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Sylvan Lake Gulls star pitcher returning for second year

Tucker broke the league record in strikeouts
Josh Tucker pitched seven innings for the Sylvan Lake Gulls striking out 11 in a 4-2 win in the semi-finals at Gulls Stadium last season. (Photo by Ian Gustafson/ Advocate staff)

Sylvan Lake Gulls ace Josh Tucker will be back on the mound this summer.

After it was originally reported in January that Tucker would not return to the Gulls due to a pitching limit set by his university club, the cap on pitches thrown has been extended.

The Southpaw emerged as one of the Western Canadian Baseball League’s top pitchers and won the Most Outstanding Pitcher award earlier this year.

The 21-year-old from Spokane, Wash. was as dominant as they come and broke the WCBL strikeout record with 91.

President and Chief Operating Officer Aqil Samuel said Tucker always wanted to come back but didn’t seem feasible at first.

“That limit has been extended so it gave him some more opportunity to pitch this summer at a high level,” he said.

“We had a great experience with him last year and Jason was saving a spot just in case. I’m glad it worked out.”

Head coach and General Manager Jason Chatwood said they’ll manage Tucker’s workload but explained he won’t be on a strict limit as originally anticipated.

“It was huge news for us when he reached out. Obviously, we’re extremely excited to have him back,” Chatwood said.

“The guys like playing behind him and whenever he was on the mound you felt he was going to give you a really good chance to win the ball game.”

In the meantime Tucker is playing for his university club in Missouri, the Central Methodist University Eagles in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. He will join the Gulls once his collegiate season wraps up.

In 10 games, nine of them starts, Tucker finished 6-0 on the season with a 2.23 earned run average (ERA) and struck out 91 batters.

In the playoffs, Tucker went 1-1. However, he didn’t lose a step on the mound throwing a 3.37 ERA while striking out 16 batters.

“To get that arm back is huge for us,” Samuel added. “We know what he can bring on a game-to-game basis. Looking at our roster on paper, we were pretty happy with our pitching staff before the news, and adding him at this point is a nice bonus for us,” Samuel said.

Also returning to the mound is Tyler Boudreau, who completed the first no-hitter in franchise history and was second in strikeouts. Also coming back for his third year is Kyle Froehlich.

“Just to have some experienced guys who know what it’s like to pitch in front of 1,500 fans per night is going to be huge for us,” Samuel said.

“On paper, it looks like pitching is going to be our strong point… and we’re going to be able to pitch with any team in the league this year.”

Ian Gustafson

About the Author: Ian Gustafson

Ian began his journalism career as a reporter in Prince Albert, Sask. for the last three years, and was born and raised in Saskatchewan.
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