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Versatile Chief a real gem on the diamond

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A Charleswood baseball player will be honoured as one of the best in Manitoba on Nov. 17 in Brandon at the Royal Oak Inn.

Matt Dunstone of the Winnipeg South Chiefs has been named Baseball Manitoba’s Midget Player of the Year.

Dunstone, 17, who only started playing AAA baseball three years ago, is looking forward to being named one of the province’s best players.

"It will be an experience I will remember forever. There’s going to be the best baseball players and teams from all over the province so it will be a pretty cool experience to share with them," Dunstone said.

Dunstone started playing community baseball at the age of seven and has played for a number of teams. Winnipeg South Chiefs coach Bryan Ezako helped give Dunstone the push he needed to play at the AAA level.

"Without him trying to push me to get to the AAA level I never would have gotten to where I was today," Dunstone said.

Ezako believes Dunstone is deserving of the award.

"He was truly the MVP of our team and deserves to be MVP of the league based on the roles he had to fulfill," he said.

Dunstone admitted he did not think he’d have such a successful year. He spent some of it filling in for key players with injuries. Not only was he the starting pitcher, but he also played third base, shortstop and right field.

"We knew he was the type of player who could excel at that level, but for him to just step up when players went down like that was terrific," Ezako said.

Ezako noted Dunstone is a huge asset not only on the field, but off it as well.

"He’s far and away one of the most respected players on the team. It’s how he carries himself. One of the things about Matt is he takes responsibility," Ezako said. "He’s always pushing himself and he doesn’t place blame or put that kind of pressure on others. He just encourages others to do the best they can and inspires and motivates them."

Dunstone, who has been to nationals with the Charleswood-based Chiefs, has also represented Team Manitoba on many occasions. While Dunstone would be open to accepting an offer to playing baseball at the college level, he’d have a hard time deciding because he is also an accomplished junior curler.

Regardless, the 2012 Baseball Manitoba Awards dinner will be a moment he’ll never forget.

"It’s for sure at the top of my list in my baseball career, there’s nothing like it."

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