Game of the Week: Gulls & Beavers @ Red Sox
By IAN WILSON
You read that headline right.
This weekend’s Western Canadian Baseball League (WCBL) Game of the Week involves a battle between three teams, not your typical head-to-head matchup.
It’s a Father’s Day doubleheader with a twist at Currie Field on Sunday, June 19th when the Sylvan Lake Gulls visit for an afternoon game against the Red Sox at 2:05 p.m., and then the Weyburn Beavers take the diamond for an evening contest in Regina with a 7:05 p.m start time.
The Regina Red Sox enter weekend action with an 8-7 record that sees them trending in the right direction thanks to a four-game win streak that included a pair of victories over the Okotoks Dawgs, the top team in the WCBL.
Their batting lineup has been patient in the batter’s box, as Regina leads the league in walks with 86 bases on balls so far this summer. The pitching staff of the Red Sox, meanwhile, has allowed the second-fewest runs (68) and earned runs (58) this season, while limiting opposition batters to just 113 hits through 136 innings. Only Okotoks has been better at suppressing runs and hits. Regina’s moundsmen have also registered the fewest walks (45) and the most strikeouts (145) in the WCBL.
Infielder Cade Nelson has been the top hitter on the Red Sox this year. He’s batting .271 with 14 runs, 12 runs batted in (RBI) and five doubles through 15 games. A trio of pitchers stand out for Regina early in the campaign, including Preston Tenney (2-0, 23 strikeouts, zero earned runs in 13.1 innings); Braden Houston (2-0, 18 Ks, 0.88 ERA in 20.1 innings); and southpaw Andy Cook (1.74 ERA, 18 Ks, one save in 10.1 innings).
THE VISITING TEAMS
The Sylvan Lake Gulls have an identical 8-7 record, but they’ve lost three games in a row. Their offence has been struggling, as the team sits second last in the WCBL in runs (66), hits (107), and RBI (52). Sylvan Lake’s pitching has fared slightly better, sitting middle of the pack in many categories and second to only Regina in strikeouts (132 Ks in 132 innings).
Individually, Jackson Clemett has paced the hitting with a .375 batting average and 10 runs in his 10 games with the club. Catcher Ben Prediger has also chipped in with five RBI, six runs and a .316 average through 11 contests. On the bump, Josh Tucker is 2-0 with 22 strikeouts and a 3.85 ERA in 16.1 frames of work, while two-way threat Tyler McWillie sits at 1-1 with a 1.63 ERA and 14 Ks in 11 innings.
Hoping to turn their season around are the Weyburn Beavers, who came into the weekend in last place in the East Division with a 4-9 record and a four-game losing streak. Weyburn’s bats are cold, as the squad sits dead last in runs (62), hits (93), RBI (46), and total bases (120). The pitching staff has performed better but not good enough to start producing more wins.
First baseman Nolan Machibroda is leading the charge at the dish for the Beavers. He’s produced a team-best 10 RBI and nine runs while hitting at a .292 clip. Right-handed pitcher Jared Miller has looked solid in his 15.1 innings – he’s 0-1 with 15 Ks and a 1.76 ERA in three starts. Josh Wintroub has also held his own for Weyburn in his two starts, ringing up 14 batters while recoding a 0.79 ERA through 11.1 innings.
It’s all about the dads on Sunday when all 11 WCBL teams are in action. Other Father’s Day games happening that afternoon include the Moose Jaw Miller Express against the Okotoks Dawgs at Seaman Stadium; the Swift Current 57’s vs. the Medicine Hat Mavericks at Athletic Park; the Fort McMurray Giants take on the Edmonton Prospects at Centennial Park No. 9 in Sherwood Park; and the Lethbridge Bulls travel to Elks Field to face the Brooks Bombers. First pitch for those games is set for 2:05 p.m.