Rule changes will allow the Moose Jaw Miller Express to field more Americans this Western Major Baseball League season, but the Express have made sure they have a strong core of Canadians in the fold.
The Express announced Monday that they have signed six Canadians to join the three local players they signed last week. Of that group five are returnees from last year’s roster.
The Express will welcome back Austin Russell, who was their starting left fielder last season, along with utility infielders Scott Jones and Tyler Hayes. Saskatchewan products Terry McNabb and Marshall Dean will return to the starting rotation. Relief pitcher Conor Lillis-White is the new face. He hails from Toronto and played for the Univ. of British Columbia this year.
McNabb is a right-handed pitcher from Davidson, but played his midget baseball in Moose Jaw. Dean is a 6-4 right-hander from Saskatoon.
“Not only are we proud of our local baseball players, but we feel it’s important to showcase some of the top players from our province and throughout Canada,” said Express general manager Cory Olafson. “Terry and Marshall are two of the top pitchers our province has to offer and they’ve been key contributors to our organization.”
McNabb led the Express in innings’ pitched last season and posted a 3-4 record. He had a team-high 43 strike outs to go with only nine walks.
Dean was 3-0 with a 0.99 ERA last season while striking out 23 batters and only walking three.
“They’re going to be our No. 2 and 3 starters. At least that’s where we project them,” said Express head coach Michael Hunt. “We know what we’re going to get out of both of those guys. They’ve been up here for a couple of years now so it’s just a matter of getting them going.”
McNabb is in his final season at Western Nebraska Community College.
Dean is playing at the University of Central Missouri along with Moose Jaw’s Jon Cotter. Central Missouri is hosting their NCAA Div. II South Central regional tournament starting Thursday.
Lillis-White is a six-foot-two left-handed pitcher who is expected to be part of a southpaw tandem that will come out of the bullpen to close out games.
The trio of Jones, Hayes and Russell provide a lot of versatility for Hunt. The three are all in their second year with the Express and attend Colby Community College in Kansas.