On his 18th birthday on October 2, Kai Poffenroth from Bentley received official notification that he had just been named Player of the Year for Midget AA baseball by Baseball Alberta: a different kind of birthday surprise!
All the teams in the league vote but they are not allowed to vote for their own candidate so Kai was actually picked by the other teams to receive the award.
Baseball has been Kai’s focus for a number of years. He likes competitive play. He started playing in Eckville, then joined a Rocky Mountain House team who ended up folding. The next season he joined Lacombe and that team is now based out of Clive.
Poffenroth has just wrapped up the season with the Select Midget AA team, the Clive Coyotes, formerly the Lacombe Dodgers franchise Top Tier 1 midget baseball who had the new name and location this year. They start the season inside in March and go through to the fall, so it is a fairly long season.
Kai is a pitcher first and foremost, but has also played third base, shortstop, and left field and was part of a 14-man roster. Players this year came from Lacombe, Erskine, Coronation, Stettler, Tees, Rocky Mt House, Red Deer, Bentley, and Camrose.
Long time baseball coach Stacey Bell from Clive was very excited to hear Kai had won. “I never had a player win for Alberta before.”
He said he hopes Kai will come back as one of his over-agers next season. “They were a super bunch of kids this year – a phenomenal ball team,” says Bell. “Kai was my best starter. He was the main guy!”
Because most of the team was made up of 16 to 17 year olds, he says he could lose half the team next year so will be looking for players. Midgets are predominantly 15, 16, and 17-year olds.
The Coyotes won 16 out of 19 of their regular games, won all five in the divisional round, and won six out of seven in the provincial round.
They placed second at both the Lethbridge and Kelowna tournaments they played in.
The team went 5-0 to win the 2014 Alberta Provincial midget AA Tier 1 championship August 1-3 in Ft. Saskatchewan, and earned the right to go on to the Western AA Minor Championships in Swift Current, SK August 15-17 where they tied for second but ended up in third place on percentages.
Parents Mike and Faye and his grandparents are very supportive of Kai who participates in all kinds of sports at Bentley school where he is attending Grade 12 and they travel to many of his games.
The official ceremony where he will receive his award will be in Edmonton in November.