WCBL Opening Weekend: Photo Gallery

It was a soul-recharging weekend in Alberta.

The Western Canadian Baseball League (WCBL) returned to action for the first time since August of 2019.

The comeback was significant for many reasons, some baseball related and some not.

It meant the launch of the Sylvan Lake Gulls, an expansion franchise that has made its nest at the newly-built Gulls Stadium.

The Okotoks Dawgs are fielding two teams – Dawgs Red and Dawgs Black – as they look to defend their championship title. They’re also excited to show off Core 4 (+14) Corner, an exquisite patio and seating area serviced by the Grog & Grub concession stand out by the left-field foul pole.

The Edmonton Prospects are embarking on their longest road trip in team history, taking WCBL baseball to Spruce Grove and Sherwood Park along the way. And the Lethbridge Bulls are jacked up to see Spitz Stadium return to full capacity later this summer.

In the bigger picture, the welcoming of fans to the ball diamond offers some hope that life is indeed getting back to normal after the lengthy pause of public events that was brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Alberta Dugout Stories was in Sylvan Lake for the Gulls first WCBL game, and in Okotoks for the Dawgs 2021 home opener at Seaman Stadium.

Here’s a look at some of what photographer Ian Wilson was able to capture from both events:


Gulls players warm up under sunny skies in Sylvan Lake before the start of their inaugural season.
Players, coaches and dignitaries participate in the opening ceremonies at Gulls Stadium.
Umpires greet Gulls head coach Jason Chatwood and his little helpers as they prepare to submit the team lineup sheet.
Clouds threatened at times during the game, but the weather allowed the Prospects and Gulls to play ball.
A Sylvan Lake player takes a hack as fans look on. Gulls signage and logos adorn the walls behind home plate.
Stephen Horner of the Prospects has a laugh in the visiting dugout.
Edmonton hitter Dion Wintjes awaits the pitch, as does Gulls catcher Wyatt Schnorr.
Chas Wheatley delivers a pitch to home plate for the Gulls.
While a pitcher warms up in the bullpen, construction vehicles in the background give a glimpse into the work that went into – and continues to go into – getting Gulls Stadium up and running.
Calgarian Trent Lawson points to the dugout after hitting one of his three doubles. Lawson produced three RBI and scored three times in Edmonton’s 16-8 win over the Gulls. He was also named the Prospects player of the game.
Gulls of a feather flock together. Sylvan Lake huddles up after falling behind early to the Prospects.
Cleary Simpson (21) touches home plate and becomes the first Gulls player to hit a home run in club history.
McCoy Pearce does his best Predator imitation at second base after ripping a double.
Tyler McWillie (right) takes a deep breath as Edmonton piles up some runs against the Gulls.
Wyatt Anderson keeps his eye on the ball after tossing a pitch in the bullpen.


Tucker Zdunich (7) is introduced to the fans in Okotoks, along with the Dawgs Red coaches and other members of the starting lineup.
The umpiring crew, along with those in attendance, pause for a moment of silence for Mitch Ball, who passed away earlier this year. Ball, a beloved WCBL umpire, died of COVID-19 related complications. He was recognized before each WCBL home opener over the weekend.
Dawgs Red starting pitcher Graham Brunner logged five innings, struck out six batters and picked up the win for Okotoks.
The view from the patio of the Core 4 (+14) section of Seaman Stadium.
Peter Hutzal cannot stop smiling while playing shortstop for Dawgs Red.
Lethbridge third baseman Liam Vulcano makes an acrobatic toss to first base in between innings.
Pitcher Ethan Smith (26) warms up below the Grog & Grub concession stand at Core 4 (+14) Corner.
Carlin Dick, No. 30 for the Bulls, hustles down the first base line after a dropped third strike. Dawgs backstop Caleb Lumbard (left) was able to throw him out.
Brandon Hupe (middle) celebrates with teammates on his way to the dugout after hitting a grand slam in the sixth inning. It was part of a seven-run inning for Dawgs Red.
Tucker Zdunich (left) plays catch with Ryder Hancock (right) between innings.
Hunched over Lethbridge hitter Brad Goodwin recovers after being struck by a foul tip. Goodwin was alright and finished the at bat.
You got it? Lethbridge infielders chase down a fly ball.
Noah Or (middle) touches home plate after hitting a two-run shot for the Bulls in the ninth inning that cut the Okotoks lead to 9-6, which ended up being the final score.
Torrin Vaselenak (7) steals second base in the ninth inning.
The welcome signs were all around the ballpark for the Dawgs home opener, even on the scoreboard.

Thank you for looking through some of our pictures from the WCBL’s opening weekend of the 2021 season. For more images, check out the Western Canadian Baseball League’s own photo gallery commemorating the occasion.


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