In pursuit of their third consecutive Northwest League championship, the Vancouver Canadians will have home field advantage and the league MVP when they meet the Boise Hawks this weekend.
L.B. Dantzler, 22, was named the Player of the Year by the Northwest League of Professional Baseball on Wednesday. Dantzler was selected in the 14th round of the 2013 draft out of the University of South Carolina where he was an Academic All-American.
In 59 games with Vancouver, the first baseman hit .302 and led the NWL with nine home runs and 35 RBI. In seven at bats with the bases loaded, he hit .429. His fielding percentage is also at the top of the tables. Danztler committed only three errors in 514 total chances for a .995 fielding percentage.
Against the Everett AquaSox in the first game of the north division playoff, Dantzler’s fielding prevented a run when he leapt up to grab a line drive along the first base line. He also scored one when he nailed the ball 365 feet, a distance that would have been a home run in most other ballparks besides Nat Bailey.
"There isn't much more you can ask from a player in his first year of professional baseball," C’s manager Clayton McCullough said in a news release. "He was prepared to play every day and made the players around him that much better because of the way he handled himself both on and off the field. He is just a quality human being and I couldn't be happier for him today.”
The C’s dispatched the Everett AquaSox in two straight games Monday at home and then Thursday on the road, outscoring the conference rival 16-5 to win the northern division of the NWL. Everett, the short-season single-A affiliate of the Seattle Mariners, defeated the Canadians in eight of 12 regular season games and held the C’s to only 11 points.
None of that mattered in the playoffs, however, and now Vancouver faces the Boise Hawks, the south division winner of the Northwest League.
Boise backed into the playoffs much like Vancouver. The Hawks finished the first half of the season two games behind the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes and ended the second half in third place, four games out of first. Because the Volcanoes also won the second half of the season, the Hawks’ overall record of 41-35 put them in the playoffs.
Vancouver travels to Boise for Game One of the three-game series Friday afternoon. The teams return to Nat Bailey Stadium for Game Two at 1:05 p.m. Sunday. The third game, if needed, is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. Monday at Nat Bailey Stadium.
For tickets, visit the Canadians website.
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