletics

Forrest Hisey, a junior aged player, enjoyed his best season of his young career in 2016. His greatest contributions came on the hill where his 1.73 ERA solidified third place among the League’s elite top ten pitchers. Only teammate Brennan Nelson registered a better record but his 12 innings of work were no match for the 28 and one third innings logged by Hisey. Forrest finished the regular season with 4 W, 1 L, and 1 Save giving the Athletics a solid outing each time. Forrest also recorded a solid .347 batting average scoring 12 runs and driving in 17. Hisey’s ability to hit for power was also evident as he led the entire League in home runs with three.

Tabulated results for the 2016 Most Promising Junior Player of the Year
Ballot Points
Forrest Hisey Sherwood Park Athletics 66
Cody McElroy Sherwood Park Athletics 58
Kento Vanzwoll St. Albert Cardinals 32

Fan of the Year Recognition

Every season, clubs are invited to nominate one of their fans whose loyalty, commitment, and service to the club have been greatly appreciated throughout the season. The NCABL wishes to acknowledge two such fans today. The Edmonton Primeaus join the NCABL in thanking Cathy Fagnan. The St. Albert Cardinals join the NCABL in thanking Pat Sullivan.

North Central Alberta Baseball League
Award Ceremony Held on August 28, 2016
At Telus Field in Edmonton, Alberta

Presentation of the NCABL Education Grant
Sponsored by Servus Credit Union
Recipient: Forrest Hisey of the Sherwod Park Athletics

This year’s recipient of the NCABL’s Education Grant hails from Sherwood Park and is a junior aged member of the Athletics. Forrest Hisey’s on-field accomplishments this season earned him the Dan Gerlach Memorial Award as the most promising junior player in the NCABL. His 1.73 ERA placed him among the League’s elite pitchers and at 21 years of age, the youngest player to position himself within the League’s top ten pitchers this season. In addition to his interest in baseball, Forrest is focused on obtaining a political science degree with a major in environmental studies before pursuing a law degree with a specialization in environmental issues. Forrest is currently enrolled as a sophomore at Augustana College in Rock Island , Illinois. He plans on continuing to play baseball on the Augustana College Varsity Baseball club as he dedicates himself to also completing his educational pursuits. The NCABL and its sponsor, Servus Credit Union, is proud to support Forrest in reaching his stated goals. Here today to accept the NCABL Education Grant on behalf of her son is Mrs. Hisey. Once again, our congratulations and best wishes to Forrest on having been chosen as this year’s recipient.

Presentation of the Ken Schultz Memorial Award:
Presented to an individual who has distinguished himself/herself over an extended period of time within a franchised area of the NCABL as a builder, administrator, promoter, or umpire in the game of baseball. This is the highest individual honor bestowed by the North Central Alberta Baseball League. The award, annually supported by the Schultz family, commemorates the life and contributions of a member of the Schultz family who showed exemplary courage in battling a life-ending condition while demonstrating his love of the game of baseball by serving as one of the NCABL's elite core of umpires for many years.

Recipient: Rod Callihoo, Barrhead

Rod Callihoo’s love of baseball began early in life and has only grown since then as measured by his dedication and commitment to the game over the years. Rod used his years as a player for the Barrhead Orioles as a springboard to his involvement with the game in later years. From coaching in the Barrhead Minor Baseball system to planning all of the schedules for Barrhead’s launch into competitive baseball, Rod will be best remembered and admired for the way he treated kids. Under Rod’s leadership, no child sat and everyone benefitted from Rod’s knowledge of the game of baseball. It was not uncommon for Rod’s minor division teams to practice four times per week. It was also not uncommon to see Rod organizing work bees to do repairs to bleachers, fences, or backstops and to spend countless hours grooming the fields those children would play on.

When Rod Callihoo first joined the board and became Vice-President of Barrhead Minor Baseball, baseball was struggling in Barrhead and enrolments were down. When Rod left the board as President ten years later in 2015, Barrhead’s baseball program had seen a dramatic improvement in both the number of participants as well as in the quality of play. Competitive baseball had returned to Barrhead and a large measure of that success story is owed to Rod Callihoo, whose vision and guidance made it all happen. Today, two Midget teams take to the field in Barrhead where a few short years ago none existed. The Barrhead Orioles who were absent from the NCABL for years have also returned with a promising outlook for the future. Rod has not only given of his time and talents to baseball and softball, but to other sports as well. Rod is a highly respected high school volleyball coach. He has helped Barrhead High School reach the provincial championship round as head coach and assistant coach over ten consecutive years.

Rod has the ability to reach people in an unassuming manner. This attribute defines him as a leader and a special person in his community. Today, the NCABL wishes to recognize Rod as a community leader and a tireless worker in our baseball community. Here to present Rod with the Ken Schultz Memorial Award is Becky Smith, niece of both Ken and Tim Schultz.

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

Presentation of the Most Valuable Player in the Championship Series

Presented to: Kyle Lawrence of the Edmonton Blackhawks

Kyle Lawrence continued where he left off during the regular season by demonstrating why he was the most consistent performer under any kind of pressure situation. The crafty pitcher was chosen to take the mound for the all important first game of the LCFS . He faced 29 Mets batters over seven complete innings allowing 4 hits and 3 walks on his way to blanking the opposition by a 3 - 0 score. During the post season, Kyle threw a total of 15.3 innings while giving up 11 hits and only one earned run. His 21 post season strike-outs led the field. When not pitching, Lawrence was used in the outfield where he turned in a solid performance. Despite a cold bat, Lawrence was by far the shining star among a strong supporting cast.


Official Scoring Clinic

An official list of all accredited scorers in the NCABL follows below. Please remember that to retain your accreditation in the NCABL you must score a minimum of one regular season or post-season game in the year in which you obtained accreditation and continue to do so in all subsequent years without interruption. Failure to maintain your active status with the NCABL will result in your having to re-certify yourself through attendance at another scoring clinic. Only one official scorer's name may appear on any one game sheet.

Regulations governing the use of official scorers in the NCABL:

A. Clubs must utilize accredited official scorers for all regular season games to avoid penalties.
B. A scorer shall be accredited upon being certified following the completion of a full course at an NCABL sponsored Official Scoring Clinic.
C. Accreditation shall remain in force providing that an official scorer has scored a minimum of one regular or post-season NCABL game without interruption beginning in the year of certification. Otherwise, re-certification is necessary to receive accreditation.
D. Only one Official Scorer per game shall be so designated.
E. All official scorers shall occupy an off-field location and may not double as managers, coaches, or players in any game be they accredited or otherwise.
F. Game summaries shall be computer driven and submitted electronically within 48 hours of game time by the Official Scorer to League Office and both club Managers.
G. Hard copies of the official game sheet shall be mailed to League Office within two days of game time by the Official Scorer.
H. H. Sponsoring clubs shall assume all of the liability for the failure of an Official Scorer to meet any of the requirements stated above

If you wish to inquire as to your status as an official scorer in the NCABL, please direct your inquiries to the

Lists of Accredited Scorers

The North Central Alberta Baseball League partners with Servus

The North Central Alberta Baseball League has been growing younger as many more clubs with an emphasis on development have joined the League in recent years. With an average age hovering around 24 years, it was evident that more youth were looking at playing in the NCABL with an eye to furthering not only their education but their baseball careers as well. This spurned the idea to begin attracting young talent into the NCABL by offering programs which would support both their educational endeavors as well as their baseball development.

Since 2011, the NCABL has been offering a further education grant to one lucky baseball player. If you qualify, do not hesitate to submit your application. Details are as follows:

Who qualifies?

Any NCABL player who is planning to attend a post-secondary institution on a full time basis in the 2017-18 school year.

Said applicant must be officially registered with the NCABL and must have met eligibility requirements for post-season play in the year of application.

Said applicant must be prepared to give proof of full time attendance at a post-secondary institution in the year following receipt of this award.

Application requirements?

The League has kept the application requirements simple to encourage all school bound athletes to apply. Simply submit your complete personal minor baseball history in point form along with the names and phone numbers of at least two of your minor division Managers from different age categories.

Then compose a short essay of 200 to 300 words in which you will be expected to share your views as to how your chosen field of study will help you to realize your personal goals and how these goals might benefit society.

Include the name and address of the institution you plan on attending, and provide the telephone number of the Registrar of this institution.

Deadline for application?

August 1, 2017.  This date does not coincide with the deadline date for regular season play in the NCABL.

Where do I send my application?

Mail your completed application to:

North Central Alberta Baseball League
P.O. Box 3298
Morinville, Alberta
T8R 1S2


Fax your completed application to: North Central Alberta Baseball League