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Fort Macleod Royals honour players for key contributions

ryan cook

Ryan Cook earned the Fort Macleod Royals Danny Paskal Memorial Award.

danny shepherd

Danny Shepherd was named the Fort Macleod Royals most valuable player.

Fort Macleod Royals recognized key team members last week for their contributions during the 2013 American Legion baseball season.
The Royals presented six major awards Aug. 6 during the team’s wind-up at the home of Laurel and Bryan Clemens of Fort Macleod.
Third baseman and leading hitter Danny Shepherd was named the Royals most valuable player.
“Danny is a game changer, simply put,” Royals coach Ben Paskal said. “Every team we play knows him and fears his bat.”
Shepherd batted .500 this season with 11 triples, nine doubles and a team-high 36 runs batted in.
Shepherd also pitched for the Royals, giving up 52 hits and 28 walks while striking out 22 batters in 34 1/3 innings. He had an earned run average of 6.31.
Shepherd was named to the American Legion all-conference team and was one of only five players in the conference named to the all-state team.
“He is a special player with incredible talent and a great work ethic which made him our MVP this season,” Paskal said.
Another special player this season was Ryan Cook, who earned the Danny Paskal Memorial Award.
“This award is obviously a special one to me,” Paskal said of the award named for his older brother, who was a member of the Royals when he died in a crash. “It’s about leadership, dedication, hard work and passion.”
“Ryan is an individual who has all these traits and has the drive to push himself to be the best he can,” Paskal added. “Ryan leads by example, he is not one to say more than he has to and lets his game do the talking for him. ”
Cook was the workhorse in the Royals bullpen, pitching 44 2/3 innings — the most of anyone on the team. He allowed 66 hits and 24 walks while striking out 31 batters while compiling a 3.67 earned run average.
Cook also played shortstop and batted .333 with nine RBI.
“When the game is on the line, he wants the ball,” Paskal said. “He has qualities you just can’t teach. Ryan undoubtedly deserves this award and his talent and leadership are invaluable to our team.”
The Royals Rookie of the Year was TJ Tornquist, who pitched, caught and played first base.
“TJ really worked hard this year along with all our rookies who will continue to be a major part of our success in the coming years,” Paskal said.
Tornquist had a .305 batting average with six doubles and 18 RBI.
Tornquist pitched in eight games, allowing 24 hits and 12 walks while striking out five batters for an ERA of 7.65.
Kelten Jensen was named the Royals Most Sportsmanlike Player.
“As an 18-year-old Kelten added some experience and leadership this year to our young team,” Paskal said. “His positive attitude was infectious and was a huge benefit to our team.”
Jensen pitched and played infield and outfield in his first season with Fort Macleod.
Jensen worked 9 2/3 innings in five games that he pitched, allowing 28 hits and five walks while striking out nine batters.
Jensen hit .216 with seven RBI.
“Even though Kelten battled an injury for the majority of the season, he always remained positive and worked hard regardless of the situation,” Paskal said.
Aidan Kidd saw duty on the mound, in the infield and in the outfield on his was to being named the Royals Most Improved Player.
“Aiden’s hard work over the last few years really showed this season as he was one of our top hitters and has become a premiere outfielder in our league,” Paskal said. “He is a testament for our younger players of how far you can come with the dedication he has.”
Kidd pounded out 33 hits with a double, two triples and 20 RBI with a batting average of .344.
Kidd pitched 20 innings in six games with an ERA of 5.73. He gave up 33 hits, 16 walks and struck out 13 batters.
The Royals Gold Glove Award went to first-year player Garet Burton.
“Garet was a late pick-up for us this year which we were lucky to have,” Paskal said. “He led our team in fielding percentage (.983) and was the heart of our defence in center field. He made catches that most couldn’t, which can have a huge impact on the outcome of each game he plays.”
Burton also pitched in 11 innings in five games, allowing 18 hits and eight walks with seven strikeouts and an ERA of 10.64.
Burton batted .300 for the Royals with 24 hits including two doubles, 19 walks and 10 RBI.