12 graduating Vauxhall Academy of Baseball students, from Nova Scotia to Alberta, land athletic scholarships in US and Canada

The players will be receiving athletic and/or educational scholarships.

Les McTavish, the Academy’s coach and manager, said the results are “simply amazing. It has been a very successful first year.”

The 14 students are:

  • Curtis Smith (from Calgary, Alberta) will be attending the Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall, Minnesota
  • David Reiniger (from Calgary, Alberta) will be attending the University of Alabama Huntsville in Huntsville, Alabama.
  • Alex Tufts (from Kentville, Nova Scotia) will be attending Iowa Western in Council Bluffs, Iowa.
  • Cody Phipps (from Round Hill, Alberta) will be attending the University of British Columbia.
  • Sean Carrick (from Imperial, Saskatchewan) will also be attending the University of British Columbia.
  • Jason Luce (from Calgary, Alberta) will also be attending University of British Columbia.
  • Scott Hornstra (from Rocky Mountain House, Alberta) will be attending Colby College in Colby, Kansas.
  • Zane Anderson (from Strathmore, Alberta) will be attending Gannon University in Erie, Pennsylvania.
  • Kiel Armstrong (from Winnipeg, Manitoba) will be attending the Prairie Baseball Academy in Lethbridge, Alberta
  • Jay Johnson (from Sussex Corner, New Brunswick) will also be attending the Prairie Baseball Academy.
  • Katlin Nunweiller (from Medicine Hat, Alberta) will also be attending the Prairie Baseball Academy
  • Brenden Miller (from Taber, Alberta) will also be attending the Prairie Baseball Academy
  • Mike Brown (from Vauxhall, Alberta) and Josh Hoetmer (from Smoky Lake, Alberta) are still undecided.

Coach McTavish’s contract with the Academy and Vauxhall Jets has also been extended for a further three years.

Todd Ojala, President of the Academy, said that “Coach McTavish has gone above and beyond the expectations we set out at the start of our program and has achieved amazing results both on and off the field for the Academy”

Ojala praised the entire community of Vauxhall for their efforts in the Academy’s inaugural year. “The community members, the billet families, and the staff of the school all play a key role in making this first year a success. Les McTavish and assistant coach Jim Kotkas came into our community and fit in perfectly.”

McTavish, he said, has worked closely with all aspect of the academy, helping with billet situations, fundraising activities, as well as stadium upgrades and maintenance. “When you look at the academic achievement of the academy students, with 18 of 21 kids currently on this semester’s honour role, when you look at the level of play the entire team is performing at, when you look at how the program has garnished the attention it has and graduating students are receiving scholarships you know that the coach is doing his job.

The Vauxhall Academy of Baseball recently played a series of games in Las Vegas at which it competed against the top-ranked high school teams out of Nevada. It also regularly played games against the PBA’s teams, several Midget “AAA” teams, and “AA” American Legion teams.

“We feel that we are accomplishing what we set out to do over a year ago, that is provide the atmosphere and training it takes to produce the best baseball players Canada has. We are creating something special here in Vauxhall” said Ojala.. “The two coaches we hired” he added “are good friends, very professional, and relate to kids exceptionally well. We are pleased to have them back for a very long time.”

Les McTavish thanked the Academy’s Board of Directors for the opportunity he and Kotkas had been given just over a year ago. “I am honoured and extremely excited to assist in leading the Academy into the future. The entire community of Vauxhall, Vauxhall High School, and surrounding area have made Jim and I feel part of the staff and valued members of the community. I could not ask for a better assistant coach in – Jim,” McTavish added. “Jim is an integral part of this program and is a great coach and role model for our athletes. We would not be where we are today without everyone’s support and we look forward to continuing on our successes for years to come.”

For more information:

Gary Slywchuk
Canada West Foundation
[email protected]

Les McTavish
Vauxhall Academy of Baseball
[email protected]