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2018 Western Division Preview

05/27/2018 6:26 PM -
Here is a quick review of the Western Division and a look at the upcoming WMBL season
 
Okotoks Dawgs
The Dawgs lineup is strong again this year with the return of WMBL MVP Kody Funderburk and Canadian Rookie of the Year Matt Lloyd. With these two WMBL first team all-stars, look for Okotoks to challenge for the Western Division pennant and league championship in 2018.
 
2017 Regular Season: 
Finished first in the Western Division with a 35-13 record. Had the best record in the WMBL
 
2017 Playoffs: 
Lost to Edmonton in the Western Division semi finals
 
Players to Watch in 2018
Kody Funderburk
* 2017 WMBL Most Valuable Player and first team all-star 
* .339 batting average 
* Led the WMBL in home runs with 15 
 
Matt Lloyd 
* 2017 Canadian Rookie of the Year and first team all-star
* Had a 24-game hitting streak in 2017
* Hit .402 with 8 homers, 38 RBI and 7 stolen bases. 
 
 
Lethbridge Bulls
A newly renovated stadium highlights the off season for the Lethbridge Bull fans.  Carter Witbeck, Darius Carter, Brett Semeniuk, Jesse Hilyard and Chris Stodolka lead a veteran Bulls lineup who will be looking to battle for the Western Division pennant.
 
2017 Regular Season: 
Finished second in the Western Division with a 27-21 record
 
2017 Playoffs: 
Lost to Medicine Hat in the Western Division semi finals
 
Players to Watch in 2018
Jesse Hilyard
* Second team all-star
* Hit .284 in 116 at bats with 10 doubles and 2 triples
* Also, had 6 home runs and 23 RBI
 
Chris Stodolka
* Second team all-star
* 10 saves
* 25 strikeouts in 20.2 innings of relief
 
 
Medicine Hat Mavericks
With the departure of head coach Michael Thompson, the Medicine Hat Mavericks have turned the reins over to Andrew Murphy. The well-respected Murphy understands what it takes to win in the WMBL and will have his Mavericks ready to take the next step. 
 
2017 Regular Season: 
Finished third in the Western Division with a 27-21
 
2017 Playoffs: 
Lost to Edmonton in Division finals
 
Players to Watch in 2018
David Salgueiro
* Hit .374 in 27 games 
* 10 stolen bases
* Had 40 hits in 107 at bats including 9 doubles and 3 triples
 
Jared Libke
* Pitched in 10 games with 8 starts
* Registered 46 strikeouts in 57 innings
* Tied for team best 4 wins
 
 
Edmonton Prospects
The Western Division pennant winners will once again have an extremely strong team this season. Veteran head coach Ray Brown has three local stars Erik Sabrowski, Scott Gillespie and Zaine Foth-Thomas anchoring his pitching staff in 2018, which will make them very competitive.   
 
2017 Regular Season: 
Earned a fourth-place Western Division finish with a 24-24 record
 
2017 Playoffs: 
Won Western Division Pennant
Lost to Swift Current in the WMBL Championship Finals 
 
Players to Watch in 2018
Zane Takhar 
* First team all-star
* Played in 43 games and hit .341in 164 at bats 
* Has 8 doubles and 26 RBIs
 
Erik Sabrowski 
* First team all-star
* Dual threat hit .339 with 3 homers and 20 RBI
* Struck out 50 batters in 36 innings 
 
 
Fort McMurray Giants
The Giants finished the season with a 7-3 record and look to build on that late season success. 
Helping to lead their push to the playoffs will be starting pitchers and Alberta born products Tyler Hodder, who earned first team all-star status last season, and Nik Cardinal.
 
2017 Regular Season
Fifth overall in the Western Division with a 20-28 record
 
Players to Watch in 2018
Tyler Hodder
* First team all-star
* Lead Giants with 6 wins in 9 starts 
* Had team best 2.36 ERA and picked up 33 strikeouts 
 
Tyler Friis
* .292 batting average in 41 games
* 11 stolen bases, second best on Giants
* Scored 28 runs 
 
Brooks Bombers
The Brooks Bombers will be better in 2018. With a revamped roster, watch for newcomer Conner Morro from Canisius College to supply the offence needed to improve on the team’s overall record. 
 
2017 Regular Season:
Last in Western Division with 14-34 record
 
Player to Watch in 2018
Quentin Kopjar
* 18 appearances and one start
* 27.1 innings pitched 
* 21 strikeouts