Express happy to welcome locals back into the fold

Matthew Gourlie
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McNabb, Douglas and Spencer return to WMBL team

The Moose Jaw Miller Express banked on a stable of Saskatchewan talent for the past four years.

Terry McNabb pitches for the Moose Jaw Miller Express.

This season the Express are happy to welcome back a pair of local products who will strengthen their roster for the upcoming Western Major Baseball League season.

Monday the Express announced that Terry McNabb, Ben Douglas, Brennan Reidy, Zach Shelstad, Tanner Spencer and Bryce Crosbie will all be on their roster.

"It’s a great opportunity for the locals to showcase themselves for the hometown fans after being away from home all year playing out their college seasons and pursuing academic degrees,” said Miller Express coach Michael Hunt. “We are very lucky to have such a talented group of players that have grown up in the Friendly City and developed their skills while playing here. It’s not only special to have this many locals wear the uniform, but that those players will have pivotal roles which means great things for the city of Moose Jaw.”

McNabb, Douglas and Spencer all return after not being part of the team last season. Spencer was on the roster, but didn't pitch as he returned from Tommy John surgery. 

"I don't know if his velocity is back to where he wants it, but I think it's coming," said Express assistant coach Cory Olafson. "He's throwing without pain and that's main thing coming off of a surgery like that. It's just a matter of time and hopefully he'll be getting into the swing of things when he comes here."

The Craik product is playing with Colby Community College and has a 2-3 record and has 13 strike outs in 28 innings to date. He appeared in seven games with the Express two years ago.

"He got thrust into some pretty tight spots," said Olafson. "He was a young kid, but he got thrust into the fire and he handled himself well. I think the situations he was put into two years ago will pay dividends this summer."

Getting McNabb back will be a huge lift for the Express' pitching staff. Two summers' ago McNabb was 4-2 with a 3.19 earned run average and four complete games. 

"It hurt losing him last year," said Olafson. "He transferred to a new four-year school and they placed him with a (summer) team down there."

McNabb played summer ball in the U.S. last season after he transferred to North Carolina Central University. He will finish his senior season this year before returning to the Express where he could be the staff ace.

"It's huge for us. He's a one-two slot guy for us," said Olafson. "We know what we're getting with Terry McNabb. We know what we lost last year, so we know what we're getting back. He's a bulldog."

McNabb has a 2-4 record in college and leads his team with 44 strike outs.

Douglas has two years of WMBL eligibility left and is in his junior year at McMurry University. He has a .288 batting average and leads the team with 13 doubles. He last played for the Express two seasons ago.

"One of those years he was hurt. He had an injury at school," said Olafson. "It's good to have him back.

"The amount of local talent that is able to play in the league is on the decline — as you can see with this AAA stuff — so any time we can get a player that's capable of playing in our league it's nice to get him back," said Olafson in reference to the recent announcement that the midget AAA Devons wouldn't field a team this summer.

Those local players will help offset the graduation of Jon Cotter, Dustin Caplette and Marshall Dean last season. 

Reidy is in his second season, he hit .263 in 24 games with the Express last season. He is playing with Okanagan College.

Shelstad, a left-handed pitcher from Coronach, appeared 13 times out of the bullpen last season as a rookie. He is playing with Miles Community College.

Crosbie is a freshman at Mayville State. Last season the middle infielder led the Devons with a .314 batting average, seven doubles and 20 RBI.

The Express will open the season on May 30 against Saskatoon.

Organizations: Colby Community College, Okanagan College, Miles Community College Western Major Baseball League North Carolina Central University McMurry University

Geographic location: Friendly, Moose Jaw, U.S. Mayville Saskatoon

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