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Marriott returning as head coach of Miller Express as season plans taking shape

All systems go for start of Western Canadian Baseball League campaign at end of May
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Eric Marriott will be returning as the Moose Jaw Miller Express head coach for the third straight year, with his debut on the field yet to come.

The Moose Jaw Miller Express will once again have a familiar face patrolling the dugout during the 2022 Western Canadian Baseball League season.

Former standout outfielder Eric Marriott will return for his third season as the team’s bench boss when the Express take the field for their home opener on Friday, May 27 at Ross Wells Park.

That game will also mark Marriott’s debut as the Miller Express head coach, thanks to the ongoing pandemic and the 2020 and 2021 seasons in Moose Jaw being cancelled.

“It’s going to be awesome,” said Express president Darryl Pisio. “Eric understands the Miller Express values, composition and philosophy and all that stuff, having been a former player. And he was a heck of a player for us back in the day, so we’re really looking forward to having him back. He knows what to expect and what the league is all about and has the connections to put a good team on the field.”

Marriott was originally slotted in to take over from Rich Sorenson as the team’s head coach prior to the 2020 campaign, but with the pandemic nearing the height of the first wave, the WCBL shut things down early that spring.

A successful run of recruiting in the 2021 off-season had the Express looking forward to a solid season in year two of Marriott’s tenure, but with U.S. players potentially having difficulty crossing the border, the WCBL made the decision to go with Canadian-born players only. As the last-minute recruiting would have been too onerous for Saskatchewan-based teams, the WCBL’s East Division clubs opted to take a one-year leave-of-absence with a focus on returning once the pandemic waned in 2022.

As a result, when the Express line up on the third baseline for the national anthem on May 27, it’ll be Marriott’s first game as a head coach despite two previous seasons technically holding the position.

“It’s a strange situation, but we’re definitely looking forward to Eric finally coaching some games here this summer,” Pisio said.

Marriott was actually back on the field as a player this past summer, suiting up for the Welland Jackfish in Ontario’s Intercounty Baseball League. The slick centrefielder would go on to hit .280 and steal 13 bases in 30 games.

The Miiller Express will once again be playing a 56-game season, with the home opener featuring a night of festivities on Pack the Park Night.  The campaign will include a meeting with the Regina Red Sox on June 21, the first day of summer, as well as a battle with the Weyburn Beavers on Canada Day, with both games at Ross Wells Park.

The Express are also planning a Trans-Canada Clash wager of sorts with the Red Sox, who they face 11 times, including the final game of the regular season on Aug. 4.

“As much fun as it would be to beat Regina all 11 times this season, it would be kind of cool if it was five wins and five losses playing that last home game of the season,” Pisio said.

As for what their 2022 roster will look like, Marriott has been hard at work recruiting players, with announcements to come in the following days and weeks.

Season tickets are now on sale, with 28 regular-season games for $195. Tickets can be used for any regular-season game, and you can contact Pisio at (306) 630-8108 or general manager Cory Olafson at (306) 631-8893.

For the latest information on the WCBL and the upcoming season, be sure to visit www.wcbl.ca.