Kelowna Falcons

2023 Major Awards

The Kelowna Falcons are proud to announce the 2023 Major Award winners following an incredible, record setting season this past summer.

Most Improved Player – Raphael Smeenk showed outstanding growth from the first time he stepped on the field until the end of the season. He became a threat in each plate appearance getting stronger as the summer went on. He finished with a .306 batting average over the course of 108 plate appearances and collected 33 hits, eight doubles, three homers and 19 RBI. He also scored 21 runs and had an on base percentage of .371. On the defensive side he played 26 games at shortstop making 26 putouts and had 35 assists finishing with a .924 field percentage.

Most Improved Pitcher – Troy Shepard had a strong season for the Falcons while on the roster and grew each time he took the mound. The lefty was 2-0 in 10 games, had eight starts and finished with a 2.97 ERA over the course of 42.1 innings and fanned 28 batters.

Most Dedicated Player – Jonas Salk was “all-in” this past season and was committed to improving his game. He could be found taking extra batting practice with Coach Loomis almost everyday and worked hard defensively on his footwork and a quick release once the ball got into his glove.

Best Defender – Trey Duffield was one of the best to ever patrol centerfield for the Falcons. He showed incredible ball tracking skill, closing gaps in the outfield and running down balls in the power alleys that he had no business getting to. He made 43 putouts and had three defensive assists in centerfield, then for good measure he added 23 putouts while playing in right field.

Pitcher with Best Stuff – Koen vant Klooster was lights out for the Falcons this summer and was the West Coast League strikeout king racking up 60 during the regular season. His ability to change speeds was very effective using his change-up to complement his 92mph fastball. When he got ahead of a batter his curveball was nearly untouchable making him one of the most dangerous pitchers in Falcons team history. His 60 strikeouts are fourth most all-time.

Best Hitter – Jonas Salk was one of the most consistent hitters in the West Coast League this past summer was one of the best in team history. He led the club with a .312 batting average collecting 54 hits in 173 plate appearances, recording 13 doubles, three homers and had 31 RBIs.

Pitcher of the Year – Sam Hall was outstanding in his 37.1 innings in 2023. He finished the summer at 3-1 with a 2.41 ERA in his 10 appearances. Overall, he made seven starts and struck-out 45 batters with a lively fastball, splitter and outstanding “junk,” keeping hitters off balanced. He certainly didn’t allow much this past summer and was extremely hard to hit against giving up 10 earned runs en route to his three wins.

Player of the Year – Griffin Palfrey (pictured) was simply a man with many talents. Never have the Falcons had a player who was so well rounded and could play multiple positions like Palfrey. At the plate the West Vancouver native hit .276 with 43 hits, six doubles, two homeruns and had 23 RBIs in 156 plate appearances. He also scored 22 runs and was a perfect 5-5 in steals. On the mound he led the pitching staff with a 1.98 ERA over the course of 31.2 innings. He struck out 30 batters in his nine appearances, recorded a victory and a save. Then defensively he was terrific at third and first. He played 79 innings at third base, made 13 assists and had eight putouts. He logged 157.2 innings at first base making 142 putouts, had seven assists and a .993 field percentage.

The Falcons are busy piecing together the 2024 roster which will be announced soon. The coaching staff is excited to have multiple players from the 2023 team wanting to comeback to Kelowna with some unfinished business to complete.

Season tickets and 10-game punch passes for 2024 are available now, contact the Falcons headquarters at 250-763-4100 or email General Manager Mark Nonis at mark@kelownafalcons.com to reserve yours today.

Photo courtesy of Tami Quan Photography

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