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July 23, 2019 July 23, 2019

Running of the Bulls

Posted on June 19, 2019 by Lethbridge Sun Times
Lethbridge Herald file photo by Ian Martens Fort McMurray Giants’ Jordan Stickler gets caught in a rundown at third by Lethbridge Bulls’ starting pitcher Andrew Grieder during 2018 Western Canadian Baseball League action at Spitz Stadium. The Bulls are back for another season of exciting baseball action.

The annual running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain takes place each July as part of the San Fermín festival.
But those who don’t want to travel that great distance can just head to Spitz Stadium to see the Bulls run … and hit, and throw, and field.
The Lethbridge Bulls have embarked on another season of exciting Western Canadian Baseball League action, and fans of the summer pastime will find a high calibre of play in the WCBL, Canada’s most recognized summer collegiate baseball league. Professional scouts have compared the league to the Single A professional level. In addition, those who still prefer the crack of the bat to the clink will appreciate that the WCBL is a wood-bat league.
The WCBL is made up of teams from across Alberta and Saskatchewan. The Alberta division features the Bulls along with the Edmonton Prospects, Fort McMurray Giants, Okotoks Dawgs, Medicine Hat Mavericks and Brooks Bombers. The Saskatchewan division includes the Swift Current 57s, Weyburn Beavers, Moose Jaw Miller Express, Melville Millionaires, Yorkton Cardinals and Regina Red Sox.
In putting together the Bulls roster, team officials focus first on recruiting from the local Prairie Baseball Academy and Vauxhall Academy of Baseball, followed by finding Canadian athletes, and then supplement the group with quality American and other non-Canadian players.
The 2019 roster features catcher Jaret Semeniuk (from Edmonton), infielder Torrin Vaselenak (a Coaldale product) and pitchers Kyle Poapst (from Stettler) and Cal Tecklenburg (Calgary), all from the Prairie Baseball Academy, as well as four players from the Vauxhall Academy, infielder Liam Vulcano and pitchers Chase Florendine (from Lethbridge), Adam Macko (from Stony Plain) and Evan O’Toole (from Bridgewater, Nova Scotia).
Other Lethbridge players include infielders Ty Penner, attending the University of British Columbia, and Nick Ankermann, from Eastern New Mexico University and pitcher Tevin Hall from Montana State University at Billings.
The Bulls are guided on the field by head coach Jesse Sawyer, from South Dakota State University and his staff of Luc Hebert and Chance Wheatley, both from the Prairie Baseball Academy.
The Bulls began play in late May and the regular season winds up Aug. 6, followed by playoffs. The Bulls finished fourth in 2018 with a 19-29 record during what was viewed as a rebuilding year. This year, the Bulls anticipate contending for the league championship.
Among the key returns are first baseman Kaleb Warden, 2018 WCBL Rookie of the Year award winner, and Semeniuk, the 2018 WCBL Canadian Rookie of the Year award winner. A year ago, Warden batted 369 with seven home runs and 38 RBI in 46 games, while Semeniuk led all WCBL catchers in batting average and on base percentage at .371 and .451 respectively over 30 games.
Other notables back with the Bulls this year are shortstop Nick Ankermann, third baseman Dylan Borman and pitcher Jaden Griffin.
Ankermann is in his third season in the WCBL and second with the Bulls. The righty-swinging shortstop played for the Eastern New Mexico University Greyhounds in the NCAA Division II – Lone Star Division this past season and put up tremendous numbers, batting .360 with and 29 RBI in 44 games.
Borman is heading into his third season with Lethbridge and is coming off a 2018 season in which he hit .282 with seven home runs and 35 RBI in 44 games.
Griffin, a lefty from attending Virginia Commonwealth University, was one of the Bulls’ most consistent starting pitchers in 2018, posting a 3.19 ERA, while striking out 28 batters in five starts for the Bulls.
Other returnees include second baseman Ashton Roy, outfielder Brett Mercier, and pitchers Kyle Poapst, Ben Erwin and Liam Sabiston.
For more about the Bulls, including their season schedule, visit the website at http://www.bullsbaseball.com.

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