Big year for Bignall at Arkansas Little Rock

*LF Sean Bignall (Brampton, Ont.) of the Arkansas Little Rock Trojans hit his 18th homer to gain a tie for the NCAA Div. I home run lead .... 2012 Canadians in the Minors  2012 Canadians in College Letters of Intent Concussions: three-part series

By Bob Elliott

Sean Bignall is listed at 5-foot-8 on the Arkansas Little Rock Trojans’ roster.

The Brampton left fielder looks a lot taller to pitchers as he circles the bases in his home run trot.

Bignall hit his 18th homer in a 9-8 extra-inning win over the Central Arkansas Bears to grab a share of the NCAA Div. I home run lead Tuesday. He’s tied with Samford Bulldogs outfielder Brandon Miller and Southeast Missouri State Redhawks third baseman Trenton Moses.

The Team Ontario grad was 4-for-5 in the win with a run-scoring triple, setting a UALR single-season record with 141 total bases. A year ago, he had two homers in 58 games for the Trojans.

Bignall set a UALR single-season record by hitting his 16th home run in the top of the eighth in an 11-2 loss to Louisiana Tech.


Big men on campus: Former London Badgers outfielder Byron Reichstein of St. Thomas, Ont., earned NJCAA Region 14 East conference player of the year with the Texarkana Bulldogs. He hit .368 with 11 doubles, two home runs and 27 RBIs. Reichstein also earned Region XIV East all-conference first team honours ... Calgary outfielder Tyler Hollick earned NJCAA Region I player of the year honours with seven doubles, eight triples, a homer and 29 RBIs. Hollick is also 61-for-68 stealing bases and had 58 runs scored in 48 games.


More BMOCs: With his save in a 12-11 win over Lake Erie, Mississauga’s Billy Hurley of the Wayne State Warriors tied two school records: Most saves in a single-season (10) and career saves (18) ... University of British Columbia Thunderbirds third baseman Andrew Firth of London was named to the All-NAIA West Team. Firth had a .353 average, four homers and 47 RBIs ... Third baseman Drew Pettit of Fonthill, Ont., earned Capital One Academic All-District first team honours for the second consecutive spring with the Canisius Golden Griffs. Pettit is hitting .318 with three homers and 36 RBIs for coach Mike McRae ... Etobicoke third baseman Michael Ferracuti of the Saint Mary Spires earned Kansas Collegiate Conference gold glove honours.


Hamilton Yard: My father, who won a couple of honours playing and coaching, always said that the highest honour someone could receive was to have a ball field named after him — while he was alive. Well, Greg Hamilton is still living, breathing and working about 18 hours a day as the director of Baseball Canada’s national teams. And when the Montpellier Barracudas take the field this summer in France, they’ll be playing at Greg Hamilton Baseball Park.

In 1993, Hamilton left his position as an assistant coach at Princeton University to coach Montpellier in the French Division 1 league. He stayed five years as they won three national championships.


Simply the best: Talented ball scribe Lyle Spencer of polled Canadian writers to name the top five Canadians ball players ever, a sure argument-starter when it comes to rounding out the top five.

And the results are:

1. Fergie Jenkins, Chatham, Ont.

2. Larry Walker, Maple Ridge, B.C.

3. Justin Morneau, New Westminster, B.C.

4. Joey Votto, Etobicoke, Ont.

5. Matt Stairs, Fredriction, N.B.


On a roll: East York right-hander Jeff Gibbs is finishing strong with the Maine Black Bears. He has allowed two earned runs in his previous 13 innings, striking out 11 in two starts against the Albany Danes ... London’s Jon Fitzsimmons has been dominant as the Canisius closer. He’s 1-1 with a 0.95 ERA and 10 saves ... Toronto’s Maxx Tissenbaum, drafted by the Blue Jays in 2009, has impressed scouts watching the Stoney Brook Sea Wolves this spring. He’s hitting .367, with 12 doubles, three homers and 29 RBIs, while striking out three times in 161 at-bats ... Hamilton’s Ryan Noack has a successful season closing for the Concordia (Ann Arbor, Mich.) Cardinals with eight saves and a 1.29 ERA. He was 4-2 with 15 walks and 37 strikeouts in 35 innings. He did not allow an extra base hit, holding opposing hitters to a .202 average.



LHP Scott Diamond only worked three scoreless innings for the triple-A Rochester Reds Wings against the Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees on Sunday.

That upped his record for 4-1 with a 2.60 ERA with seven walks and 26 strikeouts in 34.2 innings. But what earned Diamond the title as the best of the 58 Canadians in the minors came when he was recalled by the Minnesota Twins. He pitched seven scoreless innings, giving the Twins a 5-0 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday.



Whitby lefty Ryan Kellogg of the Ontario Prospects is expected to go between the third and sixth round when the annual draft takes place June 4-6. Kellogg is ranked 228th on the Perfect Game Scouting Service top 500 compiled by Allan Simpson, Canadian Baseball Hall of Famer.

Kellogg pitched five scoreless innings in a 10-4 win over the Etobicoke Rangers Tuesday at Connorvale in front of a double-digit crowd of scouts. He allowed only two hits, walked one and struck out 11.

The other Canadians in the top 500 list of high schoolers and collegians are London right-hander Dayton Dawe of the Ontario Terriers (340th), right-hander Brock Dykxhoorn of Goderich, Ont., and the Ontario Nationals (353rd); Calgary outfielder Tyler Hollick with Chandler-Gilbert College (391st); Burlington lefty Steven Dressler of the Ontario Blue Jays (455th); and University of British Columbia lefty David Otterman of Coquitlam, B.C. (480th).

Former Markham Mariner Carson Kelly now of Portland, Ore., is ranked 45th. Some scouts like Kelly as a third baseman, some as a right-hander. Kelly was named the top catcher at the 2007 Canadian peewee championships in Quebec City.