The Moose Jaw Miller Express have seen a few players with gaudy offensive numbers enter their ranks in recent years, but few have had the kind of campaign Elijah Bear did with the Seward Country Saints in 2023.
And if he can even come close to equalling his accomplishments in the Western Canadian Baseball League this summer, the Miller Express will have a gem indeed.
The Houston, Tex. product put together a season for the ages with the Saints in the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference last summer, chasing a handful of conference records on his way to being named a second-team National Junior College Athletic Association All-American at designated hitter.
A 6-foot-0, 205-pound first baseman and outfielder, Bear hit .387 with 20 home runs and 80 runs batted in while also scoring 72 runs. His home run and RBI totals were third-best all-time in the KJCCC while his runs scored are tied for seventh in history.
Bear also hit 20 doubles and drew 21 walks across 212 at bats over 57 games, leading to a 1.237 on base plus slugging percentage -- one of the highest such totals for an incoming player in recent Miller Express history.
The Saints would go on to reach the Region VI Plains District playdown tournament, but would fall short of advancing further, putting together a 33-26 record overall and 20-12 in the KJCCC.
As one might expect, Bear’s community college days are now behind him as he is currently in action with the Bellevue, Neb. University Bruins of the NAIA North Star Athletic Association.
It hasn’t taken long for Bear to have an impact there, either, as the sophomore left-handed hitter is hitting .500 after appearing in two games and belted his first NAIA home run against Benedictine Mesa on Feb. 3.
The Bruins are currently 1-3 on the season after running a gauntlet of NAIA-ranked teams to open the season. The NSAA regular season continues through Apr. 27, with the conference championship beginning May 3, NAIA playdowns on May 13 and NAIA World Series on May 24. As a result, barring an incredible run of team success, Bear could be in the line-up for the Miller Express on opening day.
Moose Jaw opens their 56-game season on Friday, May 24 when they travel to Weyburn to face the Beavers. Moose Jaw’s home opener is the following night against the Medicine Hat Mavericks.