BY JAMES TUBB ON AUGUST 12, 2022.
The Medicine Hat Mavericks emitted a lot of positive energy throughout their East Division semifinal series against the Regina Red Sox. A large part of that is thanks to their leadership core.
The Mavericks did not collapse throughout the two game series sweep and only trailed Regina for an inning throughout the series – a change from the regular season where a lot of their leads were lost in the last three innings of the game.
Mavericks head coach Tyler Jeske said that came through their utilization of their rotation/bullpen and their growth.
“We talked throughout the summer that we have to continue to find ways to get better. We need each week to develop, we need to take small steps forward. I think we’re seeing the results of that. These guys have worked extremely hard the entire season and right now, we’re getting to enjoy the fruit of that labor,” Jeske said after a 3-2 win in Game 2 on Tuesday.
Something else that has helped keep the young Mavericks team grounded is their leadership group keeping all the players engaged and positive. Through their first two games of the WCBL playoffs their oldest players have been ensuring anyone in the dugout is paying full attention and cheering on the team. Following innings where there was a run scored against, or an error, there are quick full-team meetings to ensure positivity.
Pitcher Ethan Bromley has been at the forefront of keeping the energy up on the bench and said he just wanted to contribute however he could.
“All these guys have their own skill sets and stuff. When they call my name, I’ll be ready to pitch but if I can contribute in any other way that’s really helpful,” Bromley said. “I try to keep you guys up. Some people have different energy levels so to pull it out of them, that’ll be all we need.”
Bromley said the two oldest Stark brothers, Zach and Nate, have played a big role in the in-between-innings meetings.
“Zach Stark’s played a great role in that and Nate’s really stepped up, which is awesome to see. They just allow us to pull us in a bit and say, we’re playing good ball here but we have to focus for a little bit. We have three more innings. We’re collecting outs, we have nine outs and how are we gonna get this thing done,” Bromley said. “Big of them to step up, and it’s always hard to find the words to get boys motivated, but they’re pretty good at it.”
Before the playoffs, Zach said he came into the season wanting to take on a leadership role and was looking forward to continuing that into the post-season. After Tuesday’s win, he said he’s been impressed with his team in the playoffs.
“More than you can imagine, everybody’s stepping up from the pitching staff to offensive staff, defensively in the infield to outfield – everybody’s making plays happen,” Stark said. “I’m glad it’s starting to come together now instead of when we didn’t need it.”
The Mavericks will need all cylinders firing as they were against the Red Sox when they head to Moose Jaw today for Game 1 of their East Division final series against the Miller Express.
Moose Jaw and Medicine Hat squared off 11 times this summer, with the Miller Express coming out on top in nine of those games and scoring 90 runs to the Mavs 57. After having Wednesday and Thursday off, Bromley said the Mavericks will be ready to get after the Moose Jaw starter.
“They’re going to go with their guy. If we can score a couple that’s all we really need. Our pitchers have been great,” Bromley said. “We’re not looking for the big hits, which I think changed, at the beginning of the year we were offensive, hitting balls pretty good. So if we can scrape a couple by every once in a while, we kind of sit with them, we’ll wear them out and in the end. Hopefully it results in a win.”
Game 1 gets underway at 7:05 p.m. in Moose Jaw. Game 2 of the series returns to Medicine Hat for a 7:05 p.m contest Saturday at Athletic Park, with Game 3 slated for Sunday, if necessary. Visit medicinehatnews.com/sports for full game stories.