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All-Santa Clarita Valley Baseball: Canyon's Max Weinstein

Weinstein led a resurgent Canyon to a Foothill League title

Posted: June 19, 2013 8:59 p.m.
Updated: June 19, 2013 8:59 p.m.

Weinstein led a resurgent Canyon to a Foothill League title

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VIDEO: Signal Sports interviews Max Weinstein.

There’s a nickname for the kind of baseball player Max Weinstein was in 2013 — “bulldog.”

It’s not known where it got started, but it most famously was placed on Orel Hershiser — the former Dodgers pitcher who carried the team on his back to a World Series championship in 1988.

Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda said one of the reasons he gave the pitcher the nickname was because he didn’t like the name “Orel.” But it grew to illustrate the way Hershiser took the ball — worn down or in a dire situation — and seemingly willed his team to victory.

Not many people know it, but Weinstein had tendinitis in his right elbow — his throwing elbow — during the second half of Foothill League play and gutted out every single performance he had on the mound.

He had to.

Weinstein wasn’t one to start something and not finish it.

And he certainly started the Cowboys on something special.

A downtrodden, beaten-down program for years, Canyon had the makings of being an improved team in 2013 — yet few people actually expected the Cowboys to be a Foothill League-championship team.

But Weinstein pitched the Cowboys to a two-hit shutout in a 7-0 win over Campbell Hall in the team’s first game of the season on Feb. 23.

He manned the shortstop position on March 9 and went 3-for-4 in the Foothill League-opening surprise 13-4 win over defending Foothill champions West Ranch.

Weinstein never stopped hitting.

He was held hitless in just two of Canyon’s 28 games on the season.

His .438 batting average led the Foothill League, as did his 42 hits and .495 on-base percentage.

Weinstein was so lightly thought of as a hitter in 2012 that a designated hitter was usually used in his place when he pitched and played shortstop.

He dedicated himself to becoming a better hitter before the spring by putting on extra muscle through regular workouts and hitting more balls in the batting cage.

It could be argued that Weinstein became a better hitter than a pitcher.

Yet it’s on the mound where he had his most memorable performance.

With Canyon needing a win at Valencia High in the regular-season finale to win its first Foothill League title since 2002, Weinstein took the mound and bulldogged his way through 115 pitches.

The Cowboys were up 3-0 in the bottom of the seventh and Weinstein surrendered a leadoff home run.

Then he hit the next batter with a pitch.

Canyon High head coach Adam Schulhofer visited Weinstein on the mound and the young pitcher knew his time was up.

He reluctantly gave up the ball after a gutsy performance.

However, Canyon still won the game.

And Weinstein had the biggest grin on his face afterward.

It was relief and a feeling of redemption for all the losses his Cowboys suffered in his high school career (Canyon hadn’t even made the postseason since 2007).

Weinstein helped will his team to that championship.

For the sheer will of this bulldog and his results, he is easily the 2013 All-Santa Clarita Valley Baseball Player of the Year.

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