Family Competition

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Growing up with five siblings, and a mother who is more competitive than his father The Great One, Trevor Gretzky is used to competition both on and off of the field!

 

As a young boy Trevor took a shot at hockey but hung up his skates and turned in his stick for cleats and his baseball bat. “Ever since I was old enough to understand the game, I knew my goal was to be in the big leagues and win a World Series.”  For Trevor baseball seemed to come more naturally. “There was no hockey in Los Angeles. I played in New York but stopped at a young age.” Trevor still gets out on the ice occasionally but you can always find him at the ball field.

While practicing a different sport, Trevor has still taken a lot from his father, Wayne Gretzky, who got him started in baseball. If you ever stay to watch the post-game activities you will notice Trevor standing at the home dugout signing autographs until everyone has been talked to. “It was how I grew up, watching my dad. He always was and is one of those guys who takes his time to do those kinds of things. I’ve always respected him for that; he’s a big role model in my life.” Trevor also picked his stick based on his father’s liking. Easton came naturally as the brand of choice as his father used an Easton hockey stick. Trevor’s father introduced him to the baseball guys at Easton and he fell in love with their bats.

For those looking from the outside in, it may seem as though Trevor is living in a shadow but for him it’s not like that at all. “I don’t think about it like that. I go out and play the game that I love, I’m privileged to be in the position that I’m in now.”

Competition and being competitive is all part of that position. “That’s why you play the game. To win championships and knowing how hard all of the guys on this team worked leading up to this season fires you up to get out there and compete.”

Trevor Gretzky has some big shoes to fill but he is doing it in his own way.  “My father has always told me if you’re the hardest working guy out there good things will happen,” and that is just what Trevor Gretzky is doing with YOUR Boise Hawks.

Fun fact, if Trevor wasn’t playing baseball he would want to train dolphins.

Round 2 with YOUR Boise Hawks & Pacific Source

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YOUR Boise Hawks teamed up with Pacific Source once again to promote healthy choices and being active for the second year in a row. The 2013 Boise Hawks Baseball Camp took place over two days, June 27- 28 and brought out even more kids than last year. There were 110 participants and a team of 16 Boise Hawks along with Manager Gary Van Tol helping out.

 

Matt Iannazzo, pitcher for YOUR Boise Hawks, was the camp captain during warm-ups. “I loved seeing the kids have fun and enjoying the game that we take so serious day in and day out.”

 

The kids had the opportunity to work on stretching, hitting, pitching, catching, etc. There were 10 teams that rotated between different stations throughout the two days. From what I heard, the Radar machine was the favorite amongst the young athletes.

 

I had the chance to catch up with four of the youngsters while they were enjoying their team lunch at the conclusion of day one. Three out of the four claimed the radar was the best station while one little guy loved the catching station and praised his coach, Lance Rymel, catcher for YOUR Boise Hawks. Nicholas McDaniel, son of our team photographer, Scott McDaniel, and his friends, Ryan Baker, Peter Palavos, and Nathan Palavos are all teammates on the Yankees for the Meridian PAL.

 

The camp goers also got the chance for a little fun on the slip-N-slide, lunch with the players, and an autograph session on day two.

 

Check YOUR Boise Hawks social media sites for pictures from camp and for information on how you can sign up to participate next year.

 

 

Corbin Hoffner’s Small Town & Big Dreams

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Since the day Corbin Hoffner can remember he has wanted to play baseball professionally. His father, Bob, coached his older brother Kyle which is what sparked his interest in baseball at a young age. Coming from a small town has been Hoffner’s biggest struggle with the chance to show scouts what he was made of being slim to none. Going to St. Petersburg College in Clearwater, Florida gave him the exposure he needed to get the opportunity he has today in the Cubs organization.

While a college education was important to Hoffner, he couldn’t resist the opportunity to sign with the Cubs when they also offered him money to finish his college education later in life. Playing baseball as his job with the chance to continue with college later was just what he was looking for. “Having that opportunity was something that I could not pass up.”

Hoffner’s first year of college ball went as well as it possibly could. He went 5-5 as a starter with an impressive 2.50 ERA and 73 strikeouts in 72 innings. “My first year of college ball went really well. Meeting new people and living on my own made me grow up and become mature as a person. It was an experience I will never forget.”

As far as Boise goes, Hoffner is just about two weeks into his stay and says it has been great thus far. “I didn’t know what to expect but so far it has been really good.” Hoffner has made 2 appearances for YOUR Boise Hawks, one of which was here in Boise where he went 3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 BB and 4K.

Getting to this point has been a lifelong dream of Hoffner’s. “It has been a dream to play pro ball since I was a little kid playing tee ball, I have always wanted to play professionally.” Hoffner says his family has been the best support system throughout the years. “They are always there for me through thick and thin with whatever the situation has been.” Hoffner has 2 siblings, an older brother Kyle, a younger sister Carly, and his parents, Bob and Tammy. He is not sure if they will make it out to Boise but he knows they are trying to.

Hoffner is from Sebring, Florida, a little town in the middle of the state. He enjoys golfing, hunting, and playing ping pong with his buddies. His best advice to pass on is “Put everything you have into the game you love and have no regrets when you look back on it one day.”

The Dunston Men

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A common denominator when it comes to YOUR Boise Hawks is the fact that their father’s were the one’s to get them started in baseball. From playing tee ball to acting as the bat boy for a major league team, these boys started out with their father’s by their side. For Shawon Dunston Jr., baseball and life are one in the same between him and his father.

While it is hard to remember where it all began, Shawon Jr. says that his most vivid memory is acting as the Giants Bat Boy for the last two seasons his father, Shawon Dunston Sr., played. “Just being there with him everyday and seeing guys like Barry Bonds do what he did was pretty special.”

In the Dunston household, baseball is life. “My dad has related life and baseball together since the day I can remember.” When it comes to Shawon Jr., Shawon Sr. tries to help out mentally whenever he can. Shawon Jr. says the best advice his father has given him is “You’re in a lose lose situation. If you go 0 for 4 then you’re not good, but if you go 4 for 4, it’s because your father played. Just play hard, you are somebody and everyone is watching, so remember everything you do, people are watching close.”

Shawon Jr. started out with YOUR Boise Hawks last season but was sent back down to Mesa. Throughout the off season Twitter and Instagram posts told the story of his fight to get mentally prepared and come back strong for 2013. “While my father helped me mentally, physically I took it upon myself to work harder, put on weight, and to be prepared and ready once spring came.” While the season is just two games in, Shawon Jr. is batting .500 and proving himself on the field already.

While Shawon Jr. will not be able to see his Dad for Father’s Day as he is coaching the Giants against the Braves in Atlanta, his older sisters Whitnie and Jasmine drove down to meet him, “he’s pretty excited about that.”

Shawon Jr. says that his father has always told him he did not have to play baseball, but, “if you want to do what I did for a living, there’s going to be sacrifices you have to make.” Missing out on special days such as Father’s Day is definitely one of those sacrifices. One of his father’s favorite sayings is “you’ll have me now, but love me later.” I think that says it all.

ZUMBA at the Ballpark

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Who would have thought, ZUMBA at the ballpark?

This past Friday YOUR Boise Hawks hosted ZUMBA at the Ballpark with Firehouse No. 6, a community wellness center located at 1620 N Liberty St. Boise, 83704. Firehouse No. 6 offers ‘pay as you go’ programs for people regardless of age, socioeconomic and cognitive impairments.

“The Firehouse is committed to producing a well-balanced healthy atmosphere that will provide a wide range of fitness activities to meet the needs of all our clients.”

YOUR Boise Hawks teamed up with Firehouse No. 6 to “provide a fitness program for everyone, from the athlete, retiree and physically or mentally impaired individual.” We provide the venue, Firehouse provides the instructors!

Firehouse No. 6 offers a variety of classes but at Memorial Stadium they put on the ZUMBA Fitness class. “ZUMBA classes feature exotic rhythms set to high-energy Latin and international beats.”

Classes are $4.00 per session with the proceeds going to Hawks Nation Charity, which goes into funding youth sports, and Firehouse No.6 to provide scholarships and aid for those who need assistance for the various programs.“It’s easy to do, effective and totally exhilarating, often building a deep-rooted community among returning students.”

Come join us!

ZUMBA at the Ballpark Schedule 2013

May 24     6PM-7PM

May 31     6PM-7PM

June 7       6PM-7PM

June 14     6PM-7PM

For more information visit http://www.boisehawks.com or http://www.firehouse6.com.

Get Discovered, Get Evaluated, Get Better!

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With the Under Armour Baseball Factory Tryouts just around the corner on May 12, I decided to talk to a couple former Boise Hawks about their personal experiences with the event.

For Bijan Rademacher it was an eye opening experience. “I would definitely recommend it because it gets you exposure and it opened my eyes to the talent that was around me.”

The Baseball Factory program gives players from age 12 – 18 the opportunity to be discovered and turn their hobby into a successful career. The goal is to move through the Baseball Factory at levels much like the minors of a Major League organization.

The first step is to go through an evaluation at a National tryout like the one being hosted at Memorial Stadium. The players are then placed in the best development program for their individual needs and move up as seen fit.

Baseball factory works on the players from both a physical and mental standpoint taking them through high level training and competition as well as life lessons in baseball IQ, life skills and academic guidance, ultimately molding them into a well rounded athlete for the collegiate level. “Baseball Factory’s vision is to guide both players and parents through the college recruiting process and to professionally train players in order to find a school that is the right fit … both academically and athletically.”

Through pro scout evaluations, player videos, professional instruction, high level competition and ongoing guidance, Baseball Factory is a leader in player development both on and off of the field.

While Dan Vogelbach only attended one event, he says it was a great experience. “I really enjoyed the way things were run, and the people that were a part of it.”

For more information or to register for the event visit http://www.BaseballFactory.com or call 800-641-4487.

The cost of the event is $99. Players must register prior to the event as there is limited space available.

Around the Horn with Idaho Freshman Baseball

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Mountain View High Freshman Team

The Idaho Freshman Baseball League here in Boise was started last year with eight local high school teams including Borah, Capital, Centennial, Eagle, Meridian, Mt.View, Rocky Mtn., and Vallivue. Boise High joined the league for this season making it a nine team league with the hopes of growing again for next year. The league functions as a gateway to keep the kids actively participating in baseball while waiting for a shot at a spot on their varsity teams. You might think of the freshman league as the Minor League of high school baseball.

 

To get a deeper look into the freshman league and what it brings to the community; I spoke to Mountain View High’s coach, Judd Olmstead, who is in his second year of coaching freshman baseball.

“The most important thing is that it gives these kids a chance to go out and play twenty-five plus games and really grow as a baseball player before they play varsity.”

Judd got into coaching simply because he loves the game. “There isn’t a better feeling than passing your knowledge of the game to a young kid and seeing him take it and use it in his everyday game.”

When it comes to the players, they seem to love and appreciate the league. Not only do they get to play at great ballparks like Memorial Stadium, but they are put up against good competition. “These kids love the game as much as anybody!”

What do the players enjoy most about the league?

“Getting to play with friends at a higher level than a little league team.”

-Jace Forrey, Borah High

 

“Living up to the expectations of the school.”

-Ty Tustin, Borah High

 

“I like competing against the other high schools, and today my friend got a walk off so that’s pretty cool.”

-Daniel Boots, Mt.View

 

“My favorite thing about the freshman league is getting to play at the Hawks, that’s fun for me because you have to make it to the pros the next time to be able to play here. It’s fun just to be able to play here as a freshman.”

-Hunter Snooks, Mt.View

 

The freshman league sits close to the heart of Todd Rahr, President/GM, of YOUR Boise Hawks. It all started when Rahr heard Frank Wright, varsity coach at Eagle High, on Idaho Sports Talk . Wright was on air talking about the cuts the Meridian school district would me making for 2012, freshman baseball being one of them. He spoke about how tough this cut would be on baseball programs in the Valley which struck a nerve in Rahr to call Wright up the next day.

 

“We feel that freshman baseball is an important step in the lives of these players, playing the sport and staying active. We didn’t want to see a disturbance to this program.”

 

Wright brought all of the coaches in the Valley, minus Timberline and Boise, to a meeting at Memorial Stadium where they set up the league! For the first season the league received a grant but in 2013 they weren’t that lucky.  The games cost between two and four dollars to get in with the proceeds being fed back into the Idaho Freshman Baseball League and Hawks Nation Charity  for use of paying umpires, buying game balls, fielding equipment, etc.

 

Memorial Stadium acts as a neutral venue for the teams to play seven to eight games each. Lack of fields to play on and not being able to afford renting a venue was one reason the program was to be cut in the first place.

 

For the 2013 Master Schedule and information on joining the league for next year, visit www.froshbaseball.info.

4th Annual Blues, Brews and BBQ’s

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What better way to kick off the start of summer than enjoying a BBQ with family and friends! YOUR Boise Hawks will be hosting their 4th Annual Blues, Brews and BBQ’s event Saturday June 1 at Memorial Stadium to benefit The Idaho Humane Society. Tickets start at just $7 for admission, one soda and an ice cream or $10 for admission, a beer mug and two sample tickets. Those who choose to bring a bag of cat or dog food for The Idaho Humane Society Pet Food Pantry will receive two extra sample tickets along with their admission.  Extra sample tickets can be purchased for just $1. One ticket gets you a sample and three tickets will get you a full beer. Children three and under get in FREE!

Blues, Brews and BBQ’s is meant to act as a pet food drive to support The Idaho Humane Society. The Idaho Humane Society will have their staff and friendly pets at the event from 11AM-2PM. The animals brought to Memorial Stadium will be up for adoption that day!

As of now the event will feature seven bands from the Treasure Valley including Next in Line, Marshall Poole, Phantasmagoria, Lori B. Band, The Juke Daddy’s, and Jake Leg with The Blues Addicts headlining!

There will be six breweries open with more than twelve beers to choose from for sampling! Brewers include Payette, Grand Teton, 10 Barrel, Crooked Fence, Table Rock, and Highlands Hollow.

As for the BBQ, there will be three “Barbecue Masters,” Rolling Hawk Smokers, Idaho BBQ and Brown Shuga Soul Food!

Geno George, the master mind behind the Blues, Brews and BBQ’s event at Memorial Stadium, says there is no way, rain or shine, that the event can be a letdown.

“Just putting the three things together, the combination of Blues, Microbrews, and Pit BBQ along with family and friends makes for a great time!”

The idea came about while at an event to raise money to send his friend Pete to The Annual Jack Daniels Barbeque Cook -Off in Tennessee after winning the State BBQ Cook-Off here in Idaho. There were no bands, no brews, just food and friends. Geno said “hey, why don’t we do this on a bigger level and add in bands and Microbrews?”

Although the “brew” is a big part of the day, don’t hesitate to bring the kids! The Hawks Nest will be open with kid friendly food and beverages such as popcorn, peanuts, soft pretzels, french fries, Pepsi and iced tea. There will also be domestic beer, wine, margaritas and sangria available for the adults.

Hope to see you there!

Jeff Samardzija: Road to Wrigley

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With his father, Sam Samardzija, a semi-professional hockey player, and his brother, Sam Samardzija Jr., an All State football and baseball player, former Hawk, Jeff Samardzija, had some pretty big shoes to fill. Samardzija grew up in Valparaiso, Indiana where he would become a letterman in not one but three sports, football, basketball and baseball.

Samardzija started playing baseball at the ripe age of six when just about every American boy begins tee ball. Eventually, “It becomes what you do.” While playing multiple sports in high school, Samardzija accepted an athletic scholarship to Notre Dame where he played football from 2003-2006 and baseball from 2004 to 2006. He was recognized as a Freshman All-American by Collegiate Baseball Magazine and continued to play at Notre Dame until he was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 5th round of the 2006 Major League Baseball Draft.

Ultimately it was the rush he got from playing baseball that made his decision between the NFL and MLB. “I woke up in the morning excited to go to the park and work hard, I knew I’d have the commitment for baseball.” One thing that always kept him going was his older brother who he was always trying to keep up with. As Samardzija put it, “It kept me on my toes.”

Looking back over his years on the road to Wrigley, the best advice he has received is something we’ve all heard before, “Just go out and have fun and enjoy doing what you do.” For Samardzija the last two years have been pretty wild. “Where I was in 2010 to where I am now is a total 180.” He is just glad to see that his hard work has paid off!

A Little Extra …

Do you have a most memorable moment in sports?

“Your first time getting called up is always pretty sweet and your first strike out is always awesome too but you always remember those times when you were a little kid too. I remember being a little guy playing 12 year old All-Stars and hitting a homerun in the top of the 6th and then I came back and threw in the bottom of the 6th to win the game and pitched the six innings, so doing both of those was pretty cool I’ll never forget that.”

What do you remember most about Boise?

“Well Downtown apparently, I found myself down there a lot. The stadium was great, I loved living out in Boise, I loved the outdoor scene that’s out there. I’m a big fisherman and I enjoy going camping and everything, hiking, backpacking, I fit in pretty well out there and there’s a lot to do. I drove out there from Chicago to get ready for the season so I remember that 28 hour drive from Chicago to Boise and to be able to see the sites on the way in and really take it in was a great experience to be out there and it’s by far the best city, you know, there or Vancouver.”

What are your expectations for this season?

“As a team obviously you want to make the playoffs I think that every year you start out you want to get in either through the wildcard game or winning the division and making the playoffs but making the playoffs and playing in October is the most important thing. You know you want to win a World Series and you can’t do that without making the playoffs. That’s the number one plan for me. Personally it’s just to stay healthy and throw as many innings as I can for this team as a starter. It’s a big part of being one of those guys, If you’re one of the 5 guys who needs to do your part innings wise, pitch deep in the games and give your team a chance to win.”

“Kids in the Kitchen”

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The Junior League of Boise, an educational and charitable group of woman, announced a new campaign on childhoodobesity and nutrition education for this year along with the Treasure Valley Family YMCA. Junior League Boise, along with 230 other Junior Leagues, will put on various “Kids in the Kitchen” events throughout the year to educate children on the importance of eating well and staying healthy.

YOUR Boise Hawks got to join in the fun this past Saturday by helping at the West Boise YMCA “Kids in the Kitchen” event. There was free nutritional food, contests, physical activity, and mascots, which is where the Hawks came in!

Humphrey the Hawk put on a tee ball demonstration where some kids hit off of a tee while others were fielding the balls. The demonstration ended with a homerun contest with the winner taking home four tickets to a Boise Hawks game.

Towards the end of Humphrey’s time there, he was asked to join in a mascot race for the title of Boise’s Fastest Furry Critter and he won!

Can’t wait to see you all out at the ballpark! Remember, eat healthy and stay active!

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