Around the PBL: May 13 – May 16

The first full week of Powerline Baseball League action started off with a Monday night game in Edmonton between the Expos and the Roadrunners. This week a total of nine games are scheduled before the league takes the Victoria Day Long Weekend off.

Three games are highlighted this week with the Rosalind Athletics taking on the Leduc Milleteers on Tuesday May 14 as the two teams renew hostilities after their semi-final series last season. We get our first Camrose vs Camrose game of the season on Thursday May 16 as the two crosstown rivals square off at Harry Andreassen Field. Finally, perhaps the most anticipated game of the early part of the season sees the defending champion Armena Royals take on the Leduc Milleteers on Thursday night at Anniversary Park. The last time these teams were on a field together the Royals were hosting the PBL Championship trophy after beating the Milleteers 2-1 in the series. Both teams are expected to be atop the standings at the end of the season, Thursday’s game will give us our first glimpse of what could be the best two teams in the league.

MONDAY MAY 13

Camrose Roadrunners – 0

Edmonton Expos – 10

The Expos would make easy work of the Roadrunners on Monday night at Empire Park, needing only six innings to get their first win of the season. Costly errors by the Roadrunners and a couple of home field bounces for the Expos quickly took the game from a 4-0 Expos lead to 10-0. It was reported that Gavin Tyrinek got the start for the Expos setting the tone early as they would make it tough for the Roadrunners to get enough offence together to threaten the lead. For the Roadrunners Aaron Hayes threw well but a few too many free passes and some costly errors overshadowed a decent showing on the mound. The Expos pick up their first win of the season after losing 5-2 to the Rosalind Athletics in Rosalind on Saturday afternoon. The win now gives home teams a 5-0 record through the first five games of the season.

he umpire gets a good look at the play as Expos’ Gavin Tyrinek successfuly completes the straight steal of home.

TUESDAY MAY 14

Rosalind Athletics – 13 

Leduc Milleteers – 7

The Rosalind Athletics rolled into Fred Johns Park on what became a dark and cool Tuesday night and came away with a big win against the team that eliminated them from the playoffs in 2018. The win moves the A’s into first place with a 2-0 record while the Milleteers find themselves in the PBL basement early in the season with a 0-2 record. The A’s would start the game off with the first four hitters reaching base, with Chase Leslie leading off the game with a single. Leslie, Matt Enright and Sheldon Pederson would all cross the plate for the A’s to give them an early 3-0 lead. The Milleteers would score two in the bottom half of the inning with RBI singles from Alex McIntosh and Dallas Woodman. In the top of the third inning the A’s would capitalize on some sloppy Milleters play in the field to score two more and start the trend of two or three runs per inning for the rest of the game. The top of the A’s order (Leslie, M.Enright and Pederson) would combine to score nine runs on the evening with Kobe Charchun going 1 for 3 with a pair of runs scored in the eight spot of the lineup. The Milleteers offence would show life in the bottom of the fifth when they would score five runs as seven of the ten batters in the inning would reach base. The big hit came off the bat of McIntosh who would hit a two RBI double. McIntosh would finish 4 for 4 with three singles, a double and three RBIs on the night. The game would end up being called in the sixth due to the playing conditions.

 

Edmonton Expos – 9

Tofield Braves – 3

Playing with eight players and down to their final three outs, the Edmonton Expos managed to score seven runs in the top of the seventh inning to turn a 3-2 game into a 9-3 win on the road. The win is the Expos second in as many nights as the team was anchored by an impressive start on the hill for 2018 PBL All-Star Gary LeBlancCorey Epp would throw an impressive 5.0 innings for the Braves, holding the Expos to only two runs. However the veteran Edmonton team would hang in and with the help of some seeing eye singles, hit batters and bloop hits they would eventually get to the Braves pitcher Dustin Huebert who came in for the top of the sixth inning. The Braves narrowly escaped the inning with a 3-3 tie, when a race to first base resulted in a very close safe call. Instead of the auto out coming up next to be the third and final out, the Expos would continue the inning with only two out. The rest is history as the Expos completed the impressive comeback.

 

Sherwood Park Athletics – 5

Holden Blue Jays – 5 

Tonight’s 5-5 draw in Vegreville between the Holden Blue Jays and Sherwood Park Athetics was the first tie in the PBL since the Rosalind Athletics and Bardo Athletics tied 9-9 on June 4, 2015. Tonight’s 5-5 tie is the first tie in the PBL since the Rosalind Athletics and Bardo Athletics tied 9-9 on June 4, 2015. Grayson Suprovich got the start for the Jays holding the Athletics to only a pair of unearned runs and striking out 6 in his 4.0 innings of work. Clay Giebelhaus, 2.1 innngs pitched, 2 earned runs, 2 strikeouts was relief for manager Stephen Hrabec and the Jays before Randall Zielger closed out the game with 0.2 innings pitched and 0 earned runs allowed. Offensively the Jays were led by Zak Lang and Hrabec. Lang finished the night 2-3 with a RBI, a double and two runs scored and Hrabec was on base twice and scored twice by going 1-3 with a double and a walk. The Athletics would twice climb back into the game showing great resilience, first down 3-0 after the first inning and again down 5-2 heading into the sixth inning before eventually stealing a point on the road in the darkness shortened game.

WEDNESDAY MAY 15

Armena Royals – PPD

Camrose Axemen – PPD

Wednesday night’s game between the Royals and Axemen was the first victim of the weather in the 2019 season. With the dimaond holding water the teams were forced to cancel the game and will re-schedule the game for a late date in the season. With the amount of water of the field on Wednesday night, there is concern that if the weather doesn’t clear up overnight and turn into sun on Thursday, the Axemen vs Roadrunners game at Harry Andreassen Field may also be in jeopardy.

Harry Andreassen Field after overnight and daytime rain in Camrose on May 14/15 2019.

THURSDAY MAY 16

Camrose Axemen – 9 

Camrose Roadrunners – 11

The first Battle of Camrose game in 2019 goes to the Roadrunners as they hang on to win after a late surge by the Axemen. The Roadrunners offence was supported by a massive home run to right field off the bat of an unknown hitter while the Axemen continued to make some costly errors and mental miscues in their first PBL action of the season.

 

Rosalind Athletics – 10

Sherwood Park Athletics – 3

Griff Lornez made his debut with the Rosalind Athletics on Thursday night and was dominant through four innings of work as he would leave with a 7-0 lead for his first career win with the A’s. The 19-year old has Rosalind fans excited and there is a Vladimir Guerrero Jr like excitement around the potential of the flame throwing lefty and how he could put the A’s over the top this season. Sherwood Park was able to get on the board with a late 328′ solo home run off the bat of Kyle Breisbois before scoring two more runs on an infield single in the top of the seventh. The win moves Rosalind into a 3-0 record with a battle against the defending champions on Tuesday night as the Armena Royals visit the ‘Homer Dome’.

Matt Enright at bat for the Rosalind Athletics against the Sherwood Park Athletics (May 16/19)

 

Sherwood Park Athletics’ Kyle Breisbois watches his solo home run against the Rosalind Athletics (May 16/19)

 

Leduc Milleteers – 3 

Armena Royals – 13

It has been a tough start to the season for the Milleteers, who for the second time in three games were on the losing end of a mercy rule evoked game as the Royals managed to walk them off in the sixth inning. Details about the game were not available.

 

Holden Blue Jays – 2

Tofield Braves – 1

In what may have been the game of the night in the PBL, the Holden Blue Jays won in traditional Blue Jays style with a low scoring, complete game gem from ace Kyle Muzechka. Clay Gielbelhaus was all the offence the Jays needed as a two RBI single in the top of the second inning from the youngster proved to be all Holden needed to come away with a road win. The Braves found themselves in a position to win the game with two runners on base, includign the winning run at second, in the bottom of the seventh but could not send the fans home happy with a win.

 


 

At the end of the first week in the Powerline Baseball League the fans have gotten to see a little of everying from forfeits to close games to blow outs to rainouts and even a tie game. Three teams remain undefeated atop the PBL standings with Rosalind, Armena and Holden yet to be defeated while the Axemen, Sherwood Park Athletics and the Milleteers all have yet to find the win column. Will we see more separation in the standings or will teams begin to clump together with more parity in games? Fans will have to wait and see as the league will resume after the May Long Weekend on Tuesday May 21 with three games.

Posted in Armena Royals, Camrose Axemen, Camrose Roadrunners, Edmonton Expos, Holden Blue Jays, Kris, Leduc Milleteers, PBL, Rosalind Athletics, Sherwood Park Dukes, Tofield Braves

Around The League On Opening Day

Opening Day has come and gone with some great baseball action and some off field drama as the Powerline Baseball League kicked off the 2019 season on Saturday afternoon. Home teams extended the winning streak on the first day of the season to nine games dating back to the 2017 season.

Leduc Milleteers – 0

Tofield Braves – 12

The Braves would need only five innings to pick up their first win of the season, handily defeating the Leduc Milleteers 12-0 infront of the home town fans. Veteran PBLer Ray Lehman got the opening day start for the Braves, throwing three innings before turning the ball over to Corey Epp and newcomer to the Braves, Ryan Mehler to close out the game. The trio would hold the Milleteers to only three (or four) hits on the afternoon and limiting Leduc’s at bats with runners in scoring position and only allowign three walks. Sean Melanson would collect the game winning run in the first inning when he would drive in two runs on a triple into the two man Milleteers outfield (it was reported that the Milleteers started the game with only eight players). Rob Berrecloth and Lehman would cross the plate before Melanson would score on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Dane McCarty in the very next at bat. The Braves would add two more in the second and one in the third before scoring six in the bottom of the fourth inning including a two RBI double to centre field from Josh McDonald. Long time PBLer Rob Gillire made his return to the ball field to make a nice play at first base for an out as well as getting hit by a pitch in his first game back. The Milleteers lineup on Opening Day was very different than the lineup to close out the playoffs last year as Steven Pahl, Del Kruk, Alex McIntosh, Jon Anstey and Kirk Smith were all absent.

The Braves celebrate a 12-0 win over the Leduc Milleteers on Opening Day in Tofield.

Sherwood Park Athletics – 7

Armena Royals – 19

The defending champs won by two field goals on Opening Day against the Sherwood Park Athletics. No information was available about the game.

 

Edmonton Expos – 2

Rosalind Athletics – 5

Young lefty Carter McDonald earned the win for the A’s as they knocked off the Edmonton Expos to extend their winning streak on Opening Day to six games (2015 vs Bardo Athletics 10-2, 2016 vs Bardo Athletics 5-2, 2017 vs Tofield Braves 5-3, 2018 vs Sherwood Park Athletics 11-4). It was reported that Matt Enright had a game changing double that helped pave the way for the A’s to start 2019 with a win.

 

Camrose Axemen – 0

Holden Blue Jays – 7

The most surprising, and disappointing, game of Opening Day occurred between the Holden Blue Jays and Camrose Axemen. Earlier in the day the Axemen informed the Blue Jays they would not be able to field a team for the game due to roster availablity issues. The news shocked the league as the Holden Blue Jays were expecting a large crowd on Opening Day as the two teams were scheduled to play in Vegreville, a location that the Jays are hoping to build a fan base and relocate to for the 2020 season. While forfeits or teams agreeing to reschedule a game due to a lack of players isn’t uncommon, it is always disappointing for the league to have happen.

 


 

Home Teams Recently On Opening Day

2019: 4-0

2018: 4-0

2017: 1-0

2016: 2-2

2015: 2-2

2014: 2-1

2013: 2-1

2012: 0-1

2011: 1-1

2010: 1-2

 


 

For all you betting fans out there, since 2001, a span of 19 seasons, the only PBL Champion to play on Opening Day and not win their game was the 2011 Leduc Milleteers. Perhaps the 2007 Camrose Roadrunners are also in that group as the game schedule is no longer available online. Here is a look at the PBL Champions, and who they played on Opening Day in the season that they won the Championship.

2001: Ryley Brewers (beat Armena Royals 5-1 on Opening Day)

2002: Armena Royals (Opening Day was PPD, but beat Ryley Rebels 18-6 in their first game)

2003: Armena Axemen (beat Chipman Crackerjacks 2-0 on Opening Day)

2004: Armena Axemen (beat Camrose Roadrunners 8-6 on Opening Day)

2005: Camrose Colts (beat Ardrossan Steelers 7-4 on Opening Day)

2006: Bardo Athletics (Opening Day was PPD, lost to the Ryley Brewers 6-1 in their first game)

2007: Camrose Roadrunners (Schedule Unavailable)

2008: Bardo Athletics (beat Tofield Lakers 18-11 on Opening Day)

2009: Leduc Milleteers (beat Ryley Rebels 2-0 on Opening Day)

2010: Leduc Milleteers (beat Armena Royals 6-0 on Opening Day)

2011: Leduc Milleteers (lost to the Holden Blue Jays 5-4 on Opening Day)

2012: Leduc Milleteers (beat Holden Blue Jays 9-0 on Opening Day)

2013: Leduc Milleteers (beat Holden Blue Jays 5-2 on Opening Day)

2014: Ryley Rebels (beat Bardo Athletics 13-7 on Opening Day)

2015: Armena Royals (beat Leduc Milleteers 10-1 on Opening Day)

2016: Rosalind Athletics (beat Bardo Athletics 5-2 on Opening Day)

2017: Rosalind Athletics (beat Tofield Braves 5-3 on Opening Day)

2018: Armena Royals (beat Leduc Milleteers 9-2 on Opening Day)

2019: Armena Royals? Holden Blue Jays? Rosalind Athletics? Tofield Braves?

Posted in Armena Royals, Bardo Athletics, Camrose Axemen, Edmonton Expos, Holden Blue Jays, Kris, Leduc Milleteers, PBL, Rosalind Athletics, Sherwood Park Dukes, Tofield Lakers

Not So Bold 2019 Predictions

After a snowy spring training and what felt like a late spring, teams are ready to hit the field for another Powerline Baseball League season. In keeping with the time honoured tradition of predicting the outcome of the upcoming season on the league website, here is a shot in the dark regarding how 2019 could shake down (not confident enough to predict senior baseball to say ‘will’ shake down).  

It is almost impossible to formulate a ranking based on a team heading into the season because there is not a lot of information about how a team’s off season went and it is a senior baseball league after all. It only takes one player’s shift to change at work or one wedding during the summer to alter a teams lineup drastically. The Armena Royals went from 3-11 to 11-3 in the span of a season, there is nothing saying it can’t happen again to another team for better…or worse. 

Armena Royals (12-4)

The Royals went from bad to the best between 2017 and 2018. Missing the playoffs with only three wins in 2017 to running the table and winning eleven games in 2018 for their first PBL Championship since 2015. They are the best team in the league with solid pitching, good defence and an offence that can score runs a few different ways. It took until June 14 last season for the Royals to lose their first game and if their roster is similar, double digit wins should be expected. Zenan Sherbaniuk at the top of the order is a menace for opposing pitchers at the plate and on the bases with his speed and having Doug Morris and Luke Ryan hitting in the middle of the lineup is tough on pitchers. Throw in Sheldon Petryshen who isn’t afraid to make contact and a bottom third of the lineup that includes guys who can run and get on base and you have a strong one through nine capable of scoring the most runs in the league again. The pitching staff might lack the flash and dominance that other pitchers in the league possess but the trio of Ian Sherbaniuk, Lyndon Galvin and Doug Morris proved in both the regular season and the playoffs that they can handle the leagues best lineups just fine.

Leduc Milleteers (11-5)

The return to glory for the Milleteers fell a game short last season. The additions of All-Star catcher/second baseman Alex McIntosh and third baseman Del Kruk hitting in the middle of the order gave the Milleteers offence a boost to help it’s always great pitching and defence. Leadoff hitter Mykel Ruptash went through phases of the season where opposing teams couldn’t keep him off the bases giving them a top lead off man in the league. The Milleteers hold the deepest pitching staff in the PBL with Kirk Smith, Jon Anstey, Chad Soucey and Steve Pahl all more than capable of pitching well and shutting down opponents. Now the second longest tenured PBL franchise (2008) behind the Royals (1999), the Milleteers will be a big threat to dethroning the Royals and taking the pennant, especially if they can avoid a 2-4 start to the season like they had last season. Leduc appears to be rejuvenated and are again at the top of the league. While they might no longer be able to dominate the league like they did from 2009 – 2013 when they won five consecutive PBL Championships, they are back to being a championship calibre team. 

Edmonton Expos (10-6)

2018 was a tale of two Expos teams. In the first half of the season the expansion team was a strong 5-2 and in a constant dog fight with the Armena Royals atop the standings. They would finish the season by going 3-4, with two wins being absolute slugfests, beating the Armena Royals in Edmonton 14-11 and the Tofield Braves, also in Edmonton, 16-14. The league seemed to catch up to the trio of Expos on the mound in All-Star Gary LeBlanc, Anthony Qaqish and Daniel Zuk, who all despite still pitching well started to become the victim of some fielding misfortunes behind them. The offence though can put up runs with the best and it often started with catcher Vaughn Rempel atop the order, who much like Jason Kendall would be a table setting catcher for his team. As seen in the Armena and Tofield wins, the rest of the lineup can put up runs, built around the middle of the order guys like Bret Barron, Daniel Zuk and Gary LeBlanc. Heading into their sophomore season the Expos should be expected to improve or at the very least play consistently start to finish which would put them in a pennant hunt.  If I had to pick one team to swoop in and steal a PBL Championship, it would be the Edmonton Expos. 

Holden Blue Jays (10-6)

Having a perennial PBL Cy Young contender in Kyle Muzechka makes the Jays almost a shoe-in for a PBL Playoff spot every year. If the lefty stays healthy and gets six or seven starts this season and Grayson Suprovich, Randall Ziegler and Stephen Hrabec continue to provide quality innings behind him and it will be tough to not have the Jays in that nine to ten win range. Last season Ryan Walker made an appearance with the Jays and is another quality arm if he is back with the team in 2019. The Jays issue has always been consistent offence. Zak Lang is a bonafide middle of the order hitter in the PBL and often puts the Jays on his back with Grayson Suprovich hitting infront of him. Early in the season Craig Weder was constantly in the scoring summaries with RBIs and pitcher Kyle Muzechka has never seen a right side of the field that he doesn’t like to hit to. The rest of the Jays can get streaky at times, when they are on, lead off hitter Colten Ziegler can cause issues for teams and provide RBI opportunities for the middle of the order and the other Zieglers, Allan and Randall, at the bottom of the order have the ability to turn a lineup over. When they are off however, the Jays need that strong pitching staff to anchor a few one run wins and close games. 

Rosalind Athletics (9-7)

Dropping the A’s down the list and into an underdog role is tough, but it is another season where the A’s are a little older and like many teams have a little more commitments to contend with away from the diamond. If the A’s finish any higher than fifth, no one will be surprised as the team is renowned for throwing strikes, putting the ball in play and not making too many costly errors in the field during a season. That formula has led to wins for the A’s since they joined the PBL in 2015. The start of the season is also difficult for some of the A’s due to seeding and if they get off to a bad start, they might find it harder to climb back into the top of the standings this season especially if some of the regulars have their availability decrease. It is going to be a tightly packed playoff race again this season, and it feels like the margin of error is the smallest for the A’s, but don’t completely count them out. The A’s have been in the playoffs every season they have been in the league and they have made it to the Championship series three times, winning twice. 

Camrose Roadrunners (7-9)

The Camrose Zimmers…I mean Roadrunners should be expected to improve upon their 4-10 record last season. The biggest off season acquisition in the league is perhaps the Roadrunners signing Cal Zimmer from the Camrose Axemen. Cal, who has been an on base machine with the Axemen since 2008, was a PBL All-Star in 2018 and will join Reg Zimmer, Lance Zimmer, Trey Zimmer and Spencer Zimmer on the black and purple in 2019. A handful of Zimmers on the hill for the Roadrunners will mean less free passes and more tough at bats for opposing hitters. The key will be for the Roadrunners to stay out of the way of their own success on the bases and in the field, something that another Zimmer can only help with. A step in the right direction for the Roadrunners in 2019 could see them become a tougher team to play against and maybe look to get to a .500 record with a win or two against a playoff team. 

Camrose Axemen (6-10)

The Axemen will be by far the youngest team in the PBL for 2019 with catcher Kris Johnson likely being the last remaining veteran over the age of 23-ish. The team however could still be a tough team to play against this season as towards the end of 2018, the Axemen started to figure some things out beating the Armena Royals and losing close games to the Leduc Milleteers and Holden Blue Jays. The Axemen sunk to a 7-7 record last year and the key culprit being their defence. Too many costly errors led to big innings for opposing teams and despite an offence that scored 112 runs last year, it was often too much of a deficit to overcome. Big additions of Conrad Phillps and Derek Zimmer are expected to give the Axemen a great middle infield. Zach Willms, Brendan Erick, Jacob Kendall, John Robbins, Brady Ryan will joined by newcomers Ty Twitchell, Tanner Foss, Chase Parsons and Grayden Guntrip, all products of the Camrose Minor Ball system. The youth movement will make Matt Andreassen and Zach Bailey elders on the team as junior aged players. The talent is there, second year manager Zach Willms will need to figure out how to utilize that talent and keep it focused if the Axemen are to have success in 2019.

Tofield Braves (4-12)

There is no way else to put it, the Braves losing Craig Koughan and Craig Neufeld is going to hurt. Especially after they limped to a 4-10 record last season, a year removed from being a playoff team in 2017. Craig and Craig were a driving force in the middle of the Braves lineup, which still produced 116 runs in 2018 and without players to replace them, it might be a tough go for the offence this season. Right hander Corey Epp will once again be the workhorse for the Braves on the mound with Dustin Huebert, Sean Melanson and Ray Lehman expected to pitch as well. Veteran hitters like Rob Berrecloth and Dylan Berrecloth will need to produce even more now while youngsters Dustin Huebert and Shaye Yoder are expected to take on full time roles and contribute in big ways right from Opening Day. The Braves will see the return of Josh McDonald to the lineup after missing 2018 as well as seeing Scott Lawson joining brother Mark for 2019. The first year manager duo of Corey Epp and Dylan Berrecloth will need to work some John Gibbons magic as preventing runs in 2018 was an issue that needs to be resolved. They allowed an average of 10.07 runs agains per game last season. 

Sherwood Park Athletics (3-13)

Everyone is waiting for the other A’s to take a step in the right direction. 2019 might be the season where a few wins could happen if the roster stays the same as last season or improves. There were close games, or at least portions of games that were close and often decided by a string of bad at bats or misplays in the field. The A’s finished their expansion season of 2017 off with only two wins before falling to a lone win (a forfeit by the Edmonton Expos) last season. Scouts have the A’s kryptonite listed as their defence. When good pitching performances were happening it was often the defence that would sour the game. The team can hit and at times string together some offence, but like the Tofield Braves, the weak spot is that run prevention allowing 8.86 runs against per game in 2018. Things can only go up for the A’s in 2019 and it feels like the time for them to steal a few games from teams that perhaps start to take them too lightly. 


2019 PBL Champion | Leduc Milleteers

2019 PBL Finalist | Armena Royals

2019 Wild Card Winner | Holden Blue Jays

2019 PBL Championship Series | Leduc over Armena 2-1

2019 PBL Semi-Final Series | Leduc over Edmonton 2-1, Armena over Holden 2-0

2019 PBL Wild Card Game | Holden over Rosalind 5-4

2019 All Star Game | PBL over BRBL 7-5

Can the Milleteers learn from their close but no cigar 2018 PBL Championship series against Armena? I think so. I think we will get another great series between the two teams that will go three games. Last season the Milleteers had the Royals on the ropes in game two after taking game one. Heading into the fifth inning of game two the Milleteers were up 4-3 before the Royals tied the game and eventually won to even the series. It was a big momentum swing in the series as the Milleteers would never lead in game three, falling behind 7-0 at one point. But Leduc was nine outs away from the franchises sixth PBL Championship so by no means was it an easy series win for the Royals. The return matchup could make for a great trilogy of Championship’s between the two, Leduc winning in 2012 and the Royals winning in 2018. 

It feels like the playoff spots will once again be a tight race this upcoming season between five teams with very little room for error. While the Wild Card Game will once again give the league five playoff teams, it will also be a game that teams won’t want to be in. Pitching is such a premium in the PBL and the Wild Card Game worked like it was supposed to in 2018 with Holden and Edmonton using their aces for the right to move into a best of three against the pennant winning Armena Royals. Whoever wins that Wild Card Game will likely only be able to pitch their ace once in a best of three, giving the rested pennant winners a huge advantage and puts more emphasis on the battle for those top three playoff seeds. 

But who knows, it is senior baseball and anything can happen. 

Posted in Armena Royals, Camrose Axemen, Camrose Roadrunners, Edmonton Expos, Holden Blue Jays, Kris, Leduc Milleteers, PBL, Rosalind Athletics, Sherwood Park Dukes, Tofield Braves