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B.C.’s Cade Smith impresses in MLB debut with Cleveland

MEI grad strikes out five in two innings as the Guardians defeat Oakland Athletics
Abbotsford’s Cade Smith had a successful debut on the Major League Baseball mound with the Cleveland Guardians on Saturday (March 30). (MLB photo)

No one from Abbotsford had ever taken to the mound and thrown a pitch in a Major League Baseball game – until Saturday (March 30).

And Mennonite Educational Institute grad Cade Smith didn’t just participate; he dominated and struck out five batters in two innings of work to help his Cleveland Guardians earn a 12-3 win over the Oakland Athletics at the Oakland Coliseum.

That remarkable effort also set a Cleveland team record for most strikeouts in a debut of two innings or fewer.

Smith also allowed one walk and no runs or hits in his first-ever MLB appearance. The former Abbotsford Cardinals star threw some serious heat and reached a top pitching velocity of 97.9 miles per hour.

Smith told media that it was a memorable big-league debut.

“Super fun just to be out there on the ball field,” he said. “I know the things that I do well so there’s a huge effort just to remind myself to do the things that I do well and stick with that and trust it. Go out there and compete and not try and overthink anything. I’ve done my best to stay levelheaded and be consistent.”

Guardians manager Stephen Vogt was impressed by Smith’s poise in his first appearance.

“Unbelievable,” he told media following the game. “We all root for Cade in any way,. He’s such a great person so to see someone make their MLB debut like that and just dominate – it was great. He showed us why he earned his spot. I couldn’t be more thrilled for him and his family today.”

The Smith family was in the house for the big debut and it was a long time coming.

Smith applied for U.S. citizenship in late 2022 and that meant he has been unable to leave the country in order to fulfill his residency requirements. He spent last year with the double-A Akron RubberDucks and the triple-A Lake County Captains – minor league affiliates of the Guardians.

What made it even more challenging for Smith was that his father, Tim, went through open-heart surgery in December. It was up in the air whether Tim would be able to travel to see the debut, but doctors approved the visit to Oakland last week.

It was the first time in over a year that father and son had time together in person.

Tim is a teacher at MEI and had to step away from duties at the school, including a role as the head coach of the senior boys basketball team, due to the surgery.

Smith, a 2017 MEI grad, played for the Abbotsford Cardinals and Chilliwack Cougars. He also played for the Victoria HarbourCats of the West Coast League in 2019.

Smith was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 16th round of the 2017 MLB draft and opted not to sign. He went on to play for the University of Hawaii from 2018 to 2020.

The six-foot-five right-hander signed with the Guardians on June 18, 2020. Smith had a successful 2023 season after being named to the Team Canada roster for the World Baseball Classic.

The Guardians won three of four against the Athletics to open the season, and Smith also appeared on Monday’s game against the Seattle Mariners. He threw three strikeouts and one walk in 1.1 innings pitched. Cleveland lost that game 5-4. They wrapped up the series with Seattle on Wednesday (April 3), after press deadline.

Cleveland next heads to Minnesota for three games against the Twins and hosts the Chicago White Sox for their home opener on April 8.

Ben Lypka

About the Author: Ben Lypka

I joined the Abbotsford News in 2015.
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