08/06/2014 11:22 PM -
SHAW will be televising this complete series beginning on Thursday Night in Medicine Hat beginning at 7pm
Okotoks Dawgs vs Medicine Hat Maveriicks - what and who to watch for
Last year, the Western Division Final featured a matchup between quite possibly two of the top teams in the past decade of the Western Major Baseball League, and unfortunately one team had to go home the loser.
Now, in the 2014 WMBL Western Confernce Finals, the Okotoks Dawgs and Medicine Hat Mavericks will meet up again, but this time the two teams aren’t viewed as league super powers, at least not this season.
Medicine Hat finished second in the Western Division with a 25-21 record, while the Dawgs were only a game back with a 24-22 finish. The Mavericks dispatched the #3 seed Moose Jaw Miller Express 3-1 in the first round, while the Dawgs came back from a 2-0 deficit to upset the No. 1 seed Lethbridge Bulls 3-2.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
The Dawgs offense struggled in their final three games in Medicine Hat, scoring just one run, but there were some standout performances through the year. Jordan Peterson (Chandler Gilbert CC) had three multi-hit games with one homer and five RBIs, Taylor Fish (University of Nebraska) hit at a .360 clip, and Connor Crane (Lamar CC) knocked in six RBIs.
On the mound, Tyrell King (Paradise Valley CC) gave up two runs through 12 combined innings while fanning eight Mavericks. Jon Richards (Sonoma State) faced the Mavericks four times and through 16.2 innings, going 2-1, while Shawn Andersen (Douglas College) was highly effective out of the bullpen, as he threw 7.1 innings while allowing just one run.
On the Mavericks side, Sheldon Daquioag was unstoppable in his four games against the Dawgs as he went 10-16 (.625) with six runs scored. Both CJ DeDeaux and Jose Cruz hit .304 over the season series.
Pitcher Bryce Feia seemed to have the Dawgs number through 2014: he recorded two wins and two saves while shutting the Dawgs down late in games. Jon Rand excelled in his two starts versus Okotoks, throwing eight and nine innings and only allowing one run.
Michael Forgione and Sheldon Daquioag both have six hits these playoffs, and the latter leads the Mavericks with six RBIs, too.
Zach Johnson (Porterville College) leads the Dawgs with seven playoff hits, while Connor Crane, Jerod Bartnik (University of British Columbia) and Jordan Peterson have three RBIs each.
Last season, Medicine Hat posted the greatest regular season record in WMBL history, while the Dawgs had the league’s best offense in almost every category. The Mavericks swept the Dawgs last season, but would fall in the WMBL Finals to the Melville Millionaires.
These two teams seem to go to head-to-head quite often each year in the playoffs. In 2011, the Dawgs won the matchup 3-1, but the Mavs returned the favour in 2012 with a 3-1 win of their own, then followed that up with a sweep in the second round of 2013.
It will be interesting to see how the Dawgs do at Athletic Park given their recent struggles, but anyone who has watched this time this year knows one can’t count out the #Underdawgs.
Article submitted by: Neil Hilts
File photo: Neil Hilts