Three members of the 2015 Okanagan Athletics have secured baseball scholarships to colleges in the United States.
After Matt Brodt’s performance on the weekend in Langley, he could very well be following in his teammates south of the border.
The Penticton native held a potent Langley Blaze lineup hitless for a complete seven-inning 2-1 B.C. Premier (Midget) Baseball League victory. The 17-year-old also connected for two hits himself in the team’s only win in four starts on the weekend.
Brodt said he wasn’t thinking about the no-no until the bottom of the seventh inning.
“I thought, holy, I’ve got a no-hitter going. I had to tell myself to stop thinking about it, but just keep doing what I’m doing and see what happens.”
What Brodt was doing was throwing his fastball in the right location and keep the Blaze off balance with a curveball — a combination that produced his first-ever no-hitter of his baseball career.
“I can’t even remember coming close to a no-hitter before,” said Brodt, who issued three walks in the ballgame.
“I wasn’t doing anything different than in the other games, but the guys behind me were playing steady and things just fell into place,” noted Brodt, who couldn’t recall any notable plays that saved the no-hitter.
“Most of the balls stayed in the infield. I think maybe two or three were popped up to the outfield.”
In his second season with the A’s, Brodt plans to return to the Kelowna-based team for the 2016 season. He said he hasn’t been scouting out possible scholarship opportunities, but will definitely start looking around for a college or university next season.
The A’s managed just five hits themselves in their only win. The deciding one came off the bat of Trevor Lofstrom, who earlier in the day signed a letter of intent to play with El Paso Community College in Texas next season.
With Brodt on with a single, Lofstrom put the sweet part of the bat on a rising inside fastball from Cooper Misic and powered it over the leftfield fence for his second home run and 19th run-batted-in of the season.
Langley’s only run came in the bottom of the fifth inning with the help of two Okanagan errors.
There was a downhill trend after the opener, as the A’s fell 8-3 in the second game on Saturday and dropped 7-1 and 5-3 decisions on Sunday, earning the third-place Blaze a 22-10 record — four games up on the sixth-place Athletics (18-14).
While the A’s could muster a total of only 13 hits and seven runs in the final three games, Brodt for one doesn’t believe his team is outmatched by the Blaze.
“This a good team we have — we’ve been hurt badly by injuries and we were missing guys because of graduation on the weekend, so we know we can hold our own against a team like Langley. They’re definitely beatable,” said the Grade 12 student at Pen-Hi.
Lofstrom echoed his teammate’s sentiments.
“I believe we can play with anybody in this league, especially when we’re healthy. We go into every weekend seriously believing we can win the series.”
The El Paso Tejanos also believe they have a winner in Lofstrom, who received a full-ride scholarship and will report to camp in mid-August.
An athletic 6-foot-4, 205 pounds, Lofstrom has all the physical tools to develop into a legitimate NCAA Div. 1 ballplayer, although his 2015 stats in BCPBL could bely the fact without close scrutiny.
He’s hitting a so-so .272 and leads the team in strikeouts with 28, but he’s second on the team in RBI with 19 (Sam Avila leads with 27) and he’s tied with Chase Decosse for extra-base hits with nine, including his two homers and pair of triples.
“Sure I’d like to see my average go up, but I’m hitting the ball much harder and further than last year, so I feel good about that,” he noted. “Guys are playing me a lot deeper this year — mostly at the warning track — so I have to adjust to that a bit. Hopefully the ball will just start to fall in more.”
Coach Evan Bailey says he’s “honoured” to be able to send a “high-level player and quality individual” to his alma mater in El Paso.
“I’ve had the pleasure of working with Trevor the past six years and have enjoyed watching him develop as a baseball player and as a young man,” said Bailey. “In my six years coaching the A’s, I’ve never seen a player as dedicated to baseball as Trevor. He truly works his butt off in every aspect of the game.”
He believes Lofstrom has earned every single penny of his significant scholarship.
“Trevor possesses a combination of athleticism, ability, strength and the highest baseball IQ I’ve seen in a high school player to this point. I look forward to following his progress.”
Meanwhile Trevor Mlait, a schoolmate of Lofstrom’s at Mt. Boucherie, has signed on with the Eastern Utah University Eagles baseball team in Price, Utah for the 2015-16 season.
Mlait, a 5-foot-8, 175-pound outfielder, leads the Athletics with a .375 average, although he’s missed almost half the season due to injury.
Bailey believes Mlait would be a great fit for any college program.
“He’s a hard-nosed kid with an aggressive mindset,” said Bailey. “Trevor truly demonstrates an all-around package with his athletic ability, academics, work ethic and desire to get better every day.
“It’s been a pleasure coaching Trevor. He’s been a great mentor for the younger players the past couple of years and no one has worked harder on and off the field.”
Mlait’s teammate, Decosse, will join Mlait at Eastern Utah.
The Penticton minor baseball product, is an A student at Kelowna Secondary School this season and he’s matched that kind of rating on the field with the baseball A’s.
Leading the team in doubles with eight, Decosse is fourth in RBI with 15 and sports a .287 average.
Just as important to coach Bailey and his future coaches in Utah, is that there appears to be a huge upside to the 5-foot-9 catcher.
“I ‘m so proud of Chase signing this scholarship,” said Bailey. “He has worked very hard over the past couple of years and has improved immensely. I know coach Madsen (Scott) is excited to be getting a player like Chase, who works very hard, listens and is eager to learn and get better each game out.”
Meanwhile, the A’s are off this weekend, and won’t be back in action until the 12th annual Baseball Blast, hosted by the Kelowna Jays June 25-28.
The Athletics will be among 12 college, senior and semi-pro teams in the tournament competing for $10,000 in prize money.
D-Backs Steal One From AAA Cubs
The Kelowna Cubs had their chances, but couldn’t score a run for a second straight game against the West Kelowna D-Backs in B.C. Midget AAA Baseball League play on Wednesday.
Outhitting the D-Backs (8-4), the Cubs left nine runners on base and ended up dropping a 2-0 decision to the visiting West Kelowna team at Lombardy Park.
West Kelowna, improving to 19-12 on the season, scored the only runs they’d need in the second inning to record their third consecutive regular-season win over the newly formed across-the-bridge rivals.
Ty Loeppky led off the second with a walk and Nick Ostromfollowed with a single, while the two of them advanced a base on a passed ball. Cam Rasmussenscored Loeppky with a groundout to shortstop, while Ostrom crossed on a Jacob Hollandgroundout to first base.
Starting pitcher, Carter Martenssurvived the eight-hit Kelowna attack over the first five innings to secure the win on the mound. He struck out five Cubs batters and issued one walk. Jamie Pavia mopped up with two hitless innings that saw him strike out four.
Meanwhile, Gavin Barrett came through with a stellar performance for the Cubs (9-19), limiting the D-Backs to just three hits over the seven innings. He had one strikeout and walked two.
Along with teammate Taylor deGruchy, Barrett also contributed two hits.
The D-Backs were coming off a weekend in which they dropped a pair of games (8-7 and 8-2) to first-place Ridge Meadows (22-3) and split a pair (lost 2-1 and won 3-1) with host Tri City Indians.
In their only win, West Kelowna overcame a 1-0 first-inning deficit with a run in the sixth inning and two in the seventh. Pavia led the D-Backs with a pair of hits, while Chase Gaudette went the distance off the rubber. He limited Tri City to five hits and struck out six in a complete-game seven-inning effort.
The Cubs split their four games on the road on the weekend. They swept Tri City 2-1 and 4-0, while dropping 11-1 and 13-3 decisions to Ridge Meadows.
deGruchy connected for two hits and drove in two runs to lead the Cubs in the 4-0 win over Tri City, while Brandon Ludwig picked up the win by holding the Indians to three hits over 5 2/3 innings, while striking out six. Dante Dennisheld the hosts hitless the rest of the way.
In the 2-1 victory, the Cubs scored the deciding run in the top of the seventh inning to make a winner of Barrett, who went 5 2/3 innings and allowed just two runs and struck out seven. Dennis again came in relief, allowing one hit.
The Cubs are back on the road this weekend when they travel to Chilliwack for a pair of games on Saturday. On Sunday, they’re in Aldergrove for a twinbill.
Meanwhile, the D-Backs are at home on Saturday, playing host to the Vernon Canadians at noon and 3:30 p.m. at Boucherie Park. They travel to Vernon on Sunday for a return doubleheader.