By John Short
Manager Jordan Blundell looked up at the sky, down at the grass of RE/MAX Field and declared himself just about ready for
Saturday night and Sunday afternoon, when his Edmonton Prospects will open their Western Canadian Baseball League season against the Lethbridge Bulls.
“The rain (on Friday) might help the field a little,” he admitted, but pointed out few outdoor conditions are fully ready for a lot of use at this time on the Alberta sports calendar. “We’ll be fine. We’re anxious to get started.”
Perhaps the most anxious is left-handed pitcher Taran Oulton, a product of nearby Legal, AB, and a holdover from last year’s team.
“He’s a returning player so he knows what to expect,” said Blundell. “He had a solid season for us last year,” and just finished a season at William Woods University in Missouri.
Based on the experienced players returning to the Lethbridge roster, Oulton and his allies are in line for a couple of tough tests on opening weekend, where a crowd of 3,000 or so is a reasonable expectation if the weather holds up.
Among the Lethbridge leaders are hometown shortstop Nick Ankerman, who spent this season with the Division-II Eastern New Mexico University Greyhounds and hit a robust .360 in 44 games.
Also back with the Bulls are Camrose product Dylan Borman, a third baseman, and Nova Scotia left-hander Jaden Griffin, a member of the Virginia Commonwealth varsity. First baseman Kaleb Warden and catcher Jaret Semenuk produced at a high level last season.
Much of the Lethbridge recruiting has focused on Division-I NCAA products. Three pitchers have been hauled to Alberta from the University of Niagara and one player each from Purdue and Washington State, which also have high-profile programs.
“We really don’t know what to expect,” said Blundell. The good news is that Lethbridge has things to learn about the Prospects, as well.”