Horvath, Kelly, return for second season
By Jonathan Hodgson
The Okotoks Dawgs are bringing back two more key players from the 2014 team. Infielder Ellis Kelly and right-handed pitcher Chris Horvath have re-signed for the 2015 season.
A 6-foot-4, 215 lb. sophomore from Wayne State University. Horvath (Windsor, Ont.) will be entering his second season in a Dawgs uniform after enjoying a strong first half of the 2014 summer season as a freshman, before an injury brought his season to an early end. In five starts during the month of June, he pitched to a 3.32 ERA, surrendering just 18 hits in 24.1 innings pitched.
Horvath is looking to build on those successes to turn 2015 into a breakout year.
“I was upset that I had to leave early last year.” Horvath begins. “I’m really excited to come back and have another opportunity to win a ring.”
Coach Brett Thomas saw great promise in 2014 and is looking for big things from his right-hander this coming season.
“Chris Horvath was one of our best pitchers before his injury last season,” Thomas said. “He was already a rock in our rotation in his freshman summer and I can’t imagine what another year of college ball at Wayne State will do for his development.”
Kelly is a 6-foot-1, 175 lb. infielder who returns for his second season in Okotoks. Now in his sophomore year at Lamar Community College, Kelly joined the Dawgs following his freshman season in 2014 and quickly emerged as an impact player.
The native of Castle Rock, Col. was a mainstay in the middle of the infield, displaying his glove and athleticism at both the shortstop and second base positions, and was the only player to play all 46 games and 9 playoff games for head coach Thomas. He enjoyed success at the plate, steadily improving throughout the summer to hit .279 on the season with 15 RBI’s and 7 stolen bases, providing the team with a spark at the top of the order.
Kelly was recognized for his efforts as the recipient of the Dawgs 2014 True Grit Award. He and the team’s three other award winners will be honoured at the Dawgs eight annual awards banquet on Feb. 7th. He has also secured a commitment to the University of Utah (NCAA Div. 1; Pac-12 Conference) next fall.
Kelly says he is excited to return, and eager to help the team take the next step in 2015,
“I enjoyed last year so much.” Says Kelly. “I love the fan support and how much pride the people of Okotoks have for their Dawgs, and it will be even sweeter when we win them a Championship!”
“I am excited to come back and help the team win, with that goal in mind.” Kelly says.
Dawgs head coach Brett Thomas says that it was a high priority to have Kelly back on the infield next summer.
“Ellis worked his way into becoming one of the best players in the league,” Thomas said. “He was instrumental for us. He really solidified our infield defense, and was a big part of our offense, hitting at the top of the lineup.”
The Dawgs have also brought back another member of their pitching staff, re-signing right-hander Horvath for 2015.
Making sure that promising young players like Kelly and Horvath return is very important to Coach Thomas.
“We are ecstatic to return two of our best 2014 freshman for next season. Getting top quality players at a young age is important so that they can become the core of your team going forward,” Thomas said. “Our team got a whole lot better with the signing of these two players.”
Kelly and Horvath add to the strong veteran core of the Dawgs 2015 roster, and we cannot wait to welcome them back to Okotoks.