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Miller Express ready for winner-takes-all battle for Western Canadian Baseball League crown

Game 3 of WCBL Final set for tonight in Okotoks after 3-1 Moose Jaw win on Wednesday night
WCBL trophy
The Moose Jaw Miller Express and the Okotoks Dawgs will be playing a one-game, winner-take-all contest for the WCBL Championship tonight in Okotoks.

The Moose Jaw Miller Express know they’ll have everything imaginable thrown at them in Game 3 of the Western Canadian Baseball League final tonight in Okotoks.

That’s because they’ll be doing the exact same thing to the Dawgs win their one-game, winner-take-all battle for the WCBL crown.

The only question is which team will come up with the ace-in-the-hole to claim the first WCBL title since 2019. What’s for certain is that it’ll be an epic battle in front of a huge crowd in the 2,500-seat Seaman Stadium, 

“It’ll be two really good ball teams going at each other, they’re going to throw the kitchen sink at us and we’re going to answer the same way and hopefully we come out on top,” said Miller Express head coach Eric Marriott after Wednesday night’s 3-1 win in Game 2. 

“It’s awesome. These boys should be proud of themselves and the city should be proud of them, because we made history this year. And we’re not done yet, we have one more game to define our whole season.”

The Miller Express have ridden a select few arms through their playoff run, and have seen solid starting pitching throughout. Cameron Dunn, who went 5 ⅓ innings and threw 80 pitches while holding Okotoks scoreless in Game 2, is unavailable. All star starter Kellan Voggesser was the winning pitcher and threw 32 pitches in two innings of work and might be able to go, with the rest of the pitching staff set to take the mound as need be.

“We’re just going to see how everyone is feeling [Thursday] and make the decision closer to game time,” Marriott said.

Of course, the Miller Express have lived and died by their bats most of the season, having led the East Division in pretty much every offensive category. Okotoks did the same in the West and had the top offensive numbers in the league while putting together a 43-13 record, 10 wins better than Moose Jaw.

“As long as you score more runs than them, that’s all that matters and we’ll be looking to do the same thing [tonight],” Marriott said. “We have to set the tone early, especially being the visiting team. You have to go out there and swing it and put pressure on them, then hopefully they tighten up a bit and we can turn that into a victory.”

As Marriott mentioned, the season has already been a historic one for the Miller Express. Their last title came back in 2002, when they shared a rain-hampered Western Major Baseball League title with the Melville Millionaires. The league was far different back then, with a third of the teams and no Alberta presence, and Moose Jaw hasn’t had much playoff success to speak of since.

One Miller Express standout who has seen many a game at Ross Wells since 2002 is closer Reece Helland, and he is under no illusion how much this run has meant to the team and community.

“It’s just so special.,” Helland said. “Especially this team, this team has been unbelievable all year, one of the best teams I’ve been a part of in general. From the guys to the coaching staff to the fans, it’s awesome.”

First pitch of Game 3 goes at 7 p.m. and you can catch all the action on www.westerncanadianbaseballleague.ca.