Pan Am gold memories ... one month later

By Andrew Hendriks and Bob Elliott
Canadian Baseball Network

You Know them as the Comeback Kids ...

A month ago -- July 19 -- The Canadian Pan Am squad shocked the world by knocking off the Americans in tournament play. 

A full listing of where they came from, who they currently suit up for (when not taking the field for Team Canada) and what they have done in both affiliated and non-affiliated ball throughout the course of their individual careers.

We’ve also asked them to tell us about the event in their own words

Pitchers
Andrew Albers - LHP
Hometown: North Battleford, Sask.
Age: 29
Height: 6’1”
Weight: 200 lb.
Bats: Right
Throws: Left
MLB Organization: Toronto Blue Jays
2015 Team: Triple-A Buffalo (Toronto) 
MLB Experience: Minnesota (2013), Toronto (2015)
School: University of Kentucky
Drafted: San Diego Padres, 10th round - 2008
Team Canada Experience: 2011 World Cup, 2011 Pan Am Games, 2012 World Baseball Classic Qualifier, 2013 World Baseball Classic, 2015 Pan Am Games. 
Where Has He Been: ARIZ Padres (2008), CAMA Quebec (2010), FLOR Fort Myers (2011), EL New Britian (2011, ‘12), GULF Twins (2012), IL Rochester (2013), MLB Minnesota (2013), FGN Hanwha (2014), IL Buffalo (2015), MLB Toronto (2015)
Minor League Totals: 36-32, 3.64 (167 games)
Major League Totals: 2-5, 4.02 (11 games)

Philippe Aumont
Hometown: Gatineau, Que.
Age: 26
Height: 6’7”    
Weight: 240 lb.
Bats: Left
Throws: Right
MLB Organization: Toronto Blue Jays
2015 Team: Triple-A Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (Philadelphia), Triple-A Buffalo Bisons (Toronto)
MLB Experience: Philadelphia (2012,’13,’14,’15)
Team Canada Experience: 2006 World Jrs, 2007 World Jrs. qualifiers, 2007 World Jrs., 2009 World Baseball Classic, 2010 Pan Am qualifier, 2013 World Baseball Classic, 2015 Pan Am Games.
School: Academy Baseball Canada.
Drafted: Seattle Mariners, 1st round - 2007
Where has he been: MIDW Wisconsin (2008), CALL High Desert (2009), SOUL West Tennessee (2009), AZFL Peoria (2009), FLOR Clearwater (2010), EL Reading (2010,’11), IL Lehigh Valley (2011, ‘12, ‘13, ‘14, ‘15), MLB Philadelphia (2012, ‘13, ‘14, 15)  
Minor League Totals: 20-36, 3.92 (251 games)
Major League Totals: 1-6, 6.80 (46 games)

In his own words

The one thing I’ll never forget  ... “Running to the dog pile not knowing if I should yell, cry, smile ... But the one thing for me was I took care of business in the semi, after Puerto Rico tried to claim our soil. I’ve never been so determined to go out there and shove it down their throats. Bad move. I can’t say it enough, the feeling I had, the confidence Deglan gave me though out the whole game was just incredible. Degs you’re the man!”  

The one memory from the village ... “Seeing the colour from all Countries and wearing the red and white walking around with pride. And of course, endless food with the best dish, POUTINE! Haha”

The person who was happiest for me was probably ... “my family, my “second” family Sylvie and Stephane, friends. I got messages for days after saying 'congrats'.” 

My favorite Canadian player growing up was ... “Adam Loewen. Playing ball came late for me, I’d been to a few games but it is when I got the opportunity to play for the juniors I knew I had  a chance to go even further and Loewen’s name often came up. To climb the ladder at the same spot he was siting in, I wanted to do the same.” 

Shane Dawson
Hometown: Drayton Valley, Alta.
Age: 21
Height: 6’1”
Weight: 200 lb.
Bats: Left
Throws: Right
MLB Organization: Toronto Blue Jays
2015 Team: A-Ball Lansing
Team Canada Experience: 2015 Pan Am Games.
Team: Prairie Baseball Academy/Kelowna Falcons/Spruce Grove White Sox.
Drafted: Toronto Blue Jays, 17th Round - 2012
Where has he been: GULF Blue Jays (2012), APPY Bluefield (2013), NORW Vancouver (2013), MIDW Lansing (2014, ‘15)
Minor League Totals: 19-14, 2.97 (52 games)

Brock Dykxhoorn -- RHP
Hometown: Goderich, Ont.  
Age: 20.
Height: 6-foot-8
Weight: 250 lbs.
Bats: R. Throws: R. 
MLB Organization: Houston Astros. 
2015 Team: class-A Quad Cities (5-3, 3.74).  
Team Canada Experience: 2012 World Jrs., 2015 Pan Am Games.
School/Team: Central Arizona, Ontario Nationals.  
Drafted: Houston Astros, 6th round of the 2014
Where has he been: APPY Greeneville (2014).  
Minor League Totals: 8-6, 3.91 (28 games).      

In His Own Words
Highlights:

1. “Running in from the bullpen after we won gold and celebrating with my teammates.”
2. “Singing ‘Oh Canada’ on the bus before every game.”
3. “Walking through the Rogers Centre for the opening ceremonies with 50,000 people cheering.”

The one thing I will never forget about the tournament ... “was looking up at my parents in the stands after celebrating with my teammates and seeing them so proud.”

The one thing I will remember from the village is ... “playing road hockey with the guys before the tournament had started.”

The person who was happiest for me was probably ... “My parents were definitely the most proud for me. They were able to come to all of the games and support us and see us win the gold medal. It was awesome that they had the opportunity to watch with the home crowd on home soil.”

My favorite Canadian player growing up was ... “Matt Stairs.”

Jeff Francis
Hometown: Vancouver, BC
Age: 34
Height: 6’5”
Weight: 220 Lb.
Bats: Left  
Throws: Left
MLB Organization: Toronto Blue Jays
2015 Team: Triple-A Buffalo, MLB Toronto
MLB Experience: Colarado Rockies (2004, ‘05, ‘06, ‘07, ‘08, ‘10, ‘12, ‘13), Kansas City Royals (2011), Cincinnati Reds (2014), New York Yankees (2014), Oakland Athletics (2014), Toronto Blue Jays (2015)
Team Canada Experience: 2006 World Baseball Classic, 2015 Pan Am Games.
School/Team: University of British Columbia, North Delta Blue Jays. 
Drafted: Colorado Rockies, 1st Round - 2002
Where has he been: NORW Tri-City (2002), SALL Asheville (2002), CALL Visalia (2003), TL Tulsa (2004, ‘08), PCL Colorado Springs (2010, ‘14), MLB Colarado (2004, ‘05,’06,’07, ‘08, ‘10, ‘12, ‘13), MLB Kansas (2011), IL Louisville (2012, 14), MLB Cincinnati (2014), MLB New York Yankees (2014), MLB Oakland (2014), IL Buffalo (2015), MLB Toronto (2015)
Minor League Totals: 42-23, 2.83 (108 games)
Major League Totals: 72-82, 4.97 (248 games)

Shawn Hill
Hometown: Georgetown, Ontario
Age: 34
Height: 6”2’
Weight: 180 Lb.
Bats: Right   
Throws: Right
MLB Organization: Unsigned
2015 Team: York Revolution (Independent) 
MLB Experience: Montreal (2004), Washington (2006, ‘07, ‘08), San Diego (‘09), Toronto (2010, ‘12)
Team Canada Experience: 2003 Olympic qualifier, 2004 Olympic Games, 2011 World Cup, 2011 Pan Am Games, 2012 World Baseball Classic qualifier, 2013 World Baseball Classic, 2015 Pan Am Games.
Teams: Ontario Blue Jays, Etobicoke Rangers.
Drafted: Montreal Expos, 6th Round - 2000
Where has he been: GULF Expos (2000), NYPL Vermont (2001), MIDW Clinton (2002), FLOR Brevard County (2003), EL Harrisburg (2003, ‘04, ‘06), PCL New Orleans (2006), CARL Potomac (2007, ‘08), GULF Blue Jays (2010), IL Columbus (2008), FLOR Dunedin (2010), EL New Hampshire (2010, ‘14), PCL Las Vegas (2010, ‘12), ATLL York (2012’15), IL Charlotte (2014), IL Toledo (2014), IL Buffalo (2014), MLB Montreal (2004), MLB Washington (2006, ‘07, ‘08), MLB San Diego (‘09), MLB Toronto (2010, ‘12), 
Minor League Totals: 66-62, 3.73 (195 games)
Major League Totals: 10-18, 4.69 (45 games)

Chris Leroux
Hometown: Mississauga, Ont.
Age: 31
Height: 6’6”
Weight: 225 Lb.
Bats: Left
Throws: Right
MLB Organization: Philadelphia
2015 Team: Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs
MLB Experience: Florida (2009, ‘10), Pittsburgh (2010, ‘11, ‘12, ‘13), New York Yankees (2014) 
Team Canada Experience: 2002 World Jrs., 2007 World Cup, 2009 World Baseball Classic, 2013 World Baseball Classic, 2015 Pan Am Games.
School/Team: Winthrop University, Team Ontario.
Drafted: Florida Marlins, 7th Round - 2005
Where has he been: GULF Marlins (2006, ‘10), NYPL Jamestown (2006), SALL Greensboro (2006, ‘07), FLOR Jupiter (2008, ‘10), PCL New Orleans (2010),  EL Altoona (2011), IL Indy (2011), DOWL Torros (2011, ‘13, ‘14), FLOR Bradenton (2012), GULF Yankees2 (2014), IL Scranton Wilkes-Barre (2014), VEWL Magallanes (2014), PCL Colorado Springs (2015), IL Lehigh Valley (2015),  MLB Florida (2009, ‘10), MLB Pittsburgh (2010, ‘11, ‘12, ‘13), MLB New York Yankees (2014) 
Minor League Totals: 33-35, 3.98 (278 games)
Major League Totals: 1-3, 6.03 (65 games)

Kyle Lotzkar
Hometown: Delta, BC
Age: 25
Height: 6’5” 
Weight: 250 Lb.
Bats: Left
Throws: Right
MLB Organization: Unsigned
2015 Team: Frisco Rough Riders
Team Canada Experience: 2011 World Cup, 2011 Pan Am Games, 2015 Pan Am Games.
Team: Langley Blaze.
Drafted: Cincinnati Reds, 1st Round - 2007
Where has he been: GULF Reds (2007), PION Billings (2007, ‘10), MIDW Dayton (2008, ‘11), ARIZ Reds (2008), CALL Bakersfield (2012, ‘13),  SOUL Pensacola (2012, ‘13), TL Frisco (2014, ‘15)
Minor League Totals: 23/30, 4.70 (147 games)

Jared Mortensen
Hometown: Abbotsford, BC
Age: 27
Height: 5’11”
Weight: 205 Lb.
Bats: Left
Throws: Right
MLB Organization: Tampa Bay Rays
2015 Team: Montgomery Biscuits
Team Canada Experience: 2015 Pan Am Games.
School/Team: Louisiana State University-Shreveport/Abbotsford Cardinals
Drafted: Signed as an amateur free agent, 2013
Where has he been: IND Grand Prairie (2013), FLOR Charlotte (2013,’14), SOUL Montgomery (2014, ‘15)
Minor League Totals: 19-11, 3.70 (57 games)

Jasvir Rakkar -- RHP
Hometown: Brampton, Ont. 
Age: 24. 
Height: 6’ 2”
Weight: 200 Lb.
Bats: R. Throws: R.  
MLB Organization: Chicago Cubs.  
2015 Team: Class-A Myrtle Beach and class-A South Bend (1-1, 2.43, 11 saves).  
Team Canada Experience: 2015 Pan Am Games.
School/Team: Stony Brook University/Ontario Terriers.   
Drafted: Chicago Cubs, 26th round, 2012.
Where has he been: RK Arizona (2012); NORW Boise (2013, 2014), MIDW Kane County (2014), FLOR Daytona (2014), PCL Iowa (2014).  
Minor League Totals: 8-4, 3.25, 14 saves (81 games)

In His Own Words
Top highlights

1) “The Gold Medal game against USA. It was the craziest game I have been a part of. Rene’s two-out game tying home run and the pick off that lead to Pete’s crazy run! Wow!”
2) “Semi final game against Puerto Rico. From Stubby’s reaction to the flag antics to Phil dealing and getting us into the Gold Medal game.” 
3) “My first outing against Columbia. Very exciting moment getting my first taste of international baseball and getting to wear that Canada jersey.”

The one thing I’ll never forget  ... “Having the opportunity to not only play with a great group of guys but win at home in front of our fans!”

The one memory from the village ... “Playing street hockey with a few of the guys and having PM Harper come up to us and wish us good luck.”

The person who was happiest for me was probably ... “My entire family was very happy for me. It was a blessing to get to play so close to home. I know my parents and grand parents were extremely proud but I think my brother and sister were the happiest! My little sister who is 11 said she cried when I pitched because she was so happy haha!”

My favorite Canadian player growing up was ... “Larry Walker. I remember always imagining I was hitting like Larry when I played as a kid.” 

Scott Richmond
Hometown: Vancouver, British Columbia
Age: 35
Height: 6’5”
Weight: 220 Lb.
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
MLB Organization: Unsigned
2015 Team: Wichita Wingnuts (IND)
MLB Experience: Toronto Blue Jays (2008, ‘09, ‘11, ‘12)
Team Canada Experience: 2007 World Cup, 2008 Olympic Qualifier, 2009 World Baseball Classic, 2011 World Cup, 2011 Pan Am Games, 2015 Pan Am Games.
Schools: Oklahoma State University/Missouri Valley College/Boiser Parish College. 
Drafted: Signed as an amateur free agent, 2007
Where has he been: IND Edmonton (2005, ‘06, ‘07), EL New Hampshire (2008, ‘10), IL Syracuse (2008), MLB Toronto (2008, ‘09, ‘11, ‘12), GULF Blue Jays (2009), FLOR Dunedin (2010), PCL Las Vegas (2009, ‘10, ‘11, ‘12),  PCL Round Rock (2013, ‘14), IND Wichita (2015)
Minor League Totals: 50-62, 5.19 (214 games)
Major League Totals: 9-14, 5.27 (36 games)

In His Own Words
Top 3 highlights

1) “The time spent on the bus driving to the facility, great team bonding and tons of laughs!”
2) “Finally beating Cuba to go 4-0 in the tournament and clinch a spot in the medal round!” 
3) “Seeing the look on ALL our coaches faces while celebrating at home plate after winning gold!!! Greg Hamilton has done such an unbelievable job with this program and I’m truly honored to have had the opportunity to help win him two gold medals.” 

The one thing I’ll never forget  ... “is the feeling of when the US tried to back pick Petey at first and watching him run around the bases until he was called safe at home!! That sprint from the bullpen felt like I was floating and is something I’ll never forget! I wish I could bottle that feeling!”

The one memory from the village ... “Trading pins with all the countries.”

The person who was happiest for me was ... “My wife Deanna, she’s been so supportive of my career and takes really good care of our busy little family while I’m away!”
 
My favorite Canadian player growing up was ... “Larry Walker, his career is so inspirational to so many Canadian baseball players!”

Evan Rutckyj
Hometown: Windsor, ON
Age: 23
Height: 6’5”
Weight: 213 Lb.
Bats: Right
Throws: Left
MLB Organization: New York Yankees
2015 Team: Tampa Yankees
Team Canada Experience: 2015 Pan Am Games.
Team: Windsor Selects
Drafted: New York Yankees, 16th Round - 2010
Where has he been: GULF Yankees (2010, ‘11), NYPL Staten Island (2012), SALL Charleston (2012, ‘13, ‘14), FLOR Tampa (2014, ‘15)
Minor League Totals: 30-25, 4.21 (117 games)

Catchers
Kellin Deglan

Hometown: Langley, BC
Age: 23
Height: 6’2”
Weight: 195 Lb.
Bats: Left
Throws: Right
MLB Organization: Texas Rangers
2015 Team: High Desert Mavericks
Team Canada Experience: 2010 World Jrs., 2012 World Baseball Classic Qualifier, 2015 Pan Am Games.
School: Langley Blaze.
Drafted: Texas Rangers, 1st round (2010)
Where has he been: ARIZ Rangers (2010), NORW Spokane (2010), SALL Hickory (2011, ‘12, ‘14), AZFL Surprise (2012), CARL Myrtle Beach (2013, ‘14), AUBL Melbourne (2014), CALL High Desert (2015)
Minor League Totals: .237/.315/.421 (498 games)

In His Own Words
Top 3 highlights ...

1) “Singing O Canada together on the bus before each and every game.” 
2) “Beating USA in extra innings for a Gold Medal.” 
3) “How every game somebody different stepped up with a big hit, great defensive play, a big pitch etc. Every single player did their job on both sides of the ball and that is why we are Gold Medalists. I’ll never forget the group of grinders on that team!”

The one thing I’ll never forget ... 1. “When Chris Robinson spotted me in the dog pile ... He grabbed me and tackled me and we probably did five barrel rolls until we ended up at the backstop. He was like a big brother to me and he had such a proud look on his face.” 

2) “Philippe Aumont’s dominant start against Puerto Rico in the semi-final game. He was in complete control of the game, and it was a joy to catch his outing. I will never forget how the crowd erupted when he got the bases loaded strikeout to cap off a brilliant outing.” 

The person who was happiest for me was probably ... “My mom and dad as well as my fiancée. They were so proud of me. That’s the first time since little league that I’ve won something big. I’m so happy they were there for the gold medal winning experience.”

My favorite Canadian player growing up was ... “Russell Martin.”

Chris Robinson
Hometown: London, Ontario
Age: 31
Height: 6’0”
Weight: 220 Lb.
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
MLB Organization: Unsigned
MLB Experience: San Diego Padres (2013)
Team Canada Experience: 2002 World Jrs., 2003 World Cup qualifier, 2006 World Baseball Classic, 2007 World Cup, 2008 Olympic Qualifier, 2008 Olympic Games, 2009 World Cup, 2010 World Cup, 2010 Pan Am Qualifier, 2011 Pan Am Games, 2012 World Baseball Classic Qualifier, 2013 World Baseball Classic, 2015 Pan Am Games. 
School/Team: University of Illinois, London Badgers.
Drafted: Detroit Tigers, 3rd round - 2005
Where has he been: NYPL Oneonta (2005), MIDW West Michigan (2005), FLOR Lakeland (2006), FLOR Daytona (2006), SOUL Tennessee (2007, ‘08), PCL Iowa (2009, ‘10, ‘11), PCL Tucson (2013), IL Norfolk (2013)
Minor League Totals: .267/.320/.355 (634 games)
Major League Totals: .167/.167/.417 (8 games)

In His Own Words
Top 3 highlights ...

1) “As always the legendary Team Canada Bus Rides ... once again they did not disappoint.”
2) “Getting to share this experience with not only the team but all of our family and friends throughout the entire week.”
3) “Stubby’s flip attempt post game celebration.”

The one thing I’ll never forget ...
“Celebrating on our home field with our fans, filled with family, in the stands.  This team has had a lot of success over the past six years, but we have never had the opportunity to do it at home.”

The one memory from the village ... “The food!” 

My favorite Canadian player growing up was ... “Sir Larry Walker ... he is now my favorite Canadian first base coach ... of course tied with Tim Leiper (adopted Canadian).”

Infielders
Jesse Hodges

Hometown: Victoria, BC
Age: 21
Height: 6’1”
Weight: 212 Lb.
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
MLB Organization: Chicago Cubs
2015 Team: Southbend Cubs
Team Canada Experience: 2012 World Jrs., 2015 Pan Am Games.
School: Victoria Eagles.
Drafted: Signed as an amateur free agent, 2013 (Cubs)
Where has he been: ARIZ Cubs (2013), NORW Boise (2013, ‘14), MIDW South Bend (2015)
Minor League Totals: .239/.305/.350 (186 games)

Sean Jamieson
Hometown: Simcoe, Ont.
Age: 26
Height: 6’0”  
Weight: 195 Lb.
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
MLB Organization: Arizona Diamondbacks
2015 Team: Mobile Bay Bears
Team Canada Experience: 2012 World Baseball Classic Qualifier, 2015 Pan Am Games.  
School: Canisius College/Niagara County CC/Brantford Braves.
Drafted: Oakland Athletics, 17th round - 2011
Where has he been: NYPL Vermont (2011), MIDW Burlington (2012), MIDW South Bend (2012), CALL Visalia (2013), SOUL Mobile (2014, ‘15)
Minor League Totals: .270/.364/.406 (476 games)

Jordan Lennerton
Hometown: Langley, BC
Age: 29
Height: 6’2” 
Weight: 230 Lb.
Bats: Left
Throws: Left
MLB Organization: Detroit Tigers
2015 Team: Toledo Mud Hens
Team Canada Experience: 2012 World Baseball Classic Qualifier, 2015 Pan Am Games.  
School: Oregon State University/Langley Blaze
Drafted: Toronto Blue Jays: 50th round - 2004, Detroit Tigers: 33rd round - 2008
Where has he been: GULF Tigers (2008), FLOR Lakeland (2008, ‘10, ‘11), MIDW West Michigan (2009, ‘10), EL Erie (2012), IL Toledo (2013, ‘14), PRWL Ponce (2013, PRWL Santruce (2014), IL Toledo (2015)
Minor League Totals: .271/.374/. 430 (879 games)

Pete Orr
Hometown: Richmond Hill, Ont.
Age: 36
Height: 6’1”
Weight:  195
Bats: Left
Throws: Right
MLB Organization: Milwaukee Brewers
2015 Team: Colorado Springs Sky Sox
MLB Experience: Atlanta Braves (2005, ‘06, ‘07), Washington Nationals (2008, ‘09), Philadelphia Phillies (2011, ‘12, ‘13)
Team Canada Experience: 2001 World Cup, 2003 Olympic Games Qualifier, 2004 Olympic Games, 2006 World Baseball Classic, 2009 World Baseball Classic, 2009 World Baseball Classic, 2010 World Cup, 2010 Pan Am Qualifier 2013 World Baseball Classic, 2015 Pan Am Games. 
School/Team: Galveston College, Ontario Blue Jays.
Drafted: Texas Rangers - 39th round, 1997. Signed by the Atlanta Braves as an amateur free agent, 1999
Where has he been: NYPL Jamestown (2000), CARL Myrtle Beach (2001, ‘02), SOUL Greenville (2002, ‘03), IL Richmond (2004, ‘07), VEWL Zulia (2007), IL Columbus (2008), IL Syracuse (2009, ‘10), MLB Atlanta (2005, ‘06, ‘07), MLB Washington (2008, ‘09), MLB Philadelphia (2011, ‘12, ‘13),  IL Lehigh Valley (2011, ‘12, ‘13), PCL Nashville (2014), PCL Colorado Springs (2015)
Minor League Totals: .266/.320/.375 (1283 games)
Major League Totals: .257/.289/.328 (443 games)

In his own words
Top three highlights

1. “No. 1 one for me, was the great mix of guys, young and experienced, that made up a special team.  We were all equally important, we were one. %100 one, that’s rare in this game. But it was real.”
2. “The bus rides too and from the field, would have made Don Cherry so proud! Can’t give too much detail, that stays with “the boys!”
3. “Our national anthem, on our field, in our country! For a baseball player, we don’t get that very often, it was special.”

Skyler Stromsmoe
Hometown: Bow Island, Alberta
Age: 31
Height: 5’10”
Weight: 175 Lb.
Bats: Switch
Throws: Right
MLB Organization: San Francisco Giants
2015 Team: Sacramento River Cats
Team Canada Experience: 2011 World Cup, 2011 Pan Am Games, 2012 World Baseball Classic Qualifier, 2015 Pan Am Games.
Schools: Southern Arkansas University/ Longview Community College/Medicine Hat.
Drafted: Signed as an amateur free agent, San Francisco Giants - 2007
Where has he been: ARIZ Giants (2007), NORW Salem-Keizer (2008, ‘09), SALL Augusta (2008), CALL San Jose (2009, ‘12, ‘13, ‘15), PCL Fresno (2009), EL Richmond (2010, ‘11, ‘13, ‘14), PCL Sacramento (2015)
Minor League Totals: .248/.353/.328 (551 games)

In His Own Words
Top 3 highlights ...

1. “Its tough to top seeing the throw get away at first base and scoring the tying run and seeing Pete coming in right behind me to score the winning run. As I was rounding third I expected there would be a play at the plate on me but when there wasn’t I was pumped because I knew we’d at least be tied. Next thing I know, I look back at third and see Pete coming in for home and the ball one hopping in behind him. The whole time I was hoping the ball would hit him and bounce away but when the catcher dropped the ball and we dog piled at home plate, its a memory I’ll never forget.”

2. “The crowd during our last few games and especially during the Gold medal game. As the tournament went on, the fans were more and more into the games and the cheering and chanting escalated. When “Born in the USA” was played during the championship game, the whole crowd booed and started a “Lets Go Canada” chant. Probably not the best time to play that song but the fans got fired up and really got behind us. That moment gave me goose bumps.”

3. “Beating Cuba in the round robin 3-1 was definitely a highlight. It was the first time in over 10 years a Canadian baseball team had beat them. It was a big game for us for seeding in the semifinals and a huge game for Baseball Canada overall.”

One thing I’ll never forget ... “The emotional roller coaster of the championship game with the amazing finish. From being down three runs, to tying it and going up one, back to a tie, and then going into extra innings. It wasn’t until the ninth inning was over that I remembered that we were playing international tie-breaking rules. I knew that the next inning defensively and offensively would be huge for us. After giving up two runs in the top of the inning, I was a little deflated but knew what we were capable of doing in the bottom of the 10th. Once we weren’t able to get our bunt down, honestly I didn’t like our chances. Within the next minute of tying the game and seeing Pete racing home to a safe call by the umpire, I was overwhelmed. During the game I thought we’d won and lost three times each. The celebration at home plate with an amazing group of teammates and coaching staff was incredible. The medal ceremony, the national anthem being sung, and seeing my wife and parents in the stands supporting me was something I’ll never forget. An amazing finish to an up and down game.”

One memory from the village ... “There were so many great memories from staying in the village from hanging out with other Canadian athletes, to meeting the Prime Minister, to watching some other events on our day off. But my best memory will be the times just hanging out with the boys; playing cards whenever we had a group of us together and just enjoying the time we had together. We gelled quickly as a team and enjoyed spending time together on and off the field.

Person happiest for me ... “My parents and wife. I was very fortunate to have them in attendance for the Gold medal game and whether we won or lost I knew that they were proud of me. Throughout all the ups and downs of my professional career, they’ve been there for it all and have supported me through it all. It was amazing for them to see me play for Canada on Canadian soil and win the Gold medal (very high on my bucket list) and see the joy on my face. I know that without their love and support, I wouldn’t be the person and player I am today and were happy that they were able to share the whole experience with me.

Favorite player growing up: ... "When the Blue Jays were winning back to back World Series had a big impact on me. I remember watching Joe Carter hit the game winning home run and wanting to be like him and experience something like that. A little later on in life I enjoyed watching Larry Walker and following his career. I would never have guessed I’d get to walk around Rogers Centre for the opening ceremonies where the famous home run was hit, and taking a selfie with Larry Walker while doing so. My childhood dreams were realized.”

Outfielders
Tyson Gillies

Hometown: Vancouver, BC
Age: 26
Height: 6’1”
Weight: 205 Lb.
Bats: Left
Throws: Right
MLB Organization: San Diego Padres
2015 Team: San Antonio Missions
Team Canada Experience: 2012 World Baseball Classic qualifier, 2013 World Baseball Classic, 2015 Pan Am Games.
School/Team: Iowa Western Community College/Langley Blaze. 
Drafted: Seattle, 25th round - 2006
Where has he been: ARIZ Mariners (2007), NORW Everett (2007, ‘08), CALL High Desert (2008, ‘09), GULF Phillies (2010), EL Reading (2010, ‘12, ‘13), VEWL Lara (2012), IL Lehigh Valley (2013, ‘14), FLOR Clearwater (2014),  TL San Antonio (2015)
Minor League Totals: .282/.359/.406

Brock Kjeldgaard
Hometown: London, Ont.
Age: 29
Height: 6’5”
Weight: 235
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
MLB Organization: Unsigned
2015 Team: Sioux City Explorers
Team Canada Experience: 2011 World Cup, 2011 Pan Am Games, 2012 World Baseball Classic qualifier, 2015 Pan Am Games.
School: Indian Hills Community College/London Badgers.
Drafted: Milwaukee Brewers, 34th round - 2005
Where has he been: PION Helena (2005, ‘07, ‘08) MIDW Wisconsin (2009), FLOR Brevard County (2010, ‘11, ‘12), SOUL Huntsville (2011, ‘12, ‘13, ‘14), ARIZ Brewers (2012), AZFL Phoenix (2012), IND Lancaster (2014), IND Sioux City (2014, ‘15)
Minor League Totals: .248/.338/.453 (862 games)

In His Own Words
Top 3 highlights:

1) “The last play of the game, and the ensuing dog pile.  Still not sure what happened!”
2) “Tyler O’Neill’s three-run home run against Cuba.”  
3) “All the camaraderie with the boys. Enjoying every moment with my fellow golds men!”

The one thing I’ll never forget ... “I’ll never forget the entire experience. Being able to defend our gold on home soil was something very special that I will never forget.  The best part was being able to have our families there to experience this achievement.  It was a special moment after the game.”

One memory from the village ... “being able to see so many different athletes from different countries.  This was the first time I have stayed in the village (we stayed away from the village in 2011).  Everyone had different routines to prepare for their events.  It was a pretty cool set up.”

The person who was happiest for me ... “My entire family.  The fact that my family could be there to celebrate was incredible.  The moment after the game when I got to give my wife and daughter a hug and kiss was a moment I will never forget.  They have sacrificed so much for me over the years and to see how proud they were was unforgettable.” 

Favourite player growing up ... “Larry Walker.”

Tyler O’Neill
Hometown: Maple Ridge, BC
Age: 20
Height: 5’11”
Weight: 210 Lb.
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
MLB Organization: Seattle Mariners
2015 Team: Bakersfield Blaze
Team Canada Experience: 2013 World Jrs., 2015 Pan Am Games.
School: Langley Blaze.
Drafted: Seattle Mariners, 3rd round - 2013
Where has he been: ARIZ Mariners (2013, ‘14), NORW Everett (2014), MIDW Clinton (2014), CALL Bakersfield (2015)
Minor League Totals: .260/.325/.485 (157 games)

Tim Smith
Hometown: Toronto, Ont.
Age: 29
Height: 6’3” 
Weight: 225 Lb.
Bats: Left
Throws: Left
MLB Organization: Unsigned
2015 Team: Quebec Capitales
Team Canada Experience: 2003 World Jrs. Qualifier, 2009 World Cup, 2011 World Cup, 2011 Pan Am Games 2012 World Baseball Classic Qualifier, 2013 World Baseball Classic, 2015 Pan Am Games.
School: Midland College, Team Ontario.
Drafted: New York Mets, 21st round - 2004. Milwaukee Brewers, 17th round - 2005. Texas Rangers, 7th round - 2007
Where has he been: NORW Spokane (2007), MIDW Clinton (2008), ARIZ Rangers (2009), CALL Bakersfield (2009), TL Frisco (2009), TL Northwest Arkansas (2010, ‘11), CARL Lynchburg (2012), SOUL Mississippi (2012), IND Winnipeg (2013), IND Quebec (2014), AUBL Perth (2014), IND Quebec (2015)
Minor League Totals: .294/.368/.424 (601 games)

Rene Tosoni
Hometown: Port Coquitlam, BC
Age: 29
Height: 6’0”
Weight: 195 Lb.
Bats: Left
Throws: Right
MLB Organization: Unsigned
2015 Team: Sioux City Explorers
MLB Experience: Minnesota Twins (2011)
Team Canada Experience: 2003 World Jrs. Qualifier, 2009 World Cup, 2012 World Baseball Classic Qualifier, 2013 World Baseball Classic, 2015 Pan Am Games.
Team: Coquitlam Reds.
Drafted: Minnesota Twins, 36th round - 2005
Where has he been: APPY Elizabethton (2007), MIDW Beloit (2007), GULF Twins (2008), FLOR Ft. Myers (2008), EL New Britain (2009, ‘10, ‘12), AZFL Mesa (2009), IL Rochester (2011, ‘12), SOUL Huntsville (2013), IND Sioux City (2014, ‘15), IND Sugarland (2014), AUBL Perth (2014)
Minor League Totals: .269/.342/.393 (755 games)
Major League Totals: .203/.275/.343 (60 games)

In His Own Words
Top 3 highlights ...

1) “Winning the gold medal on a crazy snow ball fight.” 
2) “Stubby trying to relive the past and FAIL at a back flip!”
3) “Our bus trips from the village to the field.” 

The one thing I’ll never forget ... “the experience I just had playing with these guys. Out of all the team Canada trips I have been on this one will be the most memorable.”  

The one memory from the village ... “the endless amount of food.” 

The person who was happiest for me ... “My wife and daughter. I have been playing with team Canada ever since we have been together and she has never had the opportunity to watch and experience international baseball.”  

My favorite Canadian player growing up was ... “our first base coach Larry Walker.”

-Follow Andrew Hendriks on Twitter (@77hendriks)

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Andrew Hendriks

Born in southern Ontario during the late 1980's, Hendriks had a front row seat to watch the Blue Jays reach the pinnacle in '92/'93 as a child, an experience that only bolstered this Canadian's love for the "American Game." Having played since before his memory allows access too, his passion for Baseball grew over years of emulating his heroes on the local sandlots, memorizing the backs of chewing gum scented cards and travelling across North America to experience as many aspects of the game as possible. In 2009, Hendriks began volunteering at the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame as a Weekend Tour Guide. By 2010, he was hired on to help curate for the museum & Instruct the fundamentals of the game along side such legends as Tony Fernandez, Roberto Alomar and Jim Fanning during the Hall's annual Kids On Deck program. Following the 2011 season, Hendriks began blogging and co-hosting a weekly podcast for www.BackInBlue.ca, a Blue Jays themed website ran by fans, for fans. Looking to continue connecting with baseball fans across the country, Hendriks is excited to join such a strong team at the Canadian Baseball Network and looks forward to chipping in.