A baseball player from Airdrie is riding high after capping off his summer by winning Alberta Amateur Baseball Council’s 16U College Showcase Tournament Aug. 23 to 25 in Calgary.
Dawson Proud, a 14-year-old product of Airdrie Little League and a center fielder with the Calgary Junior Dinos Baseball Club, was called up to play for the organization’s older team at the showcase tournament.
Proud said he had only recently returned home from a zone tournament in Cold Lake when he got the invite to join the older boys.
“[The coaches] called me in early August and laid out their plans for the tournament – what they wanted to achieve,” he said. “I felt I could bring a lot to the table and the next thing I knew, I was back on the field with a great group of guys. It went awesome.”
The tournament featured some of the top U16 baseball talent in the province and was a prime picking ground for university baseball program scouts – adding extra incentive for the athletes to play well.
But Proud said the thought of scouts being in the stands was something he tried to push out of his mind when he was on the field.
“I just go out there and show my stuff, and compete like I would in any other game,” he said. “No matter if it’s an inter-squad game or there are scouts there, I just want to do what I do best.”
Proud’s team certainly gave the scouts something to watch – the Junior Dinos wrapped up the tournament in first place, winning seven of its eight games.
According to Proud, the team bounced back from an opening setback to finish the tournament on a seven-game win streak. He said the Junior Dinos’ strong batting and pitching contributed to the team’s success.
“We really came together,” he said. “We hit very well, and our pitching was great at the end. We did struggle with it at the beginning, but our defence was strong. Our hitting carried us through the tournament.”
Proud – the only bantam-aged player from Airdrie at the tournament – had two or three at-bats per game, and said he performed well at the plate.
“My hitting went really well, considering it’s a lot different going from 54 feet [between the mound and the plate] in bantam to 60 feet,” he said.
“I just went out there and showed what I was made of.”
On defence, he mainly played in the outfield, though he added he also had the opportunity to pitch a few innings.
Switching positions was no problem for Proud, who said he’s the kind of player who always puts the team first.
“I don’t try to pad my own stats,” he said. “If I need to hit somewhere, like to the right side, I’ll hit to the right side. If you need [someone] to steal a base or lay a bunt down, I feel I’m the player to do that.
“I want to help the team – I don’t want to do something just for myself.”
Proud, a Grade-10 student at W.H. Croxford High School, said he intends to continue playing competitive ball, with the goal of eventually impressing one of those college scouts enough to earn a scholarship.
“That is definitely my goal – to play at the college level,” he said. “Of course, the major leagues would be amazing, but my main goal is college.”