Mavericks Looking to Build Championship Contender
December 14, 2020 10:00 am | by WCBL | Posted In Feature News, News
Medicine Hat, AB – The Medicine Hat Mavericks are hoping some familiar faces from their 2018 Western Canadian Baseball League championship season will help take them back to the promised land in 2021.
It starts with 2018 All Star and new Mavs head coach/assistant general manager Nolan Rattai. The second baseman was actually named coach ahead of the 2020 season, but his debut was delayed thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Over the last year, the Medicine Hat native has kept busy by getting used to his new duties, which include recruiting players for the upcoming season.
“I want a team of depth,” Rattai said. “A deep roster will help us keep guys fresh throughout the summer, which will have a lot of games in a short amount of time. And that should help us build momentum into a playoff run.”
Over the past few weeks, the Mavericks have made several announcements to form the basis of their squad for next summer.
KNOW A GUY WHO KNOWS A GUY
It didn’t take long for the Mavericks to dive into the pitching waters, where another returnee hopes to make an impact.
Righthander Connor Green was a teammate of Rattai’s in 2018 and is no stranger to Alberta as the Portage La Prairie product came up through the Vauxhall Academy of Baseball.
Green, who has spent the last couple of years at Minot State, plans to be joined by some of his Beavers teammates as well.
Attention Mavs Fans!!! We will be releasing our 2021 committed players over the next few weeks! 🔥
Posted by Medicine Hat Mavericks on Tuesday, November 24, 2020
Outfielder Drew Behling (Waupan, WI) brings some power to the plate, as he blasted two home runs and eight RBIs while hitting .324 in 13 games.
Infielder Declan Buckle (Cornerbrook, NFLD) was on a tear before the pandemic started. He was hitting .351 with seven RBIs in the first 11 games.
And while Kaiden Cardoso (Abbottsford, BC) was redshirting for the Beavers, the Vauxhall Academy of Baseball grad came highly-touted. The infielder had spent the previous season with Clarendon College, hitting .338 with a home run and 22 RBIs in 29 games.
BLUEJAYS FLY NORTH
While Medicine Hat was home to the Pioneer League affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays from 1978-2002, another breed of the bluebirds have made the southeastern Alberta city home over the last few years.
The Tabor College Bluejays have been a favourite recruiting school for the Mavericks, having previously plucked players like Jaxson Hooge, Freddy Walker and Cameron Pope.
Heading into 2021, the Mavericks convinced infielder Matt Johnson (Wichita, KS), utilityman Drake Girard (Midlothian, TX) and right-handed pitchers Kaden Evert (Pratt, KS) and Jacob Espitia (San Jose, CA) to come north.
💥 Player Release 💥
Today’s announcement of committed players includes:
1. Matt Johnson from Wichita, Kansas.
Posted by Medicine Hat Mavericks on Monday, November 30, 2020
When it comes to Minot State and Tabor, Rattai wanted to capitalize on the relationships already built.
“They are two great programs that have sent us studs in the past,” he said. “This year, we’re fortunate to have multiple from each school.”
The last few announcements made by the Mavericks have focused on the pitcher-catcher connection, with two more righthanders and a couple of backstops signing on the dotted line.
Mitch Dennis (Okotoks, AB) is very familiar with the WCBL, as the hurler grew up in the Dawgs Academy program in Okotoks and has recently been plying his trade with the University of Jamestown. During the 2019-2020 season, Dennis went 3-1 with a 5.46 ERA in seven appearances.
Another Alberta product ready to head to the Sunny Southeast is Jake Anderson (Calgary, AB). The Prairie Baseball Academy product is no stranger to the WCBL, as he was named to the 2019 All Star Game in Edmonton as a member of the Yorkton Cardinals.
The two catchers hoping to make an impact with the Mavericks will be Hamilton Anderson (Columbia, IL) and Shayne Campbell (Winnipeg, MB).
Anderson was a First Team All-Conference selection and earned preseason All-American honours in 2019 with Drury University.
Campbell is another product of the Vauxhall Academy of Baseball who had a very productive start to his college career with the Southeastern Community College Blackhawks, hitting .417 with four RBIs in ten games.
Back to the Future
When looking at his recruiting class so far, Rattai has some high expectations.
“I like how excited they are for the summer,” the coach said. “There won’t be a lack of energy, that’s for sure.”
Stay tuned to the Medicine Hat Mavericks social media accounts – Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, for more updates on player signings and more. And stay tuned to the WCBL website as we will continue to spotlight each of the teams as they continue their work in getting ready for the 2021 season!