Brandon’s Marshal Burgess will cap off a brilliant baseball season in style on Saturday night.
The 15-year-old local standout will be honoured as Bantam Player of the Year at the Baseball Manitoba awards banquet at Brandon’s Royal Oak Inn, one of a number of Westman individuals who will share the spotlight this weekend, along with Faron Asham, John Hutton, Rory Tycoles, Ross Tycoles, Ron Ramsey and Nicole Madsen.
For Burgess, it’s a reward for a remarkable season after helping lead his Vincent Massey Vikings to a berth in the provincial high school baseball championship and the Brandon Bantam AAA Knights to a western Canadian title, while also making Manitoba’s youth
(17-and-under) team that finished fourth at nationals this year.
"I see it as a huge honour for the opportunities I was given and it’s just kind of the cherry on top for my year, which wasn’t just a great year, it was a fun year ... and I was blessed to be asked to play with a bunch of good teams," said Burgess, a pitcher, outfielder and infielder who hit .650 and stole 11 bases at the provincial Bantam AAA championship, while also tossing a complete-game no-hitter in the Canada Day Classic tournament this season.
"Making the youth team was a huge honour and it wasn’t expected, in my mind. I was asked to go and try out and I just figured I would give it a try and see what happens and I was lucky enough to make the roster. Between making the youth team and winning the western Canadians, those two were close (as highlights), but I think winning western Canadians with the same group of guys that I have been playing with for a long time, it was a huge thing."
Brandon’s Faron Asham — who will be honoured himself this weekend — coached Burgess on his high school and provincial teams and said the sky is the limit for one of the top talents in the province.
"Any team he has been on has been successful and that speaks to his ability and his leadership skills," Asham said. "He was the only Manitoban that I am aware of that made the Manitoba youth team as a 15-year-old player. And he really worked himself to the point where he started in a national semifinal, he started in right field as a 15-year-old, which is quite remarkable. It speaks to his talent level and his maturity level. And he hasn’t reached his ceiling yet as far as his potential, so there is a lot to look forward to in watching young Mr. Burgess play."
Meanwhile, Asham himself will be honoured as Baseball Manitoba’s high performance coach of the year after finding the time to coach seven different teams this season. The president of Brandon Minor Baseball, Asham coached not only the Vincent Massey high school team and the Manitoba youth team, but also with Brandon’s Midget AAA and AA teams, Manitoba’s 15U prospects team, the Manitoba bantam girls baseball team and the Westman Magic bantam softball team.
Here’s a look at the other locals to be honoured Saturday:
• Rory Tycoles of the Reston Rockets is the Senior AAA player of the year after leading the Manitoba Senior Baseball League in home runs (three) and RBIs (17) while batting .353 on the season and being named a league all-star. The third baseman also helped the Rockets — winners of the 2011 MSBL title — represent the league at the Canadian Senior AAA championship where they finished fifth.
• Hutton takes the Senior AA player of the year award after leading his Minnedosa Mavericks to their seventh straight Santa Clara Baseball League title. Hutton was named the league’s top pitcher after going 6-0 with 40 strikeouts in 40 innings, while also batting .473. Hutton also hit .500 at the Western Canadian Senior AA championship as a pickup for the Brandon All-Stars.
• Ross Tycoles will be inducted into Baseball Manitoba’s honour society for his more than three decades of service in both minor and senior baseball in Reston, including serving as manager of the MSBL’s Rockets. A former MSBL manager of the year, Tycoles is a longtime member of Baseball Manitoba’s executive and has coached numerous provincial teams, including serving as head coach of the Manitoba teams at the 2008 and 2012 Canadian Senior AAA championships.
• Ron Ramsey of Hamiota will also be named to the honour society for his decades of involvement in the game as a player, coach and administrator. Inducted into the Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame in both the player and team categories, Ramsey played 17 years in the MSBL for the Hamiota Red Sox from 1970-86 and was a 10-time all-star, representing Manitoba in eight western Canadian and national championships. Ramsey also coached Hamiota teams for 14 years and is still involved in Red Sox games by scorekeeping and announcing.
• Madsen will be honoured Saturday as Baseball Manitoba’s volunteer of the year. The Hamiota native has worked in minor baseball in the community for more than a decade, sits on Baseball Manitoba’s competition committee and continues to serve as secretary/treasurer of the Midwest league. Madsen also teamed up with Craig Horback in 2010 to form the Wesman Diamond Dawgs, who play in the Manitoba Junior AA Baseball League.