Insight On What Is To Come
By John Short
Two down and dozens to go.
No words can explain more clearly the situation faced by the Edmonton Prospects as they head into four games in five days – the bare beginnings of a Western Canadian Baseball League season that opened with such promise last weekend: a pair of difficult and encouraging victories over the Lethbridge Bulls.
It’s entirely possible that a home-and-home setup with the Okotoks Dawgs will be equally challenging. Okotoks hammered the Brooks Bombers 14-5 in their opening game of the 2019 WCBL season, with six runs in the fifth inning and seven in the seventh erasing all doubt as to the ultimate result.
No surprise to hear Prospects field manager Jordan Blundell express concern over facing the Dawgs at RE/MAX Field tonight and in the Dawgs’ kennel Friday on Calgary’s southern edge. On second thought, no surprise to hear Blundell express similar thoughts about hurrying back from Okotoks to face Brooks at RE/MAX Field Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.
One team has every right to feel loaded with confidence; the opening-game losers, by contrast, will be understandably hungry to atone for their one-sided whipping on their opening day.
Prospects pitchers must prepare for some serious stuff. Dealing strictly by the numbers, the largest early-season threat is carried by Okotoks-raised outfielder Tristan Peters. All he did was collect five hits in six at-bats, including three doubles and a triple. Liam Rihela, Gavin Logan and Noah Geekie all showed in the summary with at least two hits apiece.
The Prospects’ opening wins were impressive, but not overwhelming on offence. Outfielder Pierce Blohowiak drove home the winning run in the 5-4 Saturday victory by slapping an opposite-field single in extra innings. He also struck for the team’s first home run in the 7-5 victory on the following afternoon, part of a .375 batting average for two games. Tyler Maskill and Tanner Rowney ended the weekend with impressive .333 levels.
Serious tests for the Prospects pitching staff will continue immediately, of course, but early signs were promising. Taran Oulton and Hunter Boyd turned in encouraging starts, both at least five innings, and solid relief pitching preserved the victories.
“We know it’s early,” Blundell said after the Sunday victory. “We feel good about our start, but there is a lot of work to do. It’s a long season.”