The day after his team won the Canadian College Baseball Conference championship in Kamloops, University of the Fraser Valley Cascades pitcher Dylan Emmons of Vernon had some questions.
“What time is practice? When’s the next game?”
Such was the journey Emmons, 21, and the Abbotsford-based Cascades took to winning the CCBC title in their third year of existence.
“Winning it all didn’t really sink in until after I woke up the next day,” said Emmons, a six-foot-two, 170-pound, third-year right-handed pitcher with the Cascades, and a first-team CCBC all-star during the season. “I was still in baseball mode.”
The Cascades defeated Kelowna’s Okanagan College Coyotes two games to one in the best-of-three final. The third-seeded Cascades lost their opener to the Calgary Dinos, then rattled off four-straight wins to advance to the championship.
Emmons appeared in two games during UFV’s comeback, throwing 206 pitches. In the first of four must-win games for his side, he tossed six shutout innings, striking out nine and threw 83 pitches, as the Cascades blanked Nanaimo’s Vancouver Island Mariners 7-0.
Emmons then came through with his second heroic pitching performance in as many days, coming on in relief in the second inning and going the rest of the way, ringing up 13 strikeouts while surrendering just two runs in 123 pitches as UFV defeated the host Thompson Rivers University WolfPack 9-4.
Manager Jordan (Lenny) Lennerton did not call upon Emmons in the championship series.
“I was ready to go and I was chatting at Lenny that I was ready if he needed me,” laughed Emmons. “My mentality when I go out on the mound is ‘I want the ball.’ I love being in the pressure situations. The guys made my job easier with lots of run support. It’s a lot easier pitching with a lead than pitching from behind.”
UFV won the third-and-deciding game over Okanagan College, 13-2, avenging a 10-9 loss to the Coyotes in last year’s one-game, winner-take-all CCBC final. They went 6-2 overall in the tournament.
“Losing on Day 1 we had to go through the back door, but as soon as we explained the schedule and the guys understood it, they took it upon themselves to be prepared,” said Lennerton. “They knew what they had to do, and they fought through it.”
“We didn’t care that we lost the first one,” said Emmons, who is studying criminology. “We knew we weren’t going to roll over after the first loss.”
Emmons was one of four Cascades named conference first all-stars, and three more made the second all-star team. He posted a league-best earned run average of 1.23, and racked up 48 strikeouts (third in the league) and four wins (fourth). Emmons was a second-team selection in 2018.
“My goal this year, individually, was to make the first all-star team,” he said. “Right from the first start, I had it in my mind to try and help the team and make the all-star squad.”
Emmons, whose fastball clocks in around 85 or 86 miles per hour, will spend the summer training in Langley, working on his velocity.