May 20, 2017
By Ron Arcuri and Martin Winstanley
Freshmen 3B Kobe Morris (Victoria) and OF Tyler Duncan (Sooke, BC) are making a major impact in their first season with the highly-regarded Crowder College Roughriders.
Crowder competes in Region 16 of the National Junior College Athletic Association) Division 1 playing teams mainly in Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma and Arkansas. Last week, the Roughriders captured the Region 16 Championship and was ranked third overall in the NJCAA with a 49-11 Win-Loss record.
Morris ended the Roughriders regular season sporting a .358 batting average (fourth) to go with six homers (fourth) and 56 RBIs (fifth). His .553 slugging percentage ranks fifth and he leads the team in contact, striking out a paltry 19 times in 179 at bats.
Duncan, a Canadian Junior National team grad drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the 30th round of the MLB draft last June, leads the Roughriders in RBIs (70), average (.377) and slugging (.641), is second in on-base percentage (.481), and third in home runs (eight). The lanky outfielder also leads the team in triples (eight).
Roughriders skipper Travis Lallemand speaks highly of his first-year players from Victoria, saying: “Kobe and Tyler are high character kids with tremendous work ethic and have been huge contributors on the field for us this season. Both young men have provided some big numbers including some clutch swings in tight game situations.”
Lallemand was also impressed by their readiness to compete at the college level. “In the fall both guys came in with really good instincts and fundamentals. As with all freshman, they just needed to play and make the adjustment to the speed of the junior college game.”
Lallemand pointed out that the contributions of the two Eagles to the success the Roughriders have enjoyed this season means he will be paying close attention to the talent coming out of BC adding: “Kobe and Tyler have been a tremendous fit at Crowder. These two young men from Victoria have set a high bar and the Roughriders look forward to bringing down more quality players from the area.”
They are not the only Canucks wearing Roughriders gear: OF Kyle Blackwell (Waterdown, Ont.) is hitting .274 with two doubles, four homers and 15 RBIs, with an .848 OPS in 32 games; C Jacob Charron (Ottawa, Ont.) has three doubles, two homers and 11 RBIs while batting .217 with a .581 OPS and RHP Cyprienne Dussenne (Montreal, Que.) has pitched in five games with a 6.43 ERA walking 11 and striking out 12 in seven innings.