Every season is unique, but the Moose Jaw Miller Express seem to have found a familiar theme.
For the third year in a row the Express lost the Western Major Baseball League’s East Final to the Regina Red Sox.
“You build a team hoping to get to the finals and win the league,” said Express head coach Michael Hunt.
“I thought we were an exciting team all year, but we fell short once again.”
The Express’ 21-25 record earned them a playoff spot, but was far from meeting their pre-season expectations. They beat Melville in five games in the opening round of the playoffs before being swept by Regina.
Knocking off the defending champion Red Sox would have been a tall order, but it only got harder after five players left the team in the final weeks of the season. That doesn’t include Daniel Devonshire who left midway through the campaign to sign with the Toronto Blue Jays.
“We’re probably going to change our contract up a little bit,” said Hunt. “When a guy has to go back for school that’s one thing. It just makes it really difficult when some family issues come up and they seem to happen one after another.
“We’re going to change that so the players know that — barring some serious extraneous circumstances — they’re expected to be here for the whole season.”
The Express had some injuries over the course of the season and that combined with the departures led to a pretty thin bench in the playoffs.
“Unexpected things are going to happen. Our injuries weren’t fatigue injuries, they were freak things,” said Hunt who felt the injuries were mostly due to bad luck. He cited Logan Lippert injuring his knee after stepping on first base awkwardly, Spencer Dunlap getting hit in the face by a pitch and Jon Cotter’s leg injury that came after colliding with a teammate in the outfield as examples.