It’s safe to say that right from the moment Nate Mensik stepped on the field with the Moose Jaw Miller Express last season, he had an immediate impact.
Home runs in his first two games set the tone for the Western Canadian Baseball League campaign, and by the time things wrapped up in the league final two months later, Mensik had team Most Valuable Player honours and an appearance in the WCBL All-Star Game to his credit.
Now he’s going to do it all over again.
The Miller Express announced recently that the Doane University junior will be making his return to the team for the upcoming WCBL season, adding another tremendously potent bat to what’s already shaping up to be a dangerous line-up.
Anyone who followed the Express at Ross Wells Park last season will be plenty aware of what Mensik is capable of -- in addition to his power at the start of the season, the Pleasant Dale, Neb. product showed an affinity for getting on base and driving in runs. In fact, his batting average would never dip below .300 after the opening weekend and he’d spend much of the season hitting .350 or higher. All told, Mensik capped the campaign with a .314 average to go along with 11 home runs and 42 RBIs in 54 games.
That included a month-long 24-game hitting streak from June 1 through July 5, with a 4-for-4, two-run outing against Medicine Hat on June 3 and a 4-for-5, three-run, three RBI performance against Swift Current on Jul. 16 among his single-game highlights.
As one might imagine, Mensik’s totals put him among the league leaders -- he’d finished tied for the WCBL lead in home runs and 10th in RBI, only four back of the league lead.
Mensik also had a solid showing in the post-season, hitting .387 with four doubles, a home run, six runs scored and six RBI over their eight-game run to the WCBL final.
Mensik is one of four players from Doane who suited up in Moose Jaw last season, with all-star pitcher Kellan Voggesser and infielder Luke LaChance having been announced as returnees for 2023.
Heading into his junior season with Tigers, Mensik will be one of the players to watch in the NAIA Great Plains Athletic Conference after hitting .298 with 10 home runs, 12 doubles and 44 RBI in 50 games last season.
Doane opens their 2023 campaign on Friday, Feb. 10 when they host Kansas Wesleyan for a three-game set. The Miller Express crew will run into a familiar face the following weekend, as they take on Moose Jaw product Reece Helland and MidAmerica Nazerene on Friday, Feb, 17.
The Doane Tigers’ schedule runs through Apr. 28, followed by the GPAC and NAIA post-seasons. You can follow them at www.doaneathletics.com.
The Moose Jaw Miller Express open the 2023 season on Saturday, May 27 when they host the Weyburn Beavers.