Back home on the farm, Kindersley's Joel McGrath has pitched a few innings now for the Kindersley Stallions in the NSRBL since moving back from Colby, Kansas just a few weeks ago.

His last appearance in school for the Trojans team came against some previous opponents, though on an unfamiliarly big stage at Kansas State University's ball field.

West Central Online had quite the talk with McGrath regarding his past year of baseball, but one thing that stuck out was the odd nature of the game they played in the collegiate park. A morning outing, as first pitch was set for bright and early at 8:00 am.

"We were supposed to play that Thursday night," started McGrath, "We were supposed to have the 7:00 o'clock game, but we got rained on. They were still planning on having the game that night at like 11 under the lights so our whole team was awake that whole time. Then around 11:30 they cancelled it. So (the next day) we got there right at 6, woke up at 5:00, so mostly guys had about 2 hours of sleep coming into that first game against Johnson County."

That game didn't go too well, similar to the next one that ended their season, but a whirlwind of a night and some key injuries at least make up somewhat of an excuse for McGrath and the Trojans. An unceremonious end to his Kansas career, as after a pair of seasons pitching for the team McGrath is moving on.

Baseball walkoff Colby KansasOne Colby memory McGrath will have is celebrating this walk-off win last season (File photo via Colby Trojans live-stream)

He made his commitment to the University of Mary in Bismarck, North Dakota for the upcoming year, and talked about the recruitment process that was made easier thanks to an old coach interested to see what he could do with McGraths talented arm.

"The head coach there is Tanner Spencer, from Craik, Saskatchewan. He's watched me grow, and was actually my pitching coach at Minot State my first year."

Their connection from Minot led to the signing, but that's not the only connection between the two as Spencer is also a former Colby Trojan. Using the growth in his game McGrath should be excited to head back to North Dakota where the initial team that recruited him in Minot State will be a main fixture on their schedule.

His scouting profile leaving Kansas lists him with a cutter sitting 85-87, a slider that reaches 78, a curveball maxing out at 73, and a dirty change to compliment the strong fastball.

Inflated numbers might not show it, but McGrath feels that this past year was one of his best. He had to deal with an offseason operation tending to a burst appendix during training, but the above scouting tape showcases just how much his hard work paid off to get back in time and perform so well.

He entered this season after playing summer ball in Colorado. McGrath said he pitched around 20 innings and posted an ERA under 2 and was feeling tremendous until his appendix decided to erupt.

"I was out for right around two months there. Recovered, wasn't able to walk for about a month just because my stomach was all ripped apart. Then into the winter time I came back to Saskatchewan and just worked out, got stronger, got my body back, and then started the season off really well."

No runs allowed in his first game back led to McGrath getting a start against one of the top ranked opponents on their schedule, but a rough outing in that one changed the team's plan for the young arm from Saskatchewan.

joel mcgrath(via

"We kind of decided that I was more of a high leverage bullpen arm for the rest of the season, so I would come in right around the 8th or 9th depending on the score and come in for a save. I recorded 3 saves in conference play, and then finished the season off with three innings on Kansas State's field and giving up one run in an elimination game."

Again for McGrath he feels it was one of the stronger seasons he has had his entire life, as he came into his own even more as an effective strikeout pitcher picking up 30 K's in his 27.2 innings pitched. Being moved to the bullpen, any pitcher should know that it's all about the results.

"We just found that I was able to dial it in when the situation was big. I had a sit down with the coaches and they decided to move me from the starting rotation into a high leverage spot in the bullpen, just to help the team get wins, because we needed them."

McGrath will look to improve once again this summer playing with the Kindersley Stallions in the North Saskatchewan River Baseball League, and he admits its pretty fun to be back in front of a home crowd. Gaining confidence pitching in Stallions orange is a perfect opportunity for McGrath to gain some extra confidence before joining the team at UMary. Helping the team to it's second championship in a row would be a nice bonus too.

"We got a pretty good team this year so hopefully we can take it home again."