By IAN WILSON
We have a number of games we’re keeping an eye on in the final week of the Western Canadian Baseball League (WCBL) regular season.
Some have playoff implications, while others could prove to be postseason previews.
The top four teams in each division qualify for extra games and there are some tight playoff races to follow.
In the East Division, the Regina Red Sox (29-22) are hoping to nail down the top seed. They are currently a half-game back of the Moose Jaw Miller Express (30-22). The Red Sox host the last-place Weyburn Beavers (13-36) at Currie Field for two games on Aug. 1st and 2nd, and then travel to Tom Laing Park in Weyburn to close out the three-game series on Aug. 3rd. Regina hits the road against the Miller Express before returning home to play the third-place Swift Current 57’s to close out the regular season.
Weyburn will look to avoid elimination and try to chase down the Medicine Hat Mavericks (17-34), who hold the final playoff spot in the East Division. The Beavers are three games back of the Mavs in the standings and have seven games left to make up ground. Following their series against the Red Sox, Weyburn plays a crucial two-game set against Medicine Hat at Athletic Park on Aug. 4th and 5th. The Beavers final two games will be against the 57’s.
The Mavericks control their own destiny. In addition to a three-game cushion and head-to-head matchups against the team that’s chasing them, they face their provincial rivals from Lethbridge on Aug. 2nd at Athletic Park. The Bulls (22-28) are the defending WCBL champions, but they are on the outside looking in when it comes to the West Division standings this summer. Lethbridge sits two games behind the fourth-place Fort McMurray Giants (24-26) and two-and-a-half games back of the third place Brooks Bombers (25-26). If the Giants and Bombers clinch playoff spots, it will be the first time in the history of both franchises that they have qualified for postseason play.
BEST IN THE WEST
The Okotoks Dawgs (40-12) have locked up top spot in the West Division. With four games remaining on their schedule, they can establish a club record with another victory, and set a new high for WCBL triumphs with a pair of wins. The Regina Red Sox won 41 games in 2019.
The Dawgs have won seven games in a row and host the second-place Sylvan Lake Gulls (33-17) on Aug. 2nd at Seaman Stadium. That could serve as a preview of a West Division final series.
Okotoks wraps up play with a home-and-home series against the Bombers, who will be in tough to make the playoffs. Brooks final five games include a matchup against the Giants, two versus the Gulls and the final pair of contests against the Dawgs.
It’s going to be a wild ride during this final week of the WCBL regular season. Hold onto your hats!