Elk Point Ball Player Helps AAA Midget Cardinals Win Spokane American League Tournament
How many times have you heard that comment “Follow your dreams!”? Well here’s a young guy who did just exactly that and seems like his dreams are working out just fine as planned.
When Colin ‘ Naz ‘ Nazarchuk came out to play Mosquito ball at the house league level in Elk Point about 9 years ago, he was a very talented hockey player at the time as well. That spring a lot of his little buddies were going on to play summer hockey, but ‘Naz’ decided just for fun and to fill in some time he would give baseball a go. Baseball never seems to gets the hype it deserves, most parents don’t see their son going the majors in ball, like they do going to the NHL in hockey. Gretzky is a perfect example; they say he played baseball every summer, loved the game, and was terrific at it. But that argument is a story all in its own for one day.
After the one season playing Mosquito ball with Mr. Lavern Wilson as his coach, ‘Naz’ realizing he really liked it, baseball became a passion for the young promising pitcher. He started to raise a few eyebrows around the league. The next year he started playing a little more competitive ball, right after the house league season was finished in Elk Point, he hooked up with Bonnyville on their provincial AA peewee team. After that he never looked back. A better than average pitcher he needed that challenge.
Before his second year of bantam he was approached by the Okotoks Dawgs, a triple A team that had seen him chuck, and they wanted him on their roster. He decided to give that a go. The commitment was huge, travelling all over the province but the level of ball was exactly what he needed to excel. That winter during the off season he blew out his knee cap and was sidelined for some time doing physical therapy and rehab. The next season he joined the Edmonton AAA Midget Cardinals making it easier to practice with a team that was only two and half hours away, but re injured the knee again requiring more physical therapy. The next season he signed with the Lloydminster Prairie Pirates only an hour away from home for practice and played AAA in Saskatchewan Midget League. During the off season he trained with a MLB pitcher in Saskatoon improving his speed and his pitch location, working on curveballs, sliders, a change up and a fastball that has been clocked at 84 MPH. Signing back with the Cardinals in his final year of Midget became an awesome way to end his minor ball playing days. Their team won the provincial AAA gold medal over the Okotoks Dawgs, in doing so, sending them to the Nationals in Sherbrooke, Quebec. Although the Cardinals never made it into the medal round at the Nationals, the calibre of play and exposure was incredible.
One of his biggest highlight this past season was winning a tournament down in Spokane Washington where the mighty righty, the big 6 foot 3 inch 200 pounder ‘Naz ‘ pitched the complete semi final game allowing only one run on two hits. The Cardinals went on to win the whole thing, only the second time in history a Canadian team has won at that tournament.
Right after that tournament ‘Naz’ was contacted by the head coach of Douglas College in New Westminster, BC. This fall he is enrolled and will become part of the Royals Collegiate Baseball pitching rotation while he studies for Sports Science Diploma. The Royals are part of the NWAC league playing the majority of their games in the north west USA where Canadian ball players can receive the best exposer while they continue to move forward in their baseball career. Right now at this very moment, ‘Naz ‘ is down in Vancouver getting settled in. His eventual goal is to play well enough so that after 2 years at college in Canada he will be asked to sign up to pitch for a U.S.A. college team. Then hopefully eventually get scouted and drafted by the Majors. All I can say to him is this “Go west young man, go west, there’s gold in them there hills!”.
And now for the K.A. Campbell quote of the week. ‘ All dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.’ – Walt Disney