Courtesy: Win Column Sports
By Spencer Love


The Edmonton Prospects announced Jordan Blundell as their new Head Coach and Director of Baseball Operations at a press conference at RE/MAX Field Monday morning, replacing former bench boss Ray Brown and DOBO Orv Franchuk after the two resigned earlier this off-season.

“I’m excited,” stated Blundell in his first interview as head coach. “For me, this represents part of a dream in my career to get the opportunity to coach at home, in a ballpark I spent time in as a teenager dreaming about playing professional baseball.”

Blundell takes over a Prospects franchise that has experience playoff success over the past number of years. Last season, the Prospects fell in five games to Medicine Hat, preventing the organization from reaching their third straight WMBL Finals. Under the direction of Brown and Franchuk, the Prospects have established themselves as one of the WCBL’s premier franchises. A large portion of Blundell’s job will be not only to develop the organization for future success but build on the strong foundation set by his predecessors.

“If you study what (Jordan’s) been able to accomplish wherever he’s coached, he’s been able to take average players in some cases and by the end of the season, they have a quality club. It tells me that he’s very good at focussing people and providing the leadership and what’s needed for this team to do what’s necessary to win games.”

A major reason for Blundell’s hiring is his exceptional track record both coaching and recruiting in the Edmonton area. In 2008, Blundell was named the WMBL Coach of the Year with the Sherwood Park Dukes. He’s additionally been the Head Coach of the 2010 CCBC Championship winning VIU Mariners and was named CCBC Coach of the Year.

His track record with recruiting also speaks for itself, as he recruited both the 2008 and 2009 WMBL – now WCBL – MVP’s.

“The (WCBL) is important to me, having played and coached in the league. It’s an important stepping stone for some (players) in their baseball career. It’s my job to find as many of those players as possible so they have a chance to experience Edmonton before getting an opportunity further down the line. It’s about helping them in their career path and development.”

Finalized Cassidy, “He’s got a great coaching resume when it comes to being able to lead men on the field and make decisions, but just as important he has a great recruitment strategy with the right connections”.

In addition to announcing Blundell’s hiring, the Prospects also provided information on an open house on October 19 in regard to neighbourhood planning for River Crossing, which will determine the future of RE/MAX Field. While the Prospects were unable to confirm future plans, owner Patrick Cassidy was able to confirm that developments have gone positively, stating “this ballpark’s got a future in this neighbourhood; I’d be surprised if there was a complete 180 on that and we’re hopefully excited to be part of this neighbourhood’s future.”

The team also confirmed their annual Prospects Gala will be held on February 16, 2019, with Buck Martinez, John Short and Kent Morrison confirmed as attendees for this year’s function.

 

End Of Ray Brown And Orv Franchuk Era
By Len Nunes

On Tuesday May 20, 2014 the Edmonton Prospects held a press conference to show off their highly touted acquisitions.  No not baseball players, but the new managerial team of Ray Brown as Head Coach and Orv Franchuk as Director of Baseball Development.  Yesterday, September 12, 2018 was the final day of their regime.

“The Edmonton Prospects of the Western Canadian Baseball League regretfully announce the resignation of coaches Ray Brown and Orv Franchuk effective immediately. 

Ray Brown and Orv Franchuk have played instrumental roles in both the on-field and off-field success of the organization over the span of five years guiding the team to two Western Conference Championships and five playoff berths.

They will be missed by the organization, the fans but most importantly by the many players who have come to know and appreciate their commitment and dedication to excellence. 

Good luck gentlemen in your future endeavours. “

In year one of the Brown and Franchuk regime, the Prospects posted an 11 win increase from the previous season. In year two, the Prospects made the playoffs for the first time. In year three (2016), the Prospects again improved their regular season to make the playoffs and quickly became the story of the playoffs as they made it the Championship Series. 2017 was the first time the Prospects finished the regular season at .500. Once again the team rallied in the playoffs to make it back to the Championship Series. Last season the Prospects finished the regular season at .500 for the second consecutive year but their quest for a third consecutive trip to the Finals was denied by the eventual Champions in the Division Finals.

The total regular season record under the tutelage of Brown and Franchuk was 107 wins – 127 losses. The team’s playoff record was 20 wins – 19 losses.

Final Game Of The Season!
By Arik Krause

The Prospects came into Friday night’s game after an exciting Game 4 in Edmonton that was won by the Prospects in a 10th inning walk-off wild pitch, ultimately forcing a “winner take all” Game 5 in Medicine Hat with the winner going to the WMBL Championship.

Rich Walker would get the ball in Game 5 and be tasked with pitching the Prospects to the Finals. Walker has been one of the better pitchers for the Prospects this year, including pitching a perfect game earlier in the season.

The Prospects would get on the board first after Tony Olson would get on base with a lead-off walk, just like he did in Game 4 and eventually be batted in by Michael Gahan putting the Prospects up 1-0 early in Game 5.

Rich Walker would pitch a scoreless first inning before the strong Medicine Hat bats would rough him up in the 2nd, scoring 7 runs and putting the Prospects in a hole very early. Rich Walker would ultimately finish with 1.1 IP, allowing 5 hits and 7 earned runs.

Medicine Hat would put up 3 more runs in the bottom of the fourth as they would get to first Chase Morris and then reliever Jordan Smith, surprisingly none of the runs being earned runs as the Prospects would shoot themselves in the foot with errors.

The Prospects would try to claw back in the late innings. Michael Gahan would score in the 7th off a Daylen Calicdan single, but the Prospects, unfortunately, would leave 3 players on base in the inning. They’d grab another run in the 8th inning via a Michael Gahan single to bring in Tony Olson, they’d leave 2 runners on base in that inning and in 9th inning Eric Crain would hit a home run to bring the Prospects within 7 but that’s as close as they’d get as they’d fall to Medicine Hat 11-4 in Game 5 and their season would end.

The Prospects left 14 runners stranded in Game 5 and put up 5 errors as the potential for them to be in this game was there.

Congratulations to the Medicine Hat Mavericks on a hard-fought series and may the best team win in the WMBL Championship!

All in all, it was a good season by the Prospects as they made it to the Western Division Finals and one game from the WMBL Championship. Thanks to the fans for support the team all year and we can’t wait until 2019 for another great season of Prospects baseball.

 

Player of the Game:

Michael Gahan will get our last Prospects Player of The Game for the season, Gahan went 2-4 in this one with 2 RBI’s and a run scored.

Exciting Game 4 Win!
By Arik Krause

The Prospects came into Thursday nights game on the brink of elimination in the Western Division Finals of the Western Major Baseball League after a tough 14-3 loss against Medicine Hat on Wednesday. With their backs against the wall, Edmonton would play one of the most exciting games of the year.

Josh Sieglitz would get the start on the mound in Game 4 for the Prospects and be tasked with stopping a very potent Medicine Hat offence.

The Prospects would get on the board first after Tony Olson would get on base with a lead-off walk. Anthony Cusati would drive Olson in with a two-out double to right field and the Prospects would go up quickly 1-0 in Game 4.

Sieglitz would pitch two scoreless innings before Reed Odland of the Mavericks would put one over the fence tying the game 1-1 in the top of the third. The Mavericks would score the very next inning as well of a Sal Rodriguez double to center field scoring Carson Johnson. That would end Sieglitz’s night as Braedan Alleman would come into the game.

The two teams would go back and forth for five innings going scoreless before finally, the Prospects would get a break. Eric Crain with a two-out double to left field would keep the inning alive before AJ Nitzschke would tie the game and bring Crain in off a single to center field.

We’d go through the ninth without any scoring and for the first time this series we’d go to extra innings. That’s where things got interesting. Anthony Cusati would lead off the bottom of the 10th for the Prospects with a walk. After Daylen Calicdan would hit it to the pitcher moving Cusati to second base, Cusati would once again advance to third on a fielder’s choice. With two outs in the bottom of the 10th and a man on third base, Zane Takhar would come up to bat and on a 1-2 count Barry Caine would throw a wild pitch and Cusati would score walking off the Mavericks in Game 4.

The Prospects exciting 3-2 win Thursday night means we’ll be playing a series-deciding Game 5 Friday night in Medicine Hat with a chance to go the WMBL Championship on the line.

 

Player of the Game:

Braedan Alleman is our Player of The Game in this one as he’d come in to pitch in the top of the fourth inning and pitch 6.1 innings of scoreless baseball, allowing only 5 hits and 7 runs as he’d get the win for the Prospects in Game 4.

 

Upcoming Schedule:

Friday, August 10 – Game 5, Away Game

Series 3 – TBD

Prospects Down 2-1 in 5-Game Series
By Arik Krause

Following a 7-6 Game 2 win in Medicine Hat, the Prospects would come into Re/Max Field with home-field advantage in a pivotal Game 3 matchup.

Connor Burns would be given the ball to start the game, the St. Albert native is in his second year with the Prospects and has pitched pretty well for the team this year going 3-3 with a 3.69 ERA in 8 games played.

The Prospects would get a perfect start to this game as the first two Prospects Tony Olson and Michael Gahan would both get on base to begin the game. Nick Spillman would drive Olson in with a single to center field. The next batter Anthony Cusati would triple to center field, bringing in Nick Spillman.

Daylen Calicdan would cap off an amazing first inning for the Prospects sacrificing himself while Cusati would come in to score and the Prospects would go up 3-0 after the first inning.

Medicine Hat would answer back in the fourth and fifth inning putting up six runs respectively in both innings, followed by two runs in the eighth as the Mavericks bats were just too much for the Prospects to handle.

Standouts for the Mavericks include Zack Gray & Carson Johnson who both had 3 hits for the Mavericks in this game.

The Mavericks outhit the Prospects 17-6 and outscored the Prospects 14-3, pushing the Prospects to the brink of elimination for the first time this postseason.

The Prospects put together a much better showing in Game 2 against Medicine Hat which show’s that they can beat this team if they play good baseball and shouldn’t be counted out yet.

If you haven’t already, be sure to get your tickets to Game 4 in Edmonton on Thursday night!

Player of the Game:

Anthony Cusati is our Prospects “Player of The Game” in this one as he was the only Prospects hitter to get two hits. He went 2-4 with 1 RBI.

 

Upcoming Schedule:

Thursday, August 9 – Game 4,  Home Game
Friday, August 10 – Game 5, (if necessary) Away Game