By Greg Price
Another Southern Alberta High School Baseball League season is in the books and two Taberites made their mark, according to coach votes across the league.
Kole Fujita and Darian Simmons were selected as Southeast all-stars for their stellar play with the W.R. Myers Rebels baseball program.
“Kole is a kid that is just full of heart who has the right attitude when it comes to baseball. When I was asking the team to do something, he was always the first guy on the line doing it and ready to go,” said Dan Pulfer, head coach of the W.R. Myers Rebels baseball team. “There were quite a few times we were thrown into a real pickle of a situation where you have to ask a guy to go that extra mile and play a different position like back catch another game in the heat. It was never a no, it was always ‘yep, what can I do to help the team coach.”
Along with a strong glove and bat in the Myers lineup, Pulfer was amazed to see that type of leadership from a young player.
“To see that type of an attitude and that type of leadership when he still has two more years ahead of him, you can’t ask for much better to work with,” said Pulfer of his catcher, pitcher and shortstop. “We were pretty shy at that position (catcher) in the first place and he got a lot more work behind the plate than he was used to, but he definitely rose to the challenge. There were other times I would promise him he wouldn’t have to catch because it was 30 degrees and he caught the game before. But, all the sudden an injury would happen (with a small roster) and we’d have to switch things around where I’m ‘sorry kid, but I need a favour from you’ and he’d be always ‘yeah coach, I can do that.”
Simmons was a feared hitter in the lineup, always occupying anywhere from the three-to-five slot in the batting order.
“He hit for power and average. I was looking through the stats, and not only was he doing well in average and hits, but he also had quite a few walks as well at the plate,” said Pulfer. “It goes to show you his discipline at the plate. He had a reputation throughout the league and I think the pitchers were avoiding the strike zone with him, and he took what they were giving him. There was a doubleheader up in Brooks and I think he had something like seven or eight walks. They were not giving him any pitches to see.”
Simmons’ contributions went far beyond the bat with the Rebels, as he showed a steady glove in the middle infield (shortstop), left field and catcher, and was the team’s top strikeout pitcher.
“He was often pitching against the tougher teams in the league. When he was on the mound, he did his job and was very effective throwing strikes. At one point he was leading the league in strikeouts up until the final game,” said Pulfer. “Both our all-stars helped carry our team through the rough spots. We ended up with a 5-3 record and if we didn’t have our one blow-up day, I think our record could have been 6-2 or even 7-1. It was a good, successful season.”