Colin Waldner took the Winnipeg Senior Baseball League by storm in his rookie season.
The 22-year-old Altona resident was a standout for the Kildonan Mudcats as they made a trip to the league final, losing in three games to the St. Boniface Legionnaires.
In the regular season, Waldner was fourth on the Elmwood-based Mudcats with a .340 batting average, a home run, nine runs batted in and two stolen bases. He was even more effective on the mound, posting a brilliant 9-1 record in league play and playoffs. During the regular season, he was 6-0 while allowing just five earned runs in 36 innings, striking out 49 batters and handing out just one base-on-balls. For the remarkable season, Waldner earned the Senior "AA" Player of the Year Award at the Baseball Manitoba Awards banquet in Morden on Nov. 9.
Waldner said he was proud of his pitching performance, but noted the other eight players on the field certainly were able to help his cause.
"For me, consistency was pretty up there. I didn’t walk very many guys, I threw strikes, and I got the job done," Waldner said. "I kept the ball low, got groundballs, and there was teamwork behind me. That’s all I can ask for."
Waldner said the team’s showing in the finals was a bit of a disappointment, as there was a two-week layoff between the semifinals and the finals because of the western Canadian and national championships.
"We ran into a red-hot team and we were ice cold, and that was disappointing after a good year," Waldner said. "We’ll be ready to go next year."
Waldner grew up playing his junior baseball with the Altona Bisons, but lacked a place to play after his eligibility ran out last season. With a handful of players from the area already on the Mudcats, he opted to join the team, which shares Koskie Field with the Elmwood Giants.
He enjoyed his rookie season with the Mudcats, and is looking forward to greater achievements in the years to come.
"The season went pretty good, we had our ups and downs throughout the season. The Mudcats is a great group of guys to play with, so that’s the best thing," Waldner said. "When you’re having fun with a good group of guys, you play better. It’s chemistry.
"We’ve got the same group of guys, and I think we’re going to have another great run at the title."