July 23rd, 2024

Mavs return to Okotoks for first time since finals loss last season

By JAMES TUBB on June 28, 2024.

jtubb@medicinehatnews.com@ReporterTubb

The Medicine Hat Mavericks return to a place of heartbreak last season.

The Mavs open the first of a two-game set at Okotoks against the Dawgs tonight, taking on the defending WCBL champions at Seaman Stadium for the first time since they lost Game 3 of the finals last season.

Returning Mavs’ outfielder Brody Gardner is looking forward to being back at the league’s highest-attended stadium. He says there will be some reflection of how things ended last season before resifting the focus to this season.

“I’ll reminisce a little bit when I first walk in,” Gardner said. “But once it’s game time, it’s game time. It’s a whole new year and we have a whole new team.”

Medicine Hat enters the contest off a 10-8 loss Wednesday at Swift Current to the 57’s, their third loss in a row. A three-run first inning propelled the Mavs’ early before they allowed six runs in the bottom of the fifth. Medicine Hat scored four runs in the top of the eighth but couldn’t mount the full comeback.

Tyler Vanneste made his return to the lineup in a big way, putting up two RBIs on three hits with a run scored. The Warman, Sask. product hadn’t played since June 14 due to a wrist injury suffered from a hit by pitch in a 9-2 loss to the Regina Red Sox. His three-hit night propelled him to second in the league in batting average (.443).

Nick Thibodeau drove in three RBIs, adding two runs scored and a hit to climb the league leaders charts. Jordan Phillips also added three hits and a run scored, both Phillips and Thibodeau are in the top-10 in the WCBL for hits and RBIs.

The Mavs (13-11) have lost six of the last 10 games and remain five and a half games back of the East division leading Red Sox.

Okotoks is leading the way this season, looking for the franchise’s eighth WCBL title and their third in a row. They sit atop the West division with an 18-3 record and lead the league with an .867 winning percentage.

After the two-game set, the Mavs return to Athletic Park for three straight home games, starting Sunday against the Edmonton Prospects. Sunday’s game is also Bark in the Park day at Athletic Park.

The matchup Sunday is the first time the two teams have faced since the 2022 season due to Edmonton not being active last season while undergoing stadium renovations.

The Mavs host the Weyburn Beavers on Canada Day Monday and the Sylvan Lake Gulls are at Athletic Park on Tuesday.

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