Bull-Rushed! Prospects Lose Game And Series To Lethbridge

By Len Nunes

Sing along if you know the tune. "Anything you can do, I do better. I can do anything better than you". On Saturday evening the Edmonton Prospects put up back-to-back 3-run innings and rode them to victory. On Sunday afternoon, the Lethbridge Bulls rode back-to-back 4-run innings to victory to win the 3-game series 2-1 and drop the Prospects back under .500.

Connor Burns took the mound for the Prospects trying to erase the memory of back-to-back relief appearances last season versus the Bulls that did not go smoothly. Burns made it through the first two innings of the afternoon well enough but ran into trouble in the 3rd. A dropped third strike put the Bulls lead-off batter on base. Darius Carter came around to open the scoring on a defensive error. Kaleb Warden doubled to bring home a second batter that should not have been on base. A 2-out 2-RBI single would stake the Bulls to 4-0 lead.

The Prospects offense responded in the bottom of the 3rd but not without getting a scare first. Percy Liu led the inning off with a walk. Trying to steal second base, Liu's legs became tangled underneath him on a foot first slide trying to steal second base. The steal was successful and Liu was able to walk off on his power but his night was over replaced by Tony Olson. With the bases loaded Nick Spillman put a ball in play that was mishandled by the defense allowing two runs to score. 4-2 Bulls after 3 innings.

Burns came back out to pitch for the Prospects in the 4th. A lead-off home run followed by a 3-run home run cemented the shortest start of the season for Burns. Scott Gillespie took over on the mound with the score now 8-2 for the Bulls.

Gillespie did not allow a hit until the 6th inning. A lead-off single was erased by a doubleplay but the next three Bulls batters all hit singles pushing one run across the plate. Gillespie left with the Bulls leading 9-2. His line was a very respectful 3 innings played, 1 run allowed on 4 hits.

Prospects relief pitcher Liam Campbell entered in the 7th inning and promptly got the first two outs. The Bulls decided to keep their bats on their shoulders and Campbell walked the bases loaded. No damage was done and Campbell got to try again in the 8th inning. A lead-off walk was following by a swinging strikeout. A 1-out single was stranded at first base.

Brandon Hill, who was credited with the loss on Friday when he failed to record an out in the 10th inning, showed some resiliency and bounced back nicely. With one out, two runners did reach base but Hill stayed calm and cool and collected the final two outs.

Down to their last strike of the game, the Prospects put up two more runs. Matt Coutney doubled scoring Olson and Zane Takhar to make the final score 9-4.

PLAYER OF THE GAME

Scott Gillespie takes the honours today. Sure baseball is more and more becoming about homers and strikeouts but Gillespie came in and got the job done. You do not need to be spectacular if you are solid.

UPCOMING SCHEDULE

MONDAY KID'S FUN DAY: Pre-game Kid's Festival and Kid's Ticket Specials. First Pitch 7pm. Gates open at 6pm.

A 6-game road trip starting Wednesday June 20th in Swift Current (the 2-time defending WMBL Champions)

Wednesday June 27 - SCHOOL'S OUT - vs Okotoks at 7PM at RE/MAX Field

Back On Winning Track!

By Len Nunes

We have reached the quarter mark of the 2018 season. After starting the season with a 5-2 record, the Prospects endured a 4-game losing streak that ended Saturday night versus the Lethbridge Bulls. The 2,140 RE/MAX Field faithful watched their team explode out of the gate taking a 6-1 lead after two innings. Helping guide the team to a 6-3 win, two Arizona born pitchers put in quality nights on the mound. The Prospects are now 6-6 and look to climb back over .500 when they close the 3-game series versus the Lethbridge Bulls Sunday afternoon at 2PM.

For the second night in a row the Bulls were able to score in the opening frame. The first three batters reached safely which resulted in one run scoring. The first out of the evening turned into a double-play when the runner on third strayed too far away from the bag on a routine groundball to second base. Alert defence by Prospects first baseman Nick Spillman forced a rundown which ended with the baserunner being tagged out at home. The defensive play of the game though goes to right fielder Daylen Calicdan with a web gem of a catch in right field doing his best impersonation of Superman lying out to make a catch.

The early stellar defence put the Prospects starting pitcher Rich Walker into a groove. Through the 2nd to 5th innings, Walker would only allow two baserunners - a single and a walk. For the first time this season Walker pitched into the 6th inning but needed help getting the last out giving up two runs. Walker's final line was 5 2/3 innings, 3 runs allowed on 7 hits with 4 strikeouts.

Percy Liu, for the 6th time this season, led the ballgame off by getting on base. Zane Takhar's 3rd double of the season also became his 3rd RBI of the season as he drove Liu home. Calicdan collected his 10th RBI of the season with the solid but unspectacular run scoring groundout.  Spillman, who leads the WMBL in batting average (.450), singled and was brought home by a Tony Olson single. The RBI was Olson's 13th of the season putting him in a tie for 4th overall in the league in that category.  Your score after one inning was 3-1 Prospects.

Jake MacDonald led the bottom of the 2nd off with a single. With 2-outs, Takhar earned his second RBI of the evening with a seeing-eye single to center field.  Calicdan would follow suit and flair a ball into center field. An error by Hank Forrest allowed Takhar to score and Calicdan to go to second. Spillman's second single of the night became his first RBI of the evening and gave the Prospects a 6-1 lead after two innings.

Josh Sieglitz made his Prospects debut on the mound in the top of the 6th with 2-outs and the score 6-3 for his team.  Sieglitz only allowed a single in the 7th and a lead-off walk in the 8th. A great first impression on Prospects fans, Sieglitz's final line was 3 1/3 innings played allowing no runs, one walk and compiling three strikeouts.

PLAYER OF THE GAME

This is a toss-up between Zane Takhar's two RBI night and Josh Sieglitz's wonderful night on the mound. The bias here goes to pitching. Sieglitz, who has a complete game under his belt from this past season at GateWay Community College, could not have asked for a better WMBL debut with the Prospects.

UPCOMING SCHEDULE

Father's Day Game Sunday 2pm vs the Lethbridge Bulls: Kids can sign up at customer service to run the bases and play catch with Dad out on the field after the game. Players and coaches will be there to sign autographs. Need something for them to sign? Actual WMBL game balls are available for purchase now and can be bought in the Prospects General Store on the main concourse.

MONDAY KID'S FUN DAY: Pre-game Kid's Festival and Kid's Ticket Specials. First Pitch 7pm. Gates open at 6pm.

 

Edmonton To Host Newly Rebranded WCBL All-Star Game

by Len Nunes

It was a historic day in the Western Major Baseball League (WMBL) and the Edmonton Prospects history. League President Kevin Kvame held a press conference the morning of Saturday June 16th at the Chateau Lacombe to make two major announcements. The first being the rebranding of the league. The second being that for the first time since the early 2000's the league would be holding an All-Star Game and it will be held in Edmonton! We are only a quarter of the way into the 2018 season but the excitement for 2019 is already at a fever pitch.

Western Canadian Baseball League

Effective the 2019 season, the league will change their name to the Western Canadian Baseball League (WCBL). Here's the explanation via their website:

The WMBL feels that now is the time to change, as we continue to be part of this country’s growing baseball image. As more college players look for strong competitive leagues in which to play over their summers, we feel that this new title will better reflect our Canadian identity in order to better interest players to come and experience our League & our nation. Placing the country’s name directly in the new league title hopes to bring additional recognition to Canadian baseball as a whole.

WMBL President Kevin Kvame had this to say about the change, “We are excited about the new name, in that it will highlight the fact that the League’s footprint lies entirely in Canada. We are a baseball showcase for Canada and are proud to bring in fans and players to celebrate our beautiful country. Being in Canada gives us a unique advantage to provide great experiences to not only our homegrown talent, but visiting players as well. The same applies for the fans and community sponsors of the League”

Edmonton To Host 2019 All-Star Game

July 8, 2019! Circle that date on your calendar as that will be when the Prospects host the first WCBL All- Star game. Notes from the league press release:

The League and the Prospects are currently working on the format, timing, additional activities, and logistics for the 2019 All-Star Game and expect to release these details publicly in the coming weeks.

The Edmonton Prospects team owner and managing partner Pat Cassidy stated, “I can’t describe how thrilled we are that they’ve adopted our proposal to bring the WCBL All-Star Game to the great sports city of Edmonton in 2019 & 2020. We know that our fans and baseball community will join with many new fans to make this a must-attend event in Alberta’s capital.”

When President Kvame was asked at the press conference "why Edmonton", his answer began with a list of accolades about RE/MAX Field. A park built to meet the requirements of Triple A baseball (Edmonton Trappers), the Prospects have worked hard to maintain that level.  One of the many great

aspects of being at the park is the view of the new Walterdale Bridge. Such a fantastic site that the Prospects incorporated the bridge into the All-Star Game logo.

More Good News

Not only will Edmonton host the 2019 and 2020 All-Star games, each team in the WCBL will being hosting an extra four home games in 2019. Currently the only league action in August is playoff baseball. With the added games to the schedule, every fan in the league has a chance to watch guaranteed baseball into the sunny month of August.

To watch a replay of the press conference with these announcements, go to @EdmProspects on Twitter.

That Was Bull...Close But No Cigar

By Len Nunes

The seventh inning stretch is a tradition unique to baseball. It's a moment where fans are encouraged to stand up and stretch. At RE/MAX Field fans are asked to sing along to "Take Me Out To The Ball Game". On a rain-soaked Friday that delayed the first pitch by forty minutes, the seventh inning stretch acted as a spark for the home team. The Edmonton Prospects rallied for 7 runs in the bottom of the seventh to take their first lead of the night. The game headed to extra innings where the Prospects were asked to rally one more time but fell short. The Lethbridge Bulls escaped with a 10-9 win.

Prospects fans all knew starting pitcher Taran Oulton was not going to keep his perfect 0.00 ERA that he protected through his first three appearances. Oulton will not use the rain delay as an excuse (but we will) when it comes to the Bulls being able to put up three runs in the top of the first inning. Cruising through the next three innings, Oulton only allowed one hit and had one Bulls player reach on an error. The top of the 5th started with the only two walks he issued throughout the game but he managed to wiggle himself out of trouble only allowing one run. He exited having allowed four runs on six hits in five innings. His new ERA of 1.65 sits 6th best in the WMBL among starters.

Bulls starter Jaden Griffin struggled with control throughout his six innings of work but was only penalized once. Percy Liu drew of one of the six Griffin walks in the bottom of the third inning. Liu was able to advance two bases on a wild pitch then score on a passed ball. Twice the Bulls defence came up with doubleplays to help their starter escape jams. One an around-the-horn doubleplay, the other a fly out that was not hit far enough for AJ Nitzschke to beat the throw home.  We headed into the 7th inning stretch with the Prospects down 5-1 and a change on the Bulls mound.

Kai Poffenroth came into pitch for the Bulls and plunked the first batter he saw in Nitzschke, and then allowed a single to Percy Liu. Daylen Calicdan would bring in Nitzschke and Anthony Cusati would bring home Liu and we had ourselves a 5-3 ballgame. A Tony Olson double made it 5-4 and ended the night for Bulls reliever Poffenroth. The pitching changes did not slow down the Prospects attack. Matt Coutney had a RBI single to tie the game off of Austin Tambellini . Zane Takhar had a RBI double off of Derrick Talon to put the Prospects ahead 6-5. Nitzschke, up for the second time in the inning, made it 7-5 and Liu rounded out the scoring in the bottom of the 7th with a sacrifice fly giving the Prospects an 8-5 lead.

Marion McLean took over on the Prospects mound in the top of the 6th. He allowed the Bulls fifth run of the game but had a 1-2-3 top of the seventh to earn himself the right to protect the newfound lead in the eighth. A lead-off single and a 2-out walk later, Michael Gahan took over on the bump. A walk to the first batter he faced loaded the bases. Hank Forrest hit a triple to right field to clear the bases and tie the game at 8.

Gahan would pitch a 1-2-3 9th inning giving the Prospects their first chance at the walk-off in the bottom of the 9th. A 1-out triple by Liu would be stranded after the Bulls put in their sixth pitcher of the evening.

Prospects Manager Ray Brown gave Brandon Hill the ball in the top of the 10th. Hill struggled his first two appearances and unfortunately the boost of confidence from his manager was not enough. Two walks and a single later, Jordan Smith came into the highest of high pressure situations. Smith struck out the first two batters he faced but Brett Mercier hit a ball into play that scored two runs making it 10-8 Bulls.

Cusati and Olson both drew walks to start the bottom of the 10th. Cusati would score on an error making it 10-9 but that is where the good news ends. With the clock reading 11:42PM, the remaining RE/MAX Field faithful went home consoling themselves with the fact the Prospects get to try again Saturday night against these same Lethbridge Bulls to snap this now 4-game losing streak.

PLAYER OF THE GAME

Percy Liu takes the honour tonight. His second triple of the season ties him for the league lead. The two runs he scored tonight gives him 13 on the season and ties him for second in the league. His walk also puts him in a logjam tie for third in the league.

UPCOMING SCHEDULE

SATURDAY PRIDE: Door Prizes, Drag Queens, Some Pride Fun and a Whole Lot of Other Fun Stuff Too!  First Pitch 7pm.  Gates open at 6pm.

SUNDAY AFTERNOON FATHER'S DAY:  Gates open at 1pm, First Pitch at 2pm.  After the game kids can run the bases and meet the players and coaches. Kids and Dads can play catch in the field too!

MONDAY KID'S FUN DAY: Pre-game Kid's Festival and Kid's Ticket Specials. First Pitch 7pm.  Gates open at 6pm.

 

 

Edmonton Prospects Go 0-fer On Road Trip

By Len Nunes

The Edmonton Prospects scored a run in each of the first three innings. Like a gambler down on their luck, the Brooks Bombers had an answer for everything the Prospects did. The Bombers boxscore shows two pairs and a three-of-kind within their first four innings. Brooks even had an answer for the Prospects three (3!) homer, seven run 5th inning. The Prospects return home 0-fer on the three game road trip. The RE/MAX Field faithful will look to push the 5-5 Prospects back over .500 on their upcoming 4-game homestand starting Friday night.  

Michael Gahan entered the game with 4 1/3 innings of scoreless relief under his belt. This was Gahan's second start of the season but his dazzling 1.85 ERA did not leave intact. Gahan exited after 4 innings pitched allowing 8 runs on 10 hits. The score was 8-3 at this point.

Prospects first baseman Nick Spillman opened the scoring driving home lead-off batter Percy Liu while a defensive miscue in the third inning led to the Prospects third run of the game. The theme in this game though was power!

Aidan Huggins, off to a sluggish 2-for-15 start at the plate, hit a solo homer in the 2nd inning and a 3-run homer in the 5th inning. Jake MacDonald followed Huggins in that magical 5th inning with his first homer of the season. How did the inning start? With a lead-off home run by Percy Liu naturally! In non-homer happenings, Anthony Cusati and Tony Olson each collected a RBI via the sacrifice fly. When the dust settled, 7 runs had scored giving the Prospects a 10-8 lead. A lead that was short-lived.

Dylan Emmons, making his fourth appearance of the season, came into pitch for the Prospects in the bottom of the 5th inning. A 1-out double would come around to score to draw the Bombers within one. A 3-run homer put Brooks ahead 12-10. Emmons found his groove in the sixth inning striking out the first two batters he faced on route to a 1-2-3 inning. A lead-off single and a runner that reached base on an error would both cross the plate in the 7th inning versus Emmons making the score 14-10 Bombers. Emmons looked for another bounce back inning in the 8th and he got it. A 2-out double and intentional walk were left on base. Emmons finished with 4 innings of work allowing 6 runs on 6 hits without issuing a walk.

Spillman joined the home run party in the 8th inning bringing Daylen Calicdan across the plate with him and bringing the Prospects within two at 14-12. It was the eighth (8th!!) home run of the evening.

PLAYER OF THE GAME

You always hear about the unwritten rules of baseball. There are unwritten rules to selecting the Player of the Game also. One of those rules dictates that if a player hits not one but two homers, he wins. Congratulations Aidan Huggins.

UPCOMING SCHEDULE

4 Days In A Row of Great Baseball This Weekend!

FRIDAY FUN: The Edmonton Prospect's take on the Lethbridge Bulls.  First Pitch 7pm.  Gates open at 6pm.

SATURDAY PRIDE: Door Prizes, Drag Queen's, Some Pride Fun and a Whole Lot of Other Fun Stuff Too!  First Pitch 7pm.  Gates open at 6pm.

SUNDAY AFTERNOON FATHER'S DAY:  Gates open at 1pm, First Pitch at 2pm.  After the game kids can run the bases and meet the players and coaches. Kids and Dads can play catch in the field too! 

MONDAY KID'S FUN DAY: Pre-game Kid's Festival and Kid's Ticket Specials. First Pitch 7pm.  Gates open at 6pm.