January 12, 2018 - Canadian American League (Can-Am) - Ottawa Champions
OTTAWA - Stability is a key element to any winning team, and the Ottawa Champions showcased some of theirs, re-signing two top performers from the 2017 edition of the squad.
Both INF DANIEL BICK and INF STEVE NYISZTOR were inked to contracts for the 2018 season Friday, bringing back the steady double play combination that Champions fans became familiar with over the course of last season.
The two infielders were among the Champions' team leaders in games played, with Bick starting 84 games in the field all at shortstop. Nyisztor had 52 games at second base and 15 at first base - he played in nearly every game after being dealt to the Champions by the Sussex County Miners on June 4, 2017.
"It's very important to have good defence up the middle," explained Champions manager Hal Lanier. "With what Bick and Nyisztor did last year - they played very well defensive-wise."
Bick wasn't only consistent in his games played - but in his defence as well. He set a new Can-Am League record for fielding percentage by a shortstop in 2017, registering a pristine .981 while showcasing his impressive range in the middle infield.
"Daniel has always had great range and good hands," said Lanier. "He's been with us since almost day one and he's been solid every year."
Nyisztor put up impressive numbers after his June 4 acquisition, picking up where he left off in Sussex County. He posted an average of .293, while driving in 43 runs in 74 games. The contact hitter has registered an average as high as .341 in his four-season Can-Am career.
"He plays the game the way it should be played," Lanier said of Nyisztor's game. "He's probably the best bunter on the team, knows what to do with runners in scoring position, and he also has great range and a strong arm."
Lanier says it's a great situation for the Champions to re-add their double play combination from last season, and plan for another year of steady infield defence.
For now, the Champions coaching staff is continuing to work hard at filling out the remaining roster spots and expect to have an array of major announcements in the coming weeks.