My how the summer moves fast. Less than 3 weeks remain in the 2016 WMBL regular season, and what a home stretch it should be. The Medicine Hat Mavericks and the Swift Current Indians are still atop their respected divisions, as has been the case for most of the season. There are still teams within striking distance however. The Regina Red Sox sit 3.5 games back with 3 games in hand on the Indians. With a strong push the Sox could still sneak into the top spot in the East. In the West the Okotoks Dawgs sit 3 games back of the Mavericks and have a 5 game win streak at the moment. The Lethbridge Bulls sit 5.5 back and still have 4 games remaining against the Mavs to close out the season. It should be fun to see how the rest of the regular season plays out as we move into the playoffs. This year the top 4 teams in each division will make the playoffs. Each division will play down to a champion, and the top team in the East will take on the top team in the West in the WMBL Final.
Looking at the team stats through 35 games it is clear that offense has been front and centre. Swift Current and Lethbridge hold team batting averages of .311 and .310 respectively, which is very impressive considering how far we are into the season. Edmonton, Regina, Medicine Hat and Okotoks all hold team batting averages north of .285. The Lethbridge Bulls have knocked 35 balls out of the park this year in 35 games for tops in the league. They also lead the league with 84 doubles and 265 runs scored.
On the other side of the ball the Swift Current Indians hold a big lead in ERA. Indian pitchers boast a 3.16 ERA followed by the Okotoks Dawgs at 3.59. No other club has a team ERA under 4.00, which would suggest that the hitters in the league have done a great job making adjustments as the season has progressed. That is not to say the frontline pitching in the WMBL hasn’t been good. Ten pitchers have ERA’s under 3.00, Yorkton’s player of the week Kody Rock leads the way with a 1.41 ERA in 51.0 innings pitched. CJ Lewington from the Okotoks Dawgs holds the second spot with an impressive 1.51 ERA through 41.1 innings.
Attendance numbers have held strong through the first two weeks of July. As of Monday night the league has passed just over 160,000 fans through the gates of WMBL parks. Okotoks leads the way with over 56,000 fans in 16 openings for an average of 3,536 attendees per game. Edmonton and Lethbridge have averages over 1,000 with 1,867 and 1,047 respectively. As it stands right now five teams have over 10,000 attendees thus far. Regina should surpass the 10,000 mark, and with a late season push Brooks also has a chance to eclipse the mark. As long as this pesky mid summer thundershower pattern doesn’t continue to hit WMBL parks the league should easily clear the 200,000 mark combined by seasons end. Lets continue to pack those parks through the end of July and support your local team!