Dawgs to watch for in 2018
By Dustin Saracini
Now that the calendar has flipped to June, Seaman Stadium will once again be your summer getaway. The field will play home to the sights and sounds of Dawgs baseball and will be the place where memories and relationships are forged forever on the field.
Whether it is your favourite player hitting the game-winning home run, or if you just want to enjoy a day out in the sun with your family, the Dawgs will leave a lasting imprint on the warm, summer days in Okotoks.
In our third edition of “Top Dawg,” we get a closer look at five collegiate Dawgs, new and old, who are making headlines at the NCAA, NJCAA, or NAIA level.
Graham Brunner (P – Sherwood Park, Alta. - Dawgs Academy, Indian Hills CC commit): A mix of youth and perennial talent might be what best describes Brunner as he returns in a limited role for his second season with the Dawgs. Yet to throw a pitch at the college level, the 6-foot-1, 210-pound left-hander displayed incredible poise on the mound in his rookie campaign. In what was supposed to be a spot start, the current ace of the Academy and prized pupil of coach Jeff Duda, cemented his name in the Dawgs rotation a year ago, posting 5.2 innings of one-run ball while striking out three against the Fort McMurray Giants. He would go on to post two straight quality starts against the Edmonton Prospects and Lethbridge Bulls, on his way to crafting a 2.60 ERA. His work eventually led to a start in the playoffs, where he shut down Edmonton over six innings, earning the first playoff win of his collegiate career.
Cameron Doherty (P – Mesa Community College): As a freshman, Doherty has been one of the most productive pitchers for the junior college juggernaut. Mesa has relied on the young arm this year, tossing 52.2 frames over 12 appearances – the second most innings on the team. Aside from eating up quality innings, Doherty has limited the opposition to just 20 runs, posting a 3.42 ERA with a 5-1 record. The freshman duo of him and Carter Robinson, also a Dawg, has helped Mesa dominate their opponents to the tune of a 40-18 overall record. At 6-foot-2, 190-pounds, the right-hander had his best game against Scottdale this season, limiting the team to one run over seven innings while striking out five. He will be making his Dawgs debut this summer.
Ryan Humeniuk (OF – Stonewall, Man. - Indian Hills, University of Louisiana Monroe commit): Humeniuk, an Academy product, was an important cog in the Dawgs machine for the record-breaking 35-win campaign in 2017. His work ethic in the regular season carried over into the playoffs, where he slashed a .500 average over the course of 18 at-bats. Humeniuk saved his best for the postseason, producing a four-hit performance in Game 3 against Edmonton – his third multi-hit game of the playoffs. For Indian Hills, Humeniuk is up to much of the same at the dish. Over the course of 54 games, the sophomore has a team-leading 63 hits, 63 RBI, and 58 runs while slashing .339/.434/.661. Justin King, an Alabama Crimson Tide commit, plays alongside Humeniuk at Indian Hills, and both have played pivotal roles in their solid 35-21 season, driving the offense with a combined 25 home runs.
Corey Jackson (P – Indian Hills): Joining Humeniuk and King on the other side of the ball is Jackson, who was a force out of the Dawgs bullpen a year ago. Crafting a 2.65 ERA through 20 appearances, Jackson was relied upon in high-leverage situations, at one point, allowing just one earned run over 10 consecutive appearances. His heavy fastball consistently generated soft contact last year, leading him to have the most innings logged for any Dawgs reliever. At Indian Hills, Jackson boasts a 10.93 K/9, a 5-1 record, and an ERA of 3.54 over 16 appearances. Expect Jackson to be the 8th-inning guy once again with a shot at the closer role.
Marcus Skundrich (C – Mesa Community College): Under the watchful eye of coach Dave Robb at Mesa, Skundrich will be making his debut with the Dawgs behind the dish this season. At Mesa, Skundrich showed off his ability to find the gap, barrelling nine doubles over 51 games, which is good for third on the team. Overall, the catcher slashed .322/.415/.385 while driving in 30 runs. The 6-foot-1, 200-pounder has always demonstrated a strong ability to handle the bat at the collegiate level, and will serve as a great complement to Cole MacLaren and Academy product Gavin