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Celebrating the Canadians’ Bests in the Midst of a Pennant Chase

Celebrating the Canadians’ Bests in the Midst of a Pennant Chase

August 26, 2012

Taylor Cole was one of the few Canadians players to win a team award. He took home the best pitcher award along with Javier Avendano. (photo credit: Vancouver Sun)

Before a dazzling show of fireworks on Saturday night at Nat Bailey Stadium, the Canadians presented their own finest in the year-end awards ceremony.

There were four awards presented by the team in front of the sold-out crowd:

Team’s Best Pitchers:
Javier Avendano (RHP): 73IP, 7-1(W/L), 1.23 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 87 Strikeouts
Taylor Cole (RHP): 58IP, 5-0(W/L), 0.92 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, 51 Strikeouts

Both pitchers are deserving of this award, so it is no surprise that these two anchors shared this honor. Having not one, but two starters that can shut out an opposing lineup on any given day is a luxury that any club would want. And not only do these two hard-throwing rightys help the Canadians in the standings, they are also pushing each other.

Cole discussing his feelings on this matter. “It was a huge honor to share the award with Javier Avendano. For me personally, he’s really helped me to be the best I can be. He goes up there and puts up zeros and really has stellar performance. And it really helps me to do the same or do even better. He probably didn’t even know it, but he helped me to be better this year as well.”

Team’s Best Hitter:
Balbino Fuenmayor (1B/3B): .283 AVG, 9 HR, 47 RBI, 33 Runs

The tall right-handed slugger from Venezuela has been a fixture in the middle of the C’s lineup all summer. Balbino had one of the best starts offensively in the Northwest League early in the season, and has shown consistent improvements in his two seasons with the C’s.

Team’s Most Exciting Player:
Jorge Flores (SS): .261 AVG, 3 HR, 17 RBI, 31 Runs, 10 SB

Flores has become a fan favorite at the Nat with his passion and enthusiasm on and off the field. This shortstop possesses great speed on the bases and makes his impact felt in all phases of the game. Most of all, the energy that he brings on a nightly basis definitely help to lift his teammates and the crowd.

Team’s Most Valuable Player:
Javier Avendano (RHP): 73IP, 7-1(W/L), 1.23 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 87 Strikeouts

This right-hander is not only the best pitcher on the Canadians squad, but he might just be the top pitcher in the league. Avendano has grown better with every start, and he is developing commands in all four of his pitches. “It’s pretty special. It’s the first time I’ve won an award,” said Avendano. “I won pitcher of the year with Cole and team MVP, I’m very happy. I just try to work hard every day.”

In the midst of celebrating the team’s standouts, the Canadians had one important thing on their mind. That is, to get back into the playoffs and defend their NWL Championship. The Canadians are currently only 0.5 games ahead of 2nd place team Eugene, for the final playoffs spot in 2012. The C’s have 5 more games left in their regular season against Yakima before learning their faith. They do control their own destiny as they hold the tie-breaker (head to head) against their rival from Eugene.

JaysProspects was able to catch up with the two stud pitchers from the club as they expressed their thoughts on the playoffs chase.

“We have five games left, and we have the tie-breaker, but we just have to win the games,” said Cole. “When you start worrying about what the other team does, that’s when you get yourself into trouble. So we just try to win every game and hopefully at the end of the season, we look back and we’re in the playoffs.”

Cole’s fellow co-pitcher of the year, Avendano, echoed the same message: “Everybody wants to go to the playoffs. We got to play hard every game to win the games. We gotta win. The team is playing hard right now. Every pitcher want to pitch good, every hitter want to do the job. The new players on the team help out a lot on this team. I think we will go to the playoffs.”

The C’s 2012 MVP, Avendano, backed up his message with a stellar five-inning scoreless performance in relief against the Boise Hawks on Sunday, Aug.26th, striking out 7 batters en route to his 7th win of the season. The 6’3 righty did a great job of mixing up his pitches and using his breaking balls to keep the Hawks hitters off balanced. He talked about his performance with us after the game:
“It was a great game for me. When I pitched the first time to Boise [earlier in the season], I didn’t do very good. And today I threw five innings without any runs, so it’s very good. And my teammate Arik Sikula saved my game.”

Avendano went on to describe his approach for today’s game, “This team goes to the plate to find fastballs, so I tried to change my game for today. I was a fastball pitcher last game, so today I tried to throw more change ups and curveballs. I felt good because they can’t hit my change ups today.”

The fans are doing their very best to help along this playoffs run. The Sunday, Aug. 26th regular season finale marks the seventh straight sell-out at Nat Bailey’s stadium (13th of the season). The team will try to add on at least one more home game this season, a playoffs date with the Everett AquaSox on Sept. 3rd, 2012.