Bandits head coach Paul Mrazek (left) and assistant coach Ryan Phillips (right) present Tyler Thorn (middle) with his MVP award. Thorn was also named the team's top pitcher.

Bandits celebrate American Legion season with team awards

Graduating pitcher Tyler Thorn named MVP as Cranbrook Bandits hand out team awards

The Cranbrook Bandits wrapped up the 2016 American Legion Baseball season this past Sunday, celebrating the best and brightest of the summer with team awards.

Leading the charge was graduating pitcher Tyler Thorn, who was named Most Valuable Player and Pitcher of the Year.

“Tyler was one of our starting pitchers and he did a great job on the bump this year,” said Paul Mrazek, head coach of the Cranbrook Bandits, during awards presentations on Sunday.

“His hitting really improved this year. He really came around and started to hit the ball more consistently and started to hit with more power.”

After a successful final year with the Bandits, Thorn became the first player in program history to commit to the University of Calgary Dinos baseball program.

The southpaw compiled a record of 4-3 along with three saves, registering a 4.61 earned-run average (ERA) over more than 45 innings of work. Offensively, he hit for .303 with 28 RBI and 22 stolen bases.

Cedar Kemp was named Offensive Player of the Year after hitting for a .371 average with 25 RBI and 34 stolen bases. Longtime Bandit Devon Marra, a three-time winner of the Offensive Player of the Year honours, was on hand to recognize Kemp’s efforts.

“Cedar had a great year,” Mrazek said. “It was interesting how he got more confident and started to question some things.

“Sometimes it’s a little bit of a struggle and it took a bit for me to convince him, but I think I finally convinced him when he is stealing and sliding into second [base] that the shortest path is right at the bag not over here [away from the bag].”

Graduating catcher Kei Chlopan was named Defensive Player of the Year for his work behind the plate, while youngster Greg Rebagliati was dubbed Rookie of the Year.

Rookie Linden Meggison was named Most Dedicated Player after hitting .327 with 46 RBI, splitting time as designated hitter and first baseman.

Finally, Mrazek presented both Thorn and Chlopan with their Bandits batting helmets, a right of passage for veteran players graduating from the program. Both players exhausted their eligibility at the conclusion of the 2016 American Legion Baseball season.

The 2016 season was one of the most successful is Bandits history, as Cranbrook’s boys of summer racked up 23 wins — the most ever in the program’s existence.

2016 Cranbrook Bandits Award Winners

Rookie of the Year#16 – P – Greg Rebagliati

Most Dedicated Player#29 – 1B/DH – Linden Meggison

Defensive Player of the Year#13 – C/SS – Kei Chlopan

Pitcher of the Year#4 – P/OF – Tyler Thorn

Offensive Player of the Year#6 – OF/P – Cedar Kemp

Most Valuable Player#4 – P/OF – Tyler Thorn

Carson Meggison (Most Dedicated Player)

Carson Meggison (middle) named Most Dedicated Player

Kei Chlopan (Defensiver Player of the Year)

Kei Chlopan (middle) named Defensive Player of the Year

Cedar Kemp (Offensive Player of the Year)

Cedar Kemp (second from left) named Defensive Player of the Year

Graduating players Kei Chlopan (second from left) and Tyler Thorn (second from right) named presented with batting helmets