July 22nd, 2024

McTavish experienced a lot during early years with the Bulls


By Lethbridge Herald on June 19, 2024.

SOUTHErn alberta newspapers PHoto Les McTavish speaks at a Vauxhall Academy event. McTavish was on the original Lethbridge Bulls roster in 1999.

By Justin Seward

Lethbridge Herald

Les McTavish pitched with the original Lethbridge Bulls team 25 years ago and had some memorial experiences throughout his time with the club.

McTavish pitched for a couple of seasons and then came back to head coach the team in 2003 for a few summers.

McTavish pitched in the first home game in franchise history, where he threw 7 1/3 innings in a 3-2 win versus Swift Current, and was the first pitcher in team history a year later to throw a seven-inning no hitter in a 3-0 win over the Moose Jaw Miller Express.  

“What was unique back then (was) there was still a lot of really good players and there was no age limit,” said McTavish.

“So you could be playing against a 27-year-old player that already had his college career and is a man, and has a child and you’re trying to play with them. I was a younger player in that league at that time.”

The team was accustomed to travelling by vans, not playing in as nice of stadiums and not playing in front of big crowds.

McTavish had to juggle playing with the Bulls and coaching with the Lethbridge Elks.

“The hard part is I was coaching the Elks at the same time, so I would come and throw Wednesdays and I was probably one of our better arms per sae,” recalled McTavish.

A lot of friendships came out of his time with the Bulls and PBA.

“That’s where I met Todd Hubka and we’re best friends now today,” said McTavish.

His best memory was the no-hitter game.

“It was the only no-hitter I threw as a pitcher at any age,” he said.

Current Bulls pitcher Javier De Alejandro threw the second no hitter in history last year.

McTavish remembered what happened to complete that no-hitter.

“I walked the lead-off guy  and then fortunately we got a pop-up and a ground ball double play,” recalled McTavish.

“(If) the ground ball would (have) went five feet to the left, it’s a single, but luckily it went to our shortstop, Kurtis Pascal, and we were able to finish it off.”

McTavish got his first head coaching experience with the Bulls.

“I was young, I was immature,” he said.

“I’d like to do it again someday as a head coach now that you’re older and have a little bit more experience. At that time I was young and fiery and maybe reacted on emotion way more than you probably should as a coach. But it was a great experience, we had some good players, we had a couple players that ended up having pretty good pro careers off those teams.”

McTavish established the Vauxhall Academy in 2006.

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