Lacombe baseball player receives provincial recognition

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Stuart Fullarton

Globe Staff

A Lacombe baseball player celebrated a momentous achievement recently, having received the Baseball Alberta Pee Wee AA Competitive Player of the Year award.

Twelve-year-old Rylan Zens received the award at the Baseball Alberta Awards Banquet in Edmonton on Nov. 17. Jesse Barfield, a former Toronto Blue Jays outfielder and Major League Baseball (MLB) all-star, presented the award to him.

“It’s an honour to receive the award for all the hard work I put in,” said Zens. “I’m passionate for the sport and love the game.”

The award gave Zens a satisfying end to a busy year, which saw him travel to various locations in Canada and the United States with the Calgary Coyotes Baseball Club, and attend several camps where he met a number of his MLB heroes.

He also represented Canada at the 2012 Cal Ripken World Series in Aberdeen, Md., won the Team Canada Title with 12U Team Alberta, and finished third place at Tier I provincials with the Lacombe Dodgers.

He said winning the award and playing on Team Canada were the biggest highlights for him this year, adding that he loves baseball not only for “the mental part of it, but also the physical part of it.”

A Toronto Blue Jays fan, Zens has been playing the sport for most of his life. He is currently attending the Okotoks Dawgs Baseball Academy, which he attends three times a week year-round, and he hopes to one day go to college and receive a baseball scholarship.

His goal for next year is to achieve success with the Okotoks Dawgs Bantam program.

The annual Baseball Alberta awards ceremony “honours those people within Baseball Alberta who have contributed in a positive way to making the game of baseball in Alberta great,” according to a description on Baseball Alberta’s website.