First Day Of Summer - A Success!

By Len Nunes

Whether you call it the first day of summer or the summer solstice, the best way to celebrate it is with a big win. The Edmonton Prospects surged out to a 7-0 lead and brought themselves back to .500 on the season. The Prospects will look to sweep the mini 2-game set in Moose Jaw versus the Miller Express Friday night.

After going down in order in the first inning, the Prospects put up 3 runs in the top of the second. Anthony Cusati led with a single. Aidan Huggins returned to the line-up after a few days off and hit a 1-out double. With 2-out and a 1-1 count, AJ Nitzschke cleared the bases with a home run. The homer is Nitzschke's first of the season and more than doubled his RBI total to 5.

The Prospects put up another 3-spot in the top of the third. Percy Liu hit his 3rd triple of the season, which puts him in the league lead, to get the ball rolling. Nick Spillman collected his 12th RBI of the season with a productive out.  Cusati drew a walk, Jake MacDonald hit a double and Huggins brought them both home with a triple. Welcome back to the line-up Aidan, have yourself a night!

Tony Olson led off the fifth inning with a single and would not be on base for long. Cusati, who had already scored two runs on the evening, doubled to score Olson. The RBI is Cusati's 12th of the season putting him one RBI behind team co-leaders Olson and Spillman. A 7-0 nothing lead was more than enough offence for their starting pitcher.

Brenden Wiun drew the starting assignment for the Prospects. Wiun has 4 relief appearances so far this season. The start is his first since the 2016 season. The humble suggestion here is that this will not be Wiun's last starting assignment. 6 innings played, 0 runs allowed on only 3 hits against in what was a quality start. Wiun retired 8 straight batters and 13 of the final 14 batters he faced. No Miller Express player reached third base!

Marion McLean took over on the bump in the 7th inning and finished out the game. A lead-off walk followed by a home run put the Miller Express on the board, 7-2. A 1-2-3 inning in the 8th followed by stranding the bases loaded in the 9th inning leaves his final line at 3IP, 2 runs scored on 4 hits allowed with 2 walks and 3 strikeouts.

The Prospects offence finished the game off with a couple of seconds. Nitzchke hit his 2nd homer and Spillman had his second RBI groundout of the evening. Your final score, a big 9-2 win for the Prospects.

PLAYER OF THE GAME

The golden rule of the player that hits 2 home runs got kicked in tonight with AJ Nitzschke. Congratulations AJ, you valiantly held off a great pitching performance by Brenden Wiun.

UPCOMING SCHEDULE

Friday June 22 in Moose Jaw

Saturday June 23 and Sunday June 24 in Weyburn

Monday June 25 in Swift Current

UPCOMING HOME GAMES

Wednesday June 27 SCHOOLS OUT vs Okotoks Dawgs at 7PM

Saturday June 30 vs Melville Millionaires - Tickets just $10 for students and the band starts at 5pm. Get to the pre-game concert early and party in the Prospects' Pit in the stand-up 1st base area. Stay and enjoy the game that starts at 7pm. Cheap beer and cheap fun!

CANADA DAY - 7PM vs Brooks - AVOID DISAPPOINTMENT, BUY THESE TICKETS NOW!

Experience Is a Wonderful Teacher

By Len Nunes

The "Saskatchewan Road Trip" has begun for the Edmonton Prospects with a dud. The much anticipated two-time WMBL Finals re-match between the Prospects and Swift Current 57's was a one-sided affair finishing 12-2 in favour of the defending Champions.  There is a litany of excuses one could write to try to explain away the loss but the reality is these kinds of games happen. To a man, players on the Prospects know what went wrong and know what to work on in advance of tonight's game in Moose Jaw. More-so, the Prospects players and coaches know what to do better in advance of the re-match with these same 57's on Monday June 25th again here in Swift Current. Experience is a wonderful teacher if you allow her to be and you need these bumps in the road to help you learn better.

Prospects starting pitcher Michael Gahan cruised along until the 6th inning. Gahan pitched 1-2-3 innings in the 2nd and 4th innings allowing only 4 hits through the first 5 innings. A 2-out single with a man on first turned into the 57's first run of the evening due to a Prospects error. A 1-out double in the 5th would come in to score on a wild pitch making it 2-0.  The bottom of the 6th began with the only walk Gahan issued the entire evening and then proceeded to go downhill from there. The final stat line for the sixth inning is as follows - 4 runs allowed on 4 hits and 3 errors. The number that pops off the screen is the three errors. Gahan's final line was 6IP, 6 runs scored (only 3 earned) on 8 hits collecting 3 strikeouts.

Steadily improving through his first three appearances, Jordan Smith took over the Prospects mound in the seventh inning. Smith hit the first batter he faced, then gave up back-to-back doubles making the score 8-0. Smith then settled down and retired the 57's in order.

Swift Current starter Carter Buck’s final pitching line was a solid 7 1/3 innings played allowing 2 runs on 6 hits striking out 8. It is the first time all season that the top of the Prospects order was held off the scoresheet. Clean-up batter Nick Spillman started the top of the 8th inning with a single. Matt Coutney followed suit. With 1-out and the bases loaded Gio Villaneuva hit a 2-RBI double putting the Prospects on the board.

Prospects reliever Brandon Hill has struggled in the early going of the season but was coming off his best showing on June 17th versus the Lethbridge Bulls. The first five batters he faced reached base before he settled down and retired the 57's in order. When the dust settled though, four more 57's runs had scored making it 12-2.

Both WMBL Championship finalists sit under .500 as the Prospects drop to 7-8 and the 57's improve to 8-9.

PLAYER OF THE GAME

David LeBlanc entered the game batting 2 of 12 on the season. On a night where the Prospects struggled, LeBlanc went 2 of 3 at the plate. Honourable mention of course to Gio Villaneuva for collecting the only 2 RBI’s of the night.

UPCOMING SCHEDULE

Thursday, June 21 and Friday June 22 in Moose Jaw

Saturday June 23 and Sunday June 24 in Weyburn

Monday June 25 in Swift Current

UPCOMING HOME GAMES

Wednesday June 27 SCHOOLS OUT vs Okotoks Dawgs at 7PM

Saturday June 30 vs Melville Millionaires - Tickets just $10 for students and the band starts at 5pm. Get to the pre-game concert early and party in the Prospects' Pit in the stand-up 1st base area. Stay and enjoy the game that starts at 7pm. Cheap beer and cheap fun!

CANADA DAY - 7PM vs Brooks - AVOID DISAPPOINTMENT, BUY THESE TICKETS NOW!

Edmonton Prospects Snap Medicine Hat Mavericks 10-Game Win Streak

By Len Nunes

One of the big stories of this young WMBL season has been the Medicine Hat Mavericks 10-game win streak after they dropped their first two games of the season. Monday night was the Prospects final game of a 4-game home stand in which the team was looking to finish at .500. The Las Vegas odds makers would have put the Mavericks as favourites. An exuberant 1,201 RE/MAX Field faithful watched as the Prospects reminded everyone that they are the 2-time WMBL Championship Finalists as they gutted out an 8-5 win.

With 2-out in the bottom of the first, the offence began to click. Daylen Calicdan, his hit streak now at 6 games, singled and stole 2nd base. Nick Spillman collected his 11th RBI of the season with a single to left field. Spillman (.404) and Calicdan (.396) sit 5th and 6th in the league in batting average.

In the bottom of the 2nd inning the Prospects made the score 2-0. Matt Coutney's lead-off triple was quickly cashed in by a Jake MacDonald sacrifice fly.

Prospects starting pitcher Dylan Emmons cruised through the first two innings only allowing a single. Back-to-back doubles to lead off the third inning put the Mavericks on the board. A 1-out RBI single tied the game. The Mavericks took a 3-2 lead in the top of the 4th after Emmons was able to get the lead-off batter to fly out.

The Prospects took the lead back in the bottom of the 4th inning. Percy Liu, returning to the Prospects line-up after limping out of Sunday's match-up, hit a 2-out,  2-RBI double to make the score 4-3.

The Mavericks tied the game in the top of the 5th when a lead-off double ended up with the batter on 3rd base after an error in the outfield. Emmons held him on base for a batter but would cede the unearned run making the game 4-4. Emmons' final line was 5 IP, 4 runs against (3 earned), on 7 hits with 1 walk and 2 strikeouts.

Josh Sieglitz, making his second appearance of the season, took over on the Prospects mound. After pitching 3 1/3 scoreless innings versus the Lethbridge Bulls on Saturday, Sieglitz put in another solid three innings on Monday before running into trouble in the top of the 9th. Through innings 6 to 8, Sieglitz only allowed two baserunners and both were via the walk.

The Prospects offence gave Sieglitz some breathing room in the bottom of the 6th inning breaking open the tied baseball game scoring three runs. Jake MacDonald led off the inning with a single and was joined on base by AJ Nitzschke when he was hit by a pitch. MacDonald scored when the Mavericks defence committed one of their 3 errors on the evening. Liu and Zane Takhar would hit back-to-back sacrifice flies to give the home team a 7-4 lead.

The lead would be extended to 8-4 in the bottom of the 8th inning. Gio Villaneuva got on base with a lead-off single. Takhar, who collected 4 walks during Sunday's game, collected his second sacrifice fly of the night. One wonders what Takhar will collect during Wednesday's game.

Michael Gahan entered the game in the top of the 9th with the bases loaded and nobody out. Louie Canjura was able to push a run across the plate for his Mavericks but it was via a double-play. Gahan then induced a Zack Gray groundball to end the game. The 8-5 win moves the Prospects back to .500!

PLAYER OF THE GAME

One thinks about giving the honours to Daylen Calicdan who went 3-5 at the plate. One ponders placing the honours upon Josh Sieglitz making him for 2-2 in games played and POTG nominations. The honour will go to Percy Liu and his big 2-out, 2-RBI double followed by what became the game winning RBI with his 6th inning sacrifice fly.

UPCOMING SCHEDULE

ROAD TRIP

The Prospect’s are playing 6 road games in a row as they head off to Saskatchewan.  The first game is Wednesday, June 20 in Swift Current.  The last road game of this trip is Monday, June 25 in Swift Current.

NEXT HOME GAME

Wednesday June 27 vs Okotoks Dawgs

FRIENDLY REMINDER

If you have not got your Canada Day tickets for the 7PM game versus the Brooks Bombers, which ensures you the best viewing place in Edmonton for the fireworks, consider this your invitation to do so.  Tickets are going fast.  Last year was a sell-out.  Buy online at PROSPECTS TICKETS.

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.