RAPID CITY, SD – The Expedition League today announced the 2019 season awards for League MVP, Pitcher of the Year, Al Wagner Memorial Coach of the Year, Executive of the Year, Organization of the Year and Broadcaster of the Year.
“The Expedition League had another incredible year in 2019 and it’s an honor to recognize the outstanding talent that we have at all levels of the League”, said Steve Wagner, Expedition League President. “We have been blessed with amazing, talented players and very hard working and dedicated team owners and front office staffs. It was extremely difficult to choose the winners in each category since there were many well deserving candidates. There were amazing individual performances, outstanding team performances, and phenomenal organizational achievements in the 2019 season. The players, coaches, front office staffs, and owners have once again been fantastic, and I’m humbled that these talented people are a part of the Expedition League. The fans across the League have been amazing in their support of and dedication to our teams. We love giving these great people nonstop fun and
entertainment and putting smiles on their faces as they attend Expedition League games.”
The 2019 League MVP award goes to Bryson Ford, infielder with the Badlands Big Sticks. Bryson, who attends Tusculum University, led the League in batting average (.421), runs scored (76) and triples (10). He was second in the League in RBI with 61 and fourth in home runs with 11. Bryson also stole 28 bases during the season. “Bryson did everything for us this year, not only leading the league in most offensive categories but his versatility on defense allowed us to move people around all summer”, Big Sticks Head Coach Hayden Pewitt said. “He hit anywhere 1-4 in our lineup and started games at 6 different positions throughout the summer. His value offensively and versatility defensively made everyone’s jobs easier.”
The 2019 Pitcher of the Year is Ty Bothwell, left-handed pitcher with the Western Nebraska Pioneers. Ty, who attends Indiana University, led the League in ERA (1.54), wins (9 – Ty finished the season 9-1) and strikeouts (91). He allowed 34 hits in 64.1 innings pitched and his WHIP was a meager 1.07. “Ty threw great all summer, made quality starts every time he went to the mound and did a great job for us”, said Pioneers Head Coach Jimmy Turk. “He’s a hard worker, really good with his routines and he has a bright future.”
The Expedition League’s Al Wagner Memorial Coach of the Year award is named in honor of Expedition League founder and president Steve Wagner’s dad, Al, who served the United States selflessly for nearly four years in World War II while stationed in Europe and North Africa and was awarded two Purple Hearts for being wounded twice and a Bronze Star for heroic service in a combat zone. The Expedition League 2019 Coach of the Year winner is Hayden Pewitt, Head Coach of the Badlands Big Sticks. Hayden guided the Big Sticks to a 48-20 record while winning the
Expedition League championship with a 2-1 League Championship Series victory over the Western Nebraska Pioneers. Big Sticks Owner Dave Ouellette commented, “Hayden did an amazing job managing our team this year. He made sure all players got their needed at-bats and innings on the mound, which is very difficult to do when chasing a championship. The way he managed the players but also had a personal relationship with them is not easy to do and he did a great job of balancing that part of the game. Hayden and GM Jason Watson did a fantastic job of putting together a great team on the field but an even better job of putting together a team of great guys off the field who did countless community service events in the Dickinson area while becoming adopted loved ones to their host families. Every “day off” the Big Sticks had was used to include the team in a community event and bring awareness to the program. Hayden is very deserving of this award and we are very lucky to have him on our side.”
The Expedition League’s 2019 Executive of the Year is Jackson Bruce, General Manager of the Pierre Trappers. The Trappers 2019 attendance of 700 fans/game increased 33.3% over 2018 attendance of 525 fans/game. The entire Pierre community has embraced the Trappers and this is largely due to Jackson’s nonstop hard work over the past two years. Jackson has worked tirelessly to provide an incredible, fun fan experience at Hyde Stadium, to take great care of Trappers corporate partners, and to give back to the Pierre community.
“I am extremely grateful for being selected as the 2019 Expedition League Executive of the Year”, said Jackson. “It was truly a team effort this season. My staff and I worked hard to make the Trappers experience the best it can be and we couldn’t have done it without all of them. Herman Fennell was instrumental with Game Day Operations and making sure that things ran smoothly. Head Coach Tanner Neale and Assistant Coach Jake Witt worked hard to secure great talent, win ballgames and establish great team culture. The interns were the heartbeat of the staff and worked hard day in and day out to ensure we were at the top of our game. Jen Allen, Concessions Manager, and all of our game day staff did an amazing job of making sure that Trappers fans, both young and old, were well taken care of. I can’t thank them enough. The increase in attendance this year and the fan excitement is what shows that the Trappers have made a positive impact in the Pierre community. Pierre has really demonstrated that they are the most supportive community in the League.” Steve Wagner, Trappers Owner, commented, “the Trappers have achieved tremendous financial and operational success in two short years and Jackson has been a key part of this. The passion and excitement that Jackson brings to the Trappers and the community each day is contagious. Jackson has a positive, can do attitude and he has an incredible way of addressing potential problems with solutions. Whenever Jackson comes to me with a challenge or problem, he has already given careful thought to a solution. This is an outstanding leadership quality that not many people possess.
”The 2019 Organization of the Year in the Expedition League is presented to the Souris Valley Sabre Dogs. The Sabre Dogs game day experience is second to none as General Manager Darrell Handelsman and his entire staff are incredibly meticulous about every detail of the fan experience. Corbett Field and its amenities are as good or better than many minor league ballparks, thanks to Darrell and his staff. The 2019 All-Star Extravaganza was a huge success and a phenomenal experience for everyone in attendance, from players to fans to corporate partners. The Sabre Dogs
organization is very ingrained in the community and serves the community extremely well. The operational and financial success of the Sabre Dogs has been tremendous. “This is a great honor for the organization”, said Handelsman. “Our entire staff deserves the credit, from our Assistant GM, Jose Sajour, to our amazing group of
interns, our seasonal ballpark staff, coaches and players. We are fortunate to be in a great community with great fans, wonderful corporate partners and a beautiful ballpark.” “The Sabre Dogs are a first-class organization that operates with excellence”, commented Steve Wagner, Sabre Dogs Owner. “It’s important to us that we be impactful, positive contributors to Minot and the surrounding communities and we’re honored to give back to the great people in and around Minot. I love to see our fans having fun with friends and family at the ballpark and the Sabre Dogs have invested in Corbett Field to provide an incredible hospitality experience. We have exciting plans for growth and enhancements to the ballpark to make the fan experience even better. We’re thrilled and blessed to be in Minot!”
The Expedition League’s Broadcaster of the Year is Jonathan Rawson of the Spearfish Sasquatch. The Expedition League was blessed with a lot of great broadcasters in 2019 so Jonathan winning this award is a tremendous accomplishment. Jonathan hails from Ankeny, Iowa and is currently a sophomore at the University of Iowa majoring in Sports Journalism. While at Iowa, he broadcasts several sports for the Big Ten Network and is a Sports Reporter/Anchor for Daily Iowan TV. His ultimate career goal is to be the voice of a MLB franchise. “During the 2019 summer season with the Spearfish Sasquatch, Jonathan was always prepared for each game”, stated Kevin Bybee, Sasquatch Owner. “Jonathan’s knowledge of stats and storylines for not only the Sasquatch, but the opposing team, was second to none. Jonathan demonstrated skills in which he could fill rain delays with insight into players’ personal
lives. He would occasionally bring out his sense of humor and his own observations of the atmosphere and would make those listening on the radio or watching online feel like they were actually at the ballpark. Jonathan has a bright future in broadcasting. Congratulations to Jonathan for being awarded Broadcaster of the Year in the Expedition League.”