08/04/2013 6:23 PM
August 2, 2013
Another season of Moose Jaw Miller Express baseball came to an end on Friday night and for three local players, it was the last time they would be stepping foot on the grass at Ross Wells Park.
The Western Major Baseball League careers of Jon Cotter, Dustin Caplette and Marshall Dean all wrapped up with the Millers' 11-3 loss to the Medicine Hat Mavericks on Friday.
“It's going to be hard not seeing Jon Cotter, Marshall Dean, and Dustin Caplette in a Miller uniform,” said head coach Michael Hunt. “It's going to be really difficult looking down the line-up and not seeing those guys in uniform.”
Cotter and Dean both played five seasons with the Millers, while Caplette was a four-year Miller. All three had enormous impacts on the team and played key roles throughout their careers.
“Especially when they're locals too. There isn't really much to replace them with, so it's going to be a tough task to find equal shoes,” said Hunt on the prospect of having to replace all three.
Cotter and Caplette grew up playing together in Moose Jaw, and at Ross Wells Park, so Friday's game was no doubt an emotional goodbye to the team and ballpark.
“It was fun and I loved every moment right until the end,” said Cotter. “It was unbelievable just to be around everybody, it was great.
“The Express just right from Hunt up to Darryl (Pisio, team president) and the board, Cam (Howe) and (Cory Olafson), just everyone's been great to me and accepted me as one of their own.”Caplette echoed those sentiments, saying he had a lot of fun throughout his four years with the team. “I just remember coming here day one and didn't think I'd be able to do it and then now I just can't believe it's over.”
Getting the start in his final game at Ross Wells was no doubt a special moment for Caplette even if the game didn't go the way that he had hoped. He said he tried to keep his emotions to himself as he walked off the field in the sixth inning.
“I tried not to think about it, just didn't want to get the guys down and tried to keep everybody up,” he said.”
Dean has been a workhorse of the Millers over the past few years and was really the staff ace during the 2013 season. He said he enjoyed every minute of being a member of the Miller Express.
“Five year, a lot of fun,” he said. “It's emotional, especially playing with Jonny for so long and a lot of emotions, but I tried to keep it under control.”
Friday's end might have been tough, but next May might be even harder for the three when baseball season starts to pick up and they aren't able to throw on the Miller Express uniform.
“It's going to be tough, but I've accepted it and I'm excited to go watch the guys I know and it's going to be fun to be on the other side of it now,” said Dean.
Cotter on the other hand might have a harder time giving up the uniform.
“I'm going to talk to Hunt and see if he'll let me throw on the uniform and maybe coach, hit fungoes, just be around it because it's going to be tough to leave it,” he said.