Parkland Whitesox move into first; may move on from NCABL
By Gord Montgomery
Sports Editor; Spruce Grove Examiner
took a few weeks to get there but the Parkland Whitesox have moved back
into familiar territory atop the standings in the North Central Alberta
Baseball League (NCABL).
though might not be the only move the team makes over the next while,
as they’re beginning to find their talent level far surpasses that of
most clubs in their present league. As such, skipper Doug Jones stated
on the weekend, they are seriously tossing around the idea of shifting
over to the Sunburst League if things don’t change dramatically in the
near future in their present home.
Sox played a pair of inter-league games that had no bearing on the
NCABL standings but did on the state of mind of his team, as they
defeated the Red Deer Stags 10-1 and the St. Albert Tigers 5-3.
if those wins were the result of his club “ramping up” their game to
meet what is considered a better level of play, Jones quickly agreed
with that assessment.
There is something about playing in that (Sunburst) league and to be
honest the boys are way more amped up to play in that league than ours.
In order to hang on to, and attract the top calibre of players you need
to play in a league of that calibre all the time.”
major difference between the two senior-level leagues is the fact that
the Sunburst plays nine inning games compared to seven inning outings in
the NCABL. While that may not seem like a lot, it is and creates more
challenges for both players and coaches, Jones noted.
was a great all-around performance by everybody. Those are nine inning
games so I started Aaron Huber and then used Jamie Cameron and Josh
Turner to close out the game.”
league action, the Sox passed the Sherwood Park Athletics in the
standings to take over top spot with a 3-0 win behind another solid
mound effort by Turner in the battle for first place.
had a home run hit by Brad Sinclair. We didn’t do a lot of timely
scoring in that game and that’s the difference. In the Red Deer game we
had guys doing everything right to move runs across the plate, doing
everything at the right time. Coming back into the league – and the Park
is a good team and it probably should have been more than 3-0 – but I
don’t even know if they hit a ball out of the infield,” the skipper
over to the Sunburst again after that win, the Sox upended the Tigers
in the opening game of their annual tournament, which was drowned out by
rain. The fact his team can cross over to a so-called higher level and
do so well shows how good this team, the defending NCABL champs, has
become this year.
proves we can do this,” he said. “It’s our team playing up to the level
of ball we know we can play. In the NCABL we sometimes play down to the
level of other teams.”
picked up the win in that game but couldn’t go the distance simply
because of the extra innings played. Scott Hoekstra provided the big
blast in the game with a three-run dinger.
now at least, even though the grass does look greener on the other side
of the outfield fence, Jones noted his club will continue to honour
their obligations to the NCABL and play every game in the proper manner.
will have to play the games the right way – not base-to-base and go
after everything we can get,” he said of preparing for a major
tournament in Kelowna, B.C. at the end of the month and staying sharp
against league opponents even though their hearts may not really be
totally immersed in those challenges at this time.
Sox were scheduled to play the Edmonton Jays on Thursday, after press
deadline, in a game in the Grove if the weather allowed.
The Whitesox will then play host to the Sturgeon Paladins on Sunday, June 26 in a double at 1:30 p.m. at Henry Singer Field.Sox fall to Prospects in tournament final
Sox stymied in tounament
By Gord Montgomery
Sports Editor, Spruce Grove Examiner
In tournament play you
never know what you’re going to get. Hopefully every game is close and well
played but you know every once in a while you’re going to run into a
As it turned out the lame
games were the case twice for the Parkland Whitesox over the weekend at a
tournament in Camrose, with only the championship final being worthy of note,
and they ended up losing that one.
The Sox began by
battering the Calgary Diamondbacks 26-0 in a game that only went five innings
but could well have been stopped after one, as the Parkland squad built up a
9-0 lead before their first three outs of the game.
“We were just going base
to base after the first inning but there’s only so much you can do,” skipper
Doug Jones said of his team not stealing bases or using hit-and-run plays and
trying not to embarrass the other team too badly. “The guys aren’t going to go
up there and try to go out on purpose though.
“The guy they threw was
decent but if he was their top pitcher, he only would have been in the bottom
end in our league.”
Despite the blowout,
Jones did manage to find a glimmer of good in the win.
“If there was a bright
spot in that game, and it was the only one, we hit slower pitching that quite
often handcuffs us.”
Things didn’t get much
better, competition-wise, in the second game as the Sox shot down the Combine
Pilots from Provost.
“They weren’t bad; maybe
middle of our league,” Jones said of another five-inning contest where the Sox
only scored three times in the opening inning before pulling away.
As it turned out, the
final between the Sox and the Prospects Baseball Academy was the marquee match
everyone was hoping for and it made up for the lack of competition earlier on,
Jones said, even though his team came out on the short end of a 2-0 score.
“Cam (Prospects’ coach
Houston) and I were talking before the game and said we should have just played
a triple header against each other,” Jones quipped about the easy route both
teams had in making it to the title game.
“This was a great game.
That is one nice ball team,” the local skipper said of their opponent. “That
was the type of game we were looking at playing, the type of games we want to
be playing for the rest of the year,” as opposed to the high-scoring, walk in
the park variety of their first two encounters in the tournament.
The Sox were back in
league action on Wednesday night in Camrose. They return home on Thursday, June
9 against the Westlock Red Lions and again on Thursday, June 16 versus the
A performance that would've made an old friend smile
By Gord Montgomery
Sports Editor; Spruce Grove Examiner
may have just been Game No. 24 on the slate in the NCABL and No. 4 for
the Parkland Whitesox, but for Josh Turner this was anything but an
ordinary, everyday, run-of-the-mill league game.
it was his first start of the season and he was looking to keep the Sox
rolling with a strong mound performance but more than anything, this
game to him had an extra special meaning beyond the fact he was facing a
perennial powerhouse in the league, the Mayerthorpe Mets.
see, Turner had dedicated this game, and his performance within it, to
the memory of a former college teammate, and roommate, at the
University of Western Alabama when they both suited up for the baseball
game’s end, his buddy would have been the first in line to congratulate
Turner on his complete game, two-hit, eight strikeout 2-0 shut out win.
In fact, the local pitcher was so dominant in this one, he gave up only
two hard-hit balls all night.
The first was a one-out double in the first inning and although that runner advanced to third, he got no further.
second came after Turner bobbled an infield pop-up in the final inning
and the Mets’ clean-up hitter launched a monster shot into left field
looking to tie the game up. That shot hooked foul however, and the
batter was eventually retired on strikes. The final out came on a weak
Afterwards, Turner said he felt comfortable on the bump for the most part, despite that double in the first.
just tried to get into a good routine to start the season. Sometimes it
takes a little while to get a feel for the field, the other team, find
your arm slot and whatnot. But once I find that groove I can just go
with that and run with it.”
big part of any pitcher’s success is the defence in place behind him,
and while Turner does chalk up a number of K’s each time he pitches, he
knows his teammates are ready to pitch in when needed, both on defence
nice having those guys around because you know they’re going to perform
night in and night out. It’s nice having the guys in there that can hit
the ball and score some runs for us.”
the Sox didn’t push a pile of runs across the dish in this win, they
got enough thanks to a wicked RBI line-drive double by catcher Scott
Hoekstra, who then scored the insurance run on a wild pitch in the
made those runs stand up as he went the distance, throwing under 100
pitches. His manager, Doug Jones, said he wasn’t surprised the
right-hander could work the entire game simply because he’s that good.
start to the season is a little slower than other guys which is why we
had him not throw until the fourth game instead of earlier on,” the
skipper explained. “That’s just the way he throws, but you’d never know
he was ready to throw a seven inning game.”
for that final inning, Turner said he made a mistake to the hitter who
went deep with the crooked fly ball, but he made up for it in a hurry.
(McGeough, a teammate who played for the Mets in the past) gave me a
little tip. He said don’t go off-speed with this guy. It was a curve
ball I threw that he hit deep so I went back to the hard stuff. I
actually got him out with a curveball in the end.”
said there really wasn’t much thought about replacing Turner on the
mound in the last inning, even though he did have a couple of arms
warmed up in the bullpen.
had Chris Shaw and Myles Ethier ready but, nah, there really wasn’t
much of a decision to be made. That pop-up, that wasn’t his (Josh’s)
ball. Blair’s new to the team and we told him, ‘Next time, you bark loud
and clear that’s your ball.’
“It was kind of a goofy play.”
about his appraisal of his own performance, Turner replied, “It felt
good. I want to dedicate this game to my best friend who passed away
this past February. I played ball with him for four years in the States
so I kind of wanted to come out and have a good start to the season and
dedicate it to him. He was one of my best friends so it helped me with
motivation to go out there and get it done.”
And on this night, if that friend was looking down, he would have been smiling at the effort his buddy gave to get it done.
Whitesox are back in action at Henry Singer Park in the Grove on
Thursday, June 9 against Westlock in a game that begins at 7:15 p.m.
Sleeping lumber awakens with a roar for Sox
By Gord Montgomery
Sports Editor, Spruce Grove Examiner
a big grumpy bear coming out of a winter’s hibernation, it took a while
to rub the slumber off the lumber for the Parkland White Sox. The
thing is, the wood eventually roared to life on the weekend even though
they hit the snooze button a time or two.
took the Sox three games for the lumber to come to life but when it
did, it was as dangerous as a ravenous grizzly looking for some lunch
after a long winter’s nap.
local team opened with a 5-4 come-from-behind win over the Edmonton
Athletics and then stumbled slightly, dropping a 2-1 decision to the
Edmonton Warriors before turning around and mauling that same team 19-1
in the nightcap of their double dip.
reviewing the trio of games to open the NCABL season, and defence of
their league championship title, skipper Doug Jones said the early lull
on offence caught everyone by surprise.
had a great batting practice (the night before the opener) and then to
come out and start as slow as we did in that first game,” was
frustrating, he noted. “It was the same thing Sunday. We had chances but
didn’t capitalize in the first game.
threw their ace in the second game and we were driving balls off the
wall,” Jones said of his club struggling in the opener of the
doubleheader with a slower speed pitcher.
Turner and Scott Hoekstra both cleared the fence with long balls in the
nightcap. The bench boss noted the big flies weren’t wind-aided even
though there were gusts upwards of 90/kmh, and possibly higher, during
hit the ball hard in the first game too, but right to them,” Jones
continued. “That happens to us when it’s a weaker pitcher. Our guys
don’t adjust well to that and we don’t really want to.
“This guy didn’t have anything special but he threw strikes in the right place and did his job.”
the season opener last Thursday, the game plan for the Sox basically
blew out the window, along with about three pounds of shale dust in the
breezy conditions, as Jamie Cameron went the distance, recording 10
strikeouts, for the win. He was originally slated to toss four innings,
max but he wasn’t about to stick to that idea.
that’s Jamie,” Jones cracked. “He’s been throwing since January and
he’s in mid-season form. He glares me down even when I’m just walking
out to say ‘hi’ to him.”
Slinko came up with the clutch hit of the night when he ripped a bases
loaded sixth inning double, plating the go-ahead run which Cameron made
“We battled back. We were only down a run but we came back and that impressed me,” Jones said of that game.
Huber went the distance on the mound for the Sox in the second game and
took the tough loss while Myles Ethier picked up the victory on the
bump in the third game.
“The relief guys just aren’t ready yet,” Jones commented about throwing his starters so long, so early.
got a couple of arms that still need a little tweaking. (Starter) Josh
Turner takes a bit longer to get going and all these guys have been
throwing a lot in the off-season.”
While this wasn’t a perfect start for the Sox, it was as close as you can get so the skipper wasn’t bemoaning the lone loss.
definitely gave away a game,” and are now sitting at 2-1 instead of
3-0, said Jones. “Was that one we couldn’t afford to give away? I guess
we’ll see when the end of the year comes. Then again, I don’t think it
will hurt us that bad. It doesn’t make any difference if we’re in first
place or fourth when the playoffs come.
“It’s not a game you want to give away but I’m not worried. If we were 1-and-2 then that would be a little different.”
The Sox were back in action at home on May 19 (after press deadline) when they hosted the Mayerthorpe Mets.