2013 Milleteers Preview
Posted March 30, 2013
team that took home a record 4th straight PBL Championship. There will be a few
new faces however that will be counted on to contribute as veteran lefty and 4th
outfielder Kelly Landaker retired and utility infielder Andrew Toner hasn’t been
seen or heard from since punching out a few Blue Jays at the Ryley Social. The
biggest loss to the roster however will be full time contributions from the
Doyle brothers as both of them will have to go under the knife at some point
this season as Kevin has a bad shoulder and Murray blew out his knee, which will
leave two gaping holes in both the lineup and pitching staff.
Despite the likely loss of both Doyles for most of the season the pitching
staff is still the class of the league. In his first year in the starting
rotation Jon Anstey proved he could handle the big work load and would have to
be considered the most dominant pitcher in the league as he went 5-2 with a 1.76
ERA and piled up the strikeouts. Number two starter Steven Pahl struggled early
on with some mechanical issues, but righted the ship in time for the playoffs as
he didn’t allow an earned run in his two complete game victories. Number three
starter Ryan Walker got off to a great start early, pitching a perfect game
against Holden, but then hit the DL with elbow issues and wasn’t himself when he
returned. Ryan’s brother Mark more than picked up the slack when his brother
went down on the DL as he ended up 3-1 with a 4.34 and had a few bullpen saving
outings. The hard throwing youngster will need to cut down on the walks if he
wants to take the next step and become a top of the rotation hurler.
In the bullpen the Milleteers still have junk baller Shawn Brinkworth as
the long man and hard throwing Brad Engel, who closed out some games last year.
The Milleteers also have added rookie Tara Sliwkanich, who I`m guessing is the
first national team player the PBL has ever had as she picked up a silver medal
pitching in the 2012 World Championships.
The Milleteers will be bringing back the tandem of Shane Gerein and Brad
Engel who have back stopped them to the last four championships. The duo
provide both defense and offense. Shane had an excellent year last year as he
went 10 for 26 throwing out runners last season to go along with a 0.352 batting
average. For depth purposes the Milleteers have aquired the services of local
Gwynne product Dereck Iles, who last played for the Sherwood Park AAA Midgets
Athletics to round out the depth chart.
The Milleteers will be bringing back the same starting infield this year as
well, but with the loss of the Doyles they will have a lot less depth. With the
slick fielding of Trevor Pahl and Jon Anstey on the left side of the diamond and
veterans Shawn Brinkworth and Steven Pahl on the right the infield should be
solid. The team will need to have some players step up and show they can fill
in when Pahl and Anstey take the mound however, and are stll in scouting mode
for some backups.
Another strength for the team as the starting trio of Mark Walker in left,
Greg Zilkie in center, and Kirk Smith in right all track the ball well and have
outstanding throwing arms as the Milleteers outfielders combined for 8 outfield
assists last year, many of the late inning run saving variety. The Milleteers
also picked up undrafted free agent Zach Leach out of the Camrose Minor Ball
system, who inexplicably couldn’t`t get an offer from any of the local teams.
Veteran speedster Adam Pahl also returns to the mix.
As usual the offense was hot and cold for the Milleteers, which was
exacerbated in the second half due to lineup linch pin Kevin Doyle`s shoulder
injury. The team still managed to finish second in the league in offense as
they averaged almost 7.5 runs a game, but they scored at no where near the pace
they did the year before. Also the stolen base numbers declined from previous
years, likely due to the extra pounds most of the Milleteers are sporting these
days. In fact 1B Steve Pahl and his beer gut were leading the team in swipes
most of the year. Hopefully those extra pounds will start to produce some more
extra base hits or the Milleteers will have to rely more and more on their
Posted on March 30, 2013 by Steven Pahl