July 17th, 2024

Morrison living childhood dream with Mavs

By JAMES TUBB on May 29, 2024.

NEWS PHOTO JAMES TUBB Medicine Hat Mavericks first baseman Evan Morrison swings at a pitch in the Mavs' 7-4 win Sunday at Moose Jaw over the Miller Express.

jtubb@medicinehatnews.com@ReporterTubb

Evan Morrison has long been waiting for his opportunity to don the Medicine Hat Mavericks red and white. This summer has given him the chance to live out the childhood dream.

The Medicine Hat product made his WCBL debut over the weekend for the Mavs, drawing a walk in two at-bats in the Mavs’ 14-8 loss Sunday at Moose Jaw before starting and making some slick defensive plays in a 7-4 win Sunday over the Miller Express.

It’s been a long time coming for Morrison who says it feels like just yesterday he was asking Mavs players for autographs and is now inscribing his own name for the next generation.

“It’s been awesome, growing up I used to be like these kids, I’d be around thinking we’re all like professional players, wanting autographs,” Morrison said. “It just feels, it’s surreal to be the player now, I’ve experienced it all from another perspective. It’s a lot of fun so far.”

Morrison was proud he was able to draw a walk in his first at-bat, he says the Moose Jaw pitcher didn’t give him much of a choice with the pitches he saw. He struck out in his next at-bat, “A little unfortunate it was a strikeout but it happens, it’s baseball. Everybody has bad games or as good games,” Morrison said.

In the win Sunday, Morrison was Moose Jaw’s ‘beer batter’, meaning fans received a discount on beer and coolers every time he was called out. He didn’t get a hit in that game but he enjoyed the pressure of the ‘beer batter’ spotlight.

“Obviously it puts it in the back your mind, ‘don’t get out, don’t get out,’ it could screw you up a little bit but you just have to do what you can at the plate,” Morrison said. “Whatever happens, happens. Sometimes the cards are in your favour and sometimes they’re not.”

His connection to the Mavs has been long running, with his uncle Greg Morrison owning and operating the WCBL franchise since 2008. The past two seasons there have been questions whether the younger Morrison could make an appearance on his uncle’s team. Evan has played American Legion baseball the last two summers with the Medicine Hat Moose Monarchs and led the Monsignor McCoy Colts varsity team two seasons ago to second place in the province.

If he was going to play on the Mavs, he wasn’t going to get his spot by sharing a last name. It had to be earned. After hitting nine home runs in 40 games with the NCAA DI Western Texas College, Morrison got his dream spot and is looking forward to fulfilling it this summer.

Uncle Greg may be even more excited to see his young nephew growing into his own game.

“It’s very surreal. I was coaching first (base) there, there was quite the moment in Moose Jaw to see him there, the big lefty,” Greg said. “My wife said they were announcing him as ‘here’s big Morrison, the first baseman. He’s a helluva ball player, I’m glad he’s getting some playing time and he’s got professional grade power. I think everybody knows that and I think already in the league, they’re not wanting to give them too much to hit early on.”

The young Morrison has already increased the Mavs’ batting practice budget, expelling a plethora of BP balls over the fence in Moose Jaw over the weekend. When Evan does, or if so as not to bother the baseball gods, get that first WCBL home run – especially if he hits it at the same park Greg used to – the Mavs owner says he’ll be thinking of the Morrison family as he watches it sail over the fence.

“Our approach is to get him working to all fields. To become a professional player, you have to use all fields, that’s what he’s working on,” Morrison said. “For me, that’ll make me as happy if he’s banging the ball off that left centre fences, if he’s pulling them over the right field fence.

“There’s just something about getting that first one out of the way. It could be on Wednesday, it could be in August, you never know. But it’s pretty awesome to see the grandparents and his family out and just really enjoying that moment right now.”

Evan will make his debut with the Mavericks at Athletic Park during their home opener tonight against the Saskatoon Berries. Whether it be just an introduction at the start of the game or hearing his name called throughout during at-bats and making plays on the field, Evan says it’ll be a moment he’ll remember for a long time.

” I’ve been getting goosebumps thinking about the home opener with all the fans,” Morrison said. “We get one of the best crowds in this league, easily. I think a lot of them already know me from my earlier years and I think it’ll be awesome when I hear my name out there. Everybody that knows me, my family and finally getting to see me out there, it’s exciting.”

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