Among the 25 players honoured by the Great Lake Canadians as the 2018 award winners for their accomplishments throughout the season is Julio Vasquez, selected as the organization’s inaugural Heart and Hustle Award winner.
Selecting the finalists for the Great Lake awards was difficult for the Canadians staff, but also a rewarding look back at the achievements of its players from throughout a successful season that saw Vasquez make contributions on and off the field while playing for the program’s 16U team.
“The Heart and Hustle Award is one of those things that has to do with baseball inside the lines and outside the lines,” GLC director of player development Adam Stern said. “Obviously it’s about commitment to the program, whether it’s attendance at practices, whether it’s working extra on the field, but it’s also about playing hard in between the lines.
“There are a lot of things that make a good teammate, and obviously there are a lot of guys who have significant accomplishments and were up for this award, but we looked for someone who lays it all out on the line, but also outside of the game, and who is a contributor in multiple facets.”
Great Lake 16U manager Jeff Helps was especially impressed by everything Vasquez did and showed on and off the field for his squad and for the program, and couldn’t be more proud that a member of his team was the first recipient of this award.
“This award honours what you would ask of being a good teammate,” Helps said. “He embodies that structure of whatever you think it’s going to be. He’s good with the guys, he’s a good communicator with both kids and coaches, and he plays hard. Whatever you ask him to do, he does, and that is huge, especially at that level. And that’s been built into his character.
“At every level that he participated at this year – which was more than just my team – he had a smile on his face, and worked his tail off in any situation you wanted him. He was versatile in the fact that he could pitch, he could play third, he could catch, and he could also play first base – and he did it with a smile on his face the whole time.”
While there were many candidates considered for the awards, and the decisions were tough for the Great Lake staff to make, the organization is incredibly proud to honour Vasquez as a member of the 2018 awards class and recognize his impressive achievements throughout the year.