Edmonton Stingers Open Up 2021 Season With an Impressive Victory

For the first time since August 2020, the Edmonton Stingers hit the court to take on the Hamilton Honey Badgers. With a brand new roster and 7 returning players, the Stingers came into the season opener against Hamilton on a 7 game active win streak. The Stingers starting five was Xavier Moon, Mathieu Kamba, Jordan Baker, Brady Skeens and Marlon Johnson. The Honey Badgers fielded Lindell Wigginton, Trevon Duval, JV Mukama, Khalif Young and Tyler Kennedy.

With around 100 fans in the arena, the Stingers lined up at half court for the tip off. Marlon Johnson, who’d waited nearly a year since being diagnosed with a crippling illness, smiled big prior to the tip off, which he won, but Mukama stole possession of. Right off the bat, the Stingers looked deadly. Marlon Johnson brought a ton of energy to the game and threw down a handful of first quarter dunks.Following a period of time where Marlon Johnson took a series of dimes from Moon and threw them down, Jordan Baker started finding ways to cut to the basket. Moon came through with 10 points and 9 assists in the first half of action as the Stingers took a commanding 19 point lead.

via CEBL

The Honey Badgers battled back behind the impressive shooting clinic by Hamilton’s Lindell Wigginton. Wigginton finished with 30 points and 9 assists. The second half was highlighted by Xavier Moon, who began to heat up in the fourth quarter. The Honey Badgers did manage to cut the Edmonton lead cut down to just 3 points for a long period of time.

When it came to ELAM ending time, the Stingers and Honey Badgers were neck and neck. Wigginton and Moon went back and forth until Marlon Johnson put up the game winning runner. The Stingers would walk away with a 91-87 victory in their first game of the season, extending their active win streak to 8.

Marlon Johnson was extremely impressive in his Stingers debut. Johnson did a little bit of everything coming in with a game high 27 points, along with 7 assists, 5 rebounds and 4 steals. Johnson threw down some huge dunks, made some key shots, and of course hit the game winner. Johnson looked extremely comfortable on the floor playing with Moon, the question now is can he keep it up? Johnson was everywhere on both ends, so it only makes sense that he runs out of gas eventually… unless.

via CEBL

Of course, the MVP Xavier Moon put together a wonderful game. Moon came through with 25 points of his own, along with 11 assists and 6 rebounds. Moon was doing what he does best, hitting mid ranges, making smart passes, and even dunking! Moon silenced any critics that were left to critique his passing game, his 11 assists is a personal CEBL record. Moon also became the CEBL all time scoring leader, passing Ricky Tarrant Jr.

Jordan Baker was the next man up following the dynamic duo of Moon and Johnson. Baker finished with 13 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists. Baker was a huge contributor in the first half, but slipped into a playmaking Rollin the second half when Moon started scoring. Baker was a consistent presence for the Stingers who once again complemented the Stingers superstar duo, as he has done since the inaugural season.

Brady Skeens had an intriguing CEBL debut as he dropped 6 points on 3-3 shooting, as well as 4 rebounds and 2 steals. Skeens spent most of the game on the bench as he struggled with fouls. Skeens was extremely efficient when he was on the court, coming in with a team high plus-minus, but his foul trouble gave Stingers fans a very small sample size to look forward to.

Mathieu Kamba was the last starter, and was a bit slow coming out of the game. It wasn’t the world’s worst game, but Kamba finished with 7 points, 1 assist, and 5 fouls. Kamba found himself on the bench quite often due to his 5 fouls, and struggled to get shots to fall. Despite this, Kamba has reportedly been looking beastly in training camp, so don’t be surprised if he bounces back in a big way.

via CEBL

Adika Peter-McNeilly was the highest scorer off the bench, he came through with 8 points in limited minutes, also due to four fouls. Jahmal Jones came off the bench as the sixth man, perhaps partially due to Adika’s fouls, but Jones saw near starter minutes. In his minutes, Jones took few shots, mainly acting as a floor general. Jones finished with 3 points and 5 assists.

The last scorer for the Stingers was Zac Overwater, who came through with 2 points, 2 rebounds and a block. Overwater looked solid in his limited minutes, but once again a small sample size makes it difficult to assess his performance. Kareem South was scoreless in his limited minutes, but dished one assist.

Overall, it was a strong game for the Stingers. An impressive start turned into a shaky finish, but the Stingers game away with the win nonetheless. It seemed like the Honey Badgers were getting lucky with prayer threes, so the fact that this game was so close after a 19 point deficit is not too bothersome for the Stingers.

The Stingers take on the Niagara River Lions in front of a full crowd on July 2.

Edmonton Prospects 5 Okotoks Dawgs Red 3

Arriving at Centennial Park Field 9 at 5:30 PM for the pregame volunteers meeting, I bumped into Prospects Head Coach and Assistant General Manager Jordan Blundell. With recent Prospects game results being 24-10 and 14-0 plus recent Western Canadian Baseball League games posting 16-10 and 10-9 scores, Blundell stated the obvious: “With so much time away from the diamond, pitchers across the league are a little behind in their games compared to the hitters“. Cue his pitching staff to buck the trend.

Prospects starting pitcher Julian Tymochko turned in another quality start and reliever Scott Gillespie (recently featured on the league website)  earned a 3-inning save helping the Prospects defeat the Okotoks Dawgs Red.

In the season opener on June 18th in Sylvan Lake, Tymochko bounced back from an opening inning run against and loading the bases in the top of the 2nd to deliver five solid innings. Last night, Tymochko followed a similar path allowing a first inning run against then cruising until the 5th inning. The Dawgs were able to score two in the 5th. Undeterred the Prospects starting pitcher came back out in the sixth inning to collect his 7th, 8th and 9th strikeouts of the evening.

Down 1-0 in the bottom of the first, McCoy Pearce came up with 2-on and 1-out. Pearce smacked a double to tie the game up. Pearce would come up in the 3rd inning with 1-on and 2-out smacking another double to put the Prospects up 2-1.

The Prospects would take the lead for good in the bottom of the 5th. With Brendan Luther and Pearce (the Dawgs intentionally walked the hot bat) on base, Robert Holmes hit a double off the base of the outfield wall to score both runners.

The 4-3 lead became a 5-3 lead in the bottom of the 6th when Aiden Perry hit a sacrifice fly scoring Conor Bronson. Bronson originally got on base via a walk then promptly stole both 2nd and 3rd base.

Enter Prospects reliever Gillespie to retire the first four batters he faced before allowing two base runners. A double play would end the 8th and Gillespie would retire the side in order in the ninth inning to send the “sellout” crowd home happy.

Now for the reason I mentioned being at the volunteers pre-game meeting and have the word “sellout” in quotations. With Covid restrictions being lifted July 1st, more fans are expected to be allowed to attend games which in turns means more volunteers will be needed at the ball park. Through volunteering with the Club, I have greeted tens of thousands of fans with my patented “Good Morning” leading to quick chats with people from all across the world. If you are interested in volunteering to help at a Prospects home game at either Henry Singer Park in Spruce Grove or Centennial Park Field 9 in Sherwood Park, contact their Game-Day Director.

NEXT UP:

June 29th at Sylvan Lake

NEXT LOCAL HOME GAMES:

Saturday July 10 at 7:05 PM and Sunday July 11 at 2:05 PM at Centennial Park Field 9 in Sherwood Park featuring “Minor Baseball Day” and “Bark at the Park”.

Sylvan Lake Gulls Sweep Home And Home Set with Edmonton Prospects

On June 18th, the Sylvan Lake Gulls era officially began. Typically the box score can be found on the Western Canadian Baseball League site but game recaps are more miss than swing. If I may and when I can, I swing for the fences to give fans the nicety of a game recap based purely off of the box score.

While the Edmonton Prospects earned the win on Opening Night, honestly though Opening Night was still a win for everyone involved, your Gulls have just finished a home and home sweep of their Highway 2 counterparts. On June 22nd in Sylvan Lake, the Gulls won 14-5. After an off-day for the Club (the Prospects played in Spruce Grove), the Gulls played the Prospects in Sherwood Park on June 24th beating them 14-0.

JUNE 22 AT HOME

The Gulls jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the opening frame. The big hit being a RBI triple off the bat of Kyle Froehlich

Gulls starting pitcher Kyle Smyth struggled with his control in the top of the second inning allowing the Prospects to close the gap to 3-2. Smyth would come back out for one more inning on the mound collecting strikeouts three and four of his short start.

The Prospects starting pitcher would only last two innings as the Gulls scored 4 runs in the bottom of the second to make it a 7-2 game. With the bases loaded and 1-out, Brayden Cust would smack a single to right field relieving the bases of two runners. Froehlich would follow suit cashing in two more runs.

A pitching change by the Prospects did not slow down the Gulls offence as the Club would score 4 more runs in the bottom of the 3rd to make it an 11-2 game. The big hits in the inning were run scoring doubles by Cooper Jones and Cust.

Chas Wheatley pitched the 4th and 5th innings for your Gulls retiring the first five batters he faced. A walk and a single the only blemishes on his pitching line.

Jonah Arseneau struggled with his command pitching the top of the 6th giving up a run to the visitors but the Gulls offence picked him up in bottom half. With runners on 2nd and 3rd, Nolan Weger hit a double to right field scoring both making it a 13-3 ball game.

The Prospects added two in the top of the 7th and were threatening in the top of the 8th loading the bases with only one out. Enter Jake Finkelstein from the bullpen to slam the door shut on any comeback hopes. Finkelstein would induce back-to-back fly ball outs to keep the score at 13-5.

Weger would collect his 3rd RBI of the night in the bottom of 8th to bring us to our final score of 14-5.

JUNE 24 ON THE ROAD

Patience is a virtue. The Gulls batters took their walks and advanced on the base paths when the Prospects starter throw a wild pitch. It was already 3-0 when Zachary Olson hit a 2-run single to make it 5-0 for the road team. A loaded bases walk earned Olson his third RBI of the evening in the fifth inning making it 7-0 for the Gulls.

Gulls starting pitcher Tyler McWillie was magnificent. 5 shutout innings, retiring his last seven batters faced.

Jared Arnold put a zero in the bottom of the sixth. Newest member of the Gulls Brett Higgins pitched the 7th and 8th inning retiring all six batters he faced. What makes that feat impressive is that in between his two innings, the offence put up six runs.

The top of the 8th inning for the Gulls featured a 2-run Froehlich home run, he had already notched a RBI his previous at-bat in the 6th.  The inning also featured 2-run singles by Dylan Edmands and Jones bringing us to our final score of 14-0.

Finnigan Duffield struck out the side in the bottom of the ninth and the team celebrated by walking through the Wendy’s drive thru.

NEXT FLIGHT:

June 26 and 27 in Okotoks against Okotoks Black.