Sports

MB Baseball Hall of Fame adds inductees

Greg Vandermeulen

MORDEN - 

The 22nd annual Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame banquet was held June 2, honouring the province’s best players, teams, umpires and others involved in the sport.
This year’s inductees included Faron Asham (Brandon), Andrew Collier (Winnipeg) Troy Fortin (Lundar), Doug Freeth (Winnipeg), Jason Mateychuk (Dominion City), Terry Mayert (Brandon), Trevor Procter (Woodlands), Ron Shewchuk (Minnedosa), Brandon Marlins 1999-2008, Morden Mohawks 1993-2000, Warren Senior Team 1974-1979, and Carman Goldeyes 1971-1974.
The following are the southern Manitoba entrants into the hall.
Carman Goldeyes
The Carman Goldeyes from the 1971-1974 seasons were inducted in the Special Teams Category.
Carman Goldeyes Juniors completely dominated the Junior level of Manitoba baseball from 1971 through 1974. In all four years they captured both the Manitoba Junior league and provincial championships. Heavy hitting, strong pitching, and reliable defense were hall marks of this team. Many members of the roster played all four seasons  and went on to illustrious careers at the Senior level. Several have been inducted already into the Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame, perhaps as individuals, perhaps as part of Senior teams.
Snowflake pitcher Gerry Falk remembers the team having a regional makeup in addition to the Carman guys.
“We had a couple guys from Roland, a couple guys from Plum Coulee, a couple guys from Winkler, a couple from Morden, a couple from Snowflake, one from Miami, a couple from Elm Creek...,” he said. “We were all from small towns and our coaching staff made a team out of individuals.”
Falk said he appreciated the dedication of coaches and team mates.
“Baseball is just a great vehicle to develop some of those life long friendships that we have,” he said.
Morden Mohawks
The Morden Mohawks, 1993-2000 were inducted into the hall in the Major Team Category.
During the years 1993-2000 the Morden Mohawks won eight straight Border League championships. In 1994 they went a perfect 24-0 in Border league regular schedule and playoffs and were Baseball Manitoba’s Team of the Year. The Mohawks competed in a number of Senior B Manitoba championships and over the years contributed most of the players for Provincial A teams from the South Central region. South Central won the Provincial Senior A Championship in 1999. Mohawk players were also a major component of the Senior A teams that participated in and hosted the Western Canadian championships in 1993 and 1994, and that went to Westerns at Regina in 1997.
Former player Kenton Hildebrand said the team was actually a dominant force for much longer than the eight years indicated by the award.
“This really represents the second half of a larger run that we had,” he said. “It really began in 1987. After that we won 13 out of 14 years, including 11 consecutive from 1990 to 2000.”
Hildebrand said the players changed over the years, yet the team kept winning under the constant coaching of Joe Wiwchar.
“Joe put a lot of time and energy into this ball team,” he said. “Really all the success we had starts with Joe and we owe a lot to him for his dedication to this team.”
Jason Mateychuk
Jason Mateychuk was inducted into the hall in the individual category.
Born in 1971, the Dominion City resident has been an outstanding  baseball player, coach, and builder in Manitoba. From 1987 through 1992 he had a great Junior career as a pitcher, first baseman, and power hitter with the Elmwood Giants. He then went on to Mayville State for four seasons and was All-Conference in 1993. He then played with Swift Current in the Saskatchewan Major Baseball League. In 1994 he began his Manitoba Senior career and from 1995 through 2004 was player-coach of the Carillon Sultans of the Winnipeg Senior League. The Sultans won five straight League championships and in 1993 the Provincial Senior A Title. Jason became player-coach of the Franklin Border Kings in 2005 and by 2011 this team had won four championships in their league. As a coach he has had success with Midget, Junior, and Senior teams. He is a very active youth coach not only in baseball but also in hockey, volleyball and track and field.
Louis Cote introduced Mateychuk, admitting it’s something he thought he’d never do, because early on, he simply didn’t like him all that much.
“We grew up in the same part of the province and we played sports against each other,” he said. “In the winter I was a La Broquerie Hab and he was a Steinbach Huskie and I’d lose to him. In the summer, I was a Vita Cowboy, he was an Elmwood Giant, I would lose to him. I go to college in Valley City State, he’s at Mayville, I would lose to him again. You can see why I didn’t like him much.”
The two did end up playing together for the Steinbach Carillons which established a friendship they still have today.
Mateychuk said he grew up in the country and started playing baseball with his brother.
“We built a backstop out of 2x4’s and chicken wire along the #12 highway,” he said, adding it must have looked pretty amusing to see them playing one-on-one baseball. “To us, that was Fenway Park,” he said.