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Tournaments  | Story  | 7/6/2019

It's the Dawgs' day at 18u BCS

Jeff Dahn     
Photo: Okotoks Dawgs 18u Black

FORT MYERS, Fla. – The championship trophy, banner and rings awarded to the winner of the Perfect Game 18u BCS National Championship are heading back across the U.S.’s northern border once again, but this championship didn’t happen without a fight – a real “Dawg” fight, you might say.

The Okotoks Dawgs 18u Black broke out their bats and broke open a 2-2 tie with an impressive four-run fifth inning, and went on to beat SBO 17u, 7-3, in the 18u BCS championship game played Saturday morning at City of Palms Park.

The victory enabled the Dawgs 18u Black – a program based in Okotoks, Alberta – to complete an 8-0-0 run through the PG 18u BCS field. They became the first team from Canada to win the championship at this event since the Ontario Blue Jays accomplished the feat at COP Park in 2015.

The Dawgs jumped to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning only to watch SBO 17u (3-4-2) come back to tie it with two of their own in the top of the second. It stayed that way until the guys from up north pulled away in the fifth.

“I was very proud about how the guys responded today,” Dawgs 18u Black head coach Jeff Duda told PG in postgame comments. “Early on, there were some good opportunities on both sides and both sides pitched out of them. It was a really good game and we managed to come through with a couple of timely hits … and that kind of sealed the deal for our us.”

Bailey Coish was hit by a pitch and Micah McDowell walked to open the fifth, and an almost inadvertent double-steal left them standing on second and third. Cesar Valero, a 2019 Oregon State signee, then stepped in and delivered a line-drive double into the left-field corner that plated both Coish and McDowell.

Valero advanced to third on the throw from the outfield and subsequently scored on a wild pitch. Ayden Makarus followed with a line-drive double to left of his own and came home on an RBI single off the bat of Dryden Howse; Valero, Makarus and Howse hit 3-4-5 in the Dawgs’ order.

“Every game we played here, the other teams had lots of energy; there were a lot of great teams here,” McDowell, who bats lead-off, said postgame. “When we come into (the championship game) we just stick to our approach and let the bats do the talking. From top to bottom, guys were having deep at-bats and making the pitcher work for his outs.”

Howse finished 2-for-3 with two RBI, Makarus 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored and Ricardo Sanchez singled and drove in a run for the Dawgs. Justin Rivera Rivera doubled and drove in a run, Luis Rodriguez singled and had an RBI and Jamluis Vega contributed a pair of singles for SBO 17u.

This SBO 17u team is based in Coral Springs, Fla., but the SBO organization has its roots in Puerto Rico. The players on this roster – most of them from the classes of 2020 and 2021 – list hometowns in either Florida or Puerto Rico.

It’s a team that plays with a lot of energy and with constant chatter, bringing an enjoyable Latin passion to the games in which they play. In other words, they seem to be having a lot of fun, which is the way it should be.

This was actually the second meeting between these two teams this week; the Okotoks Dawgs 18u Black won the first go-around, too, that one by a 5-4 count. The one-run and four-run margins of victory over SBO 17u were the two closest games the Dawgs played at this event.

“Our guys, they never wavered, they believed in themselves from the get-go, and they left it all out on the field,” Duda said. “They got the result that I feel like they deserved.”

McDowell is a 6-foot-2, 175-pound 2019 outfielder from Okotoks who, like Valero, is an Oregon State signee. He was named the Most Valuable Player after hitting 8-for-20 (.400) with a home run, two triples, two doubles, five walks, six RBI, 12 runs scored and nine stolen bases.

“This was a great experience,” he said. “I didn’t expect to go 8-0, but just overall it was a lot of fun. Even off the field and at the beach, having fun with the guys, I think we really came together as a team, and we did this for each other.”

The Dawgs’ Matthew Dobberthien, a 6-foot-2, 190-pound right-hander from Calgary, was named the MV Pitcher. He worked 7 1/3 innings over three appearances without allowing an earned run on two hits while striking out eight and walking one.

“We played eight games in the last six days – a ton of baseball, great weather, good competition,” Duda said. “The boys got to spend some time with their families who are down here and there were a few (colleges) that came and talked to us over the course of the week, so it was a great week overall. Outstanding.”

2019 18u BCS National Championship runner-up: SBO 17u

2019 18u BCS National Championship MVP: Micah McDowell

2019 18u BCS National Championship MV-Pitcher: Matthew Dobberthien