Kelowna Falcons

Canadian Falcons

As Canada Day approaches this week, the Falcons look back at some of the best Canadian born players to ever suit up at Elks Stadium.

Some players on the list were around during the Pacific International Baseball League (PIL) that the Falcons competed in until 2005. That season the Falcons and a handful of other franchises made the jump and opened up the West Coast Collegiate Baseball League (WCCBL), today we know it as the West Coast League (WCL).

In no particular order here are some of the best Canadians to ever play collegiate baseball as a Falcon.

LHP James Paxton from Ladner, played in 2007 and finished 3-5 with a 2.94 ERA in 70.1 innings and struck out 62 before getting drafted by the Seattle Mariners.

RHP Trevor Brigden from North York Ontario attended Okanagan College and played for the Falcons in 2018 collecting a 4-4 record with a 2.94 ERA and the second most strikeouts in a single season with 69. He was selected by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 2019 draft and is a member of Team Canada hopefully going to Olympics.

INF Taylor Wright from Vancouver played in Kelowna for two seasons. In 2017 he had one of, if not the best individual season for a positional player finishing with a.337 average and set new team highs with 69 hits, 11 homeruns and 54 RBIs. He wasn’t as red hot in 2018 when he returned but still gathered a .295 average with 56 hits, four homers and 33 RBIs.

LHP Niall Windeler from Toronto spent the 2017 season with the Falcons. He was 4-1 with a 2.74 ERA and fanned 20 batters. He was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in 2019.

RHP Curtis Taylor from Port Coquitlam threw the 2015 summer for the Falcons finishing 3-3 with a 3.37 ERA and struck out 35. The following June he was taken in the fourth round of the Major League draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks and is currently in the Toronto Blue Jays system.

RHP Alex Webb is a Surrey native and pitched for the Falcons during the summer of 2015 and finished 2-2 with a 2.60 ERA with 30 strikeouts. He was first drafted by the San Diego Padres in June of 2015 in the 36th round. He chose not to sign and returned to UBC following his summer in Kelowna. Then in June of 2016 he re-entered the Draft and was taken by the Cincinnati Reds in the ninth round to officially begin his pro career.

OF Austen Butler from Port Coquitlam spent a pair of summers in Kelowna patrolling the outfield. First in 2018 he collected 21 hits, seven doubles and six RBIs while hitting .250. He returned the following summer and was more productive with 38 hits, eight doubles, a homerun and 14 RBI.

INF Andrew Firth from London Ontario played two summers with the Falcons. In 2011 he had 30 hits, six doubles and 15 RBI. He returned in 2012 to have a terrific season with a .331 average which included 47 hits, nine doubles, a pair of homeruns and 21 RBI while playing a solid hot corner.

INF Greg Friesen is one of the only Regina natives to ever play for the Falcons. He spent two summers in Kelowna, the first in 2011 when he hit .255 with 27 hits, six doubles, four homers and 21 RBI. When he returned in 2012 he was one of the most dangerous hitters in the league with a.280 average including 40 hits, nine doubles, four more homeruns and 26 RBI.

INF Jesse Sawyer (pictured) from Calgary was in Kelowna during the 2010 season and hit .247, had 39 hits, seven doubles and five homeruns. His 30 RBIs at the time set a new single season team record previously held by Chris Davis, now of the Baltimore Orioles.

LHP Brad Ashman was a tall, lengthy lefty that was in Kelowna for the 2005 summer. He was a crafty pitcher who won four games that season and had an impressive 1.98 ERA.

LHP Shane Kraemer was a high schooler from Chilliwack who joined the Falcons in 2010. He appeared in 12 games that summer but only threw 14 innings. He managed a 1-0 record with a 3.85 ERA and struck out nine. A few years after that he found himself in the Toronto Blue Jays organization.

RHP Jared Mortenson was from Abbotsford in 2011. He only appeared five times for the Falcons and finished with a 2.84 ERA with 18 strikeouts in 19 innings. However he went on to represent Canada at various international tournaments.

LHP David Otterman spent the 2011 summer with the Falcons out of Coquitlam. The lefty had a solid season with a 3.22 ERA and struck out 46 batters.

OF Davis Todosichuk has been one of the fastest players in the Falcons outfield. The Kelowna native spent three seasons at Elks Stadium from 2016-2018. He finished with 54 hits, 17 stolen bases and in the outfield he collected 214 putouts.

INF BJ Grenda is from Lake Country and spent three summers with the Falcons from 2002-2004. He was a strong first baseman who hit .339 in 2002 with three homeruns, and led the PIL with 26 RBIs.

INF Kyle Paul played three seasons with his hometown Falcons from 2005-2007 and was a leader on and off the field.

RHP Brooks McNiven from Vernon was a Falcon during the 2002 season. The following year he was selected by the San Francisco Giants in the fourth round of the MLB Draft. He went onto pitch for Team Canada at the Baseball World Cup in 2007 and then the Beijing Olympics in 2008. He also pitched for Canada at the World Baseball Classic in 2009.

There have many other Canadians to come through the Falcons organization and there will no doubt be more to add to the list following the 2022 season. Happy Canada Day!

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