The Western Canadian Baseball League (WCBL) All-Star Game & Home Run Derby took place at majestic Seaman Stadium in Okotoks on Saturday, July 23rd.
The festivities included a back-and-forth thriller of a game that resulted in a
9-8 walk-off win in extra innings for the West All-Stars, a ball-bashing dinger derby, post-game fireworks and a guest appearance from former Major League Baseball (MLB) hero Matt Stairs.
It was all on display for a record-breaking crowd of more than 6,000 fans.
Alberta Dugout Stories contributor Ian Wilson was in attendance and snapped some pictures during the day. Here’s a look at what he spotted through his camera lens.
West Division All-Stars gather under the scoreboard during batting practice.
Players and coaches listen to Matts Stairs give hitting advice.
The broadcast crew works with WCBL President Kevin Kvame and host Joe McFarland.
Okotoks Dawgs pitcher Graham Brunner examines the gold and silver bat awards for the winners of the WCBL Home Run Derby.
Home Run Derby contestants from left to right: Nate Mensik, Nolan Machibroda, Braden DeSonia, Nate Bach, Kaden Zarowny, Matt Wolff, Jordan Phillips and McCoy Pearce.
Zarowny and Wolff share a laugh during the derby introductions.
Nate Bach of the Regina Red Sox leads off the derby as the crowd and his East All-Star teammates watch.
Rob DeSonia (left) and his son Braden DeSonia (right) are all smiles after the father pitched to his son in the derby. “Growing up me and my dad would always watch the home run derby and we’d say, ‘Oh, someday we’re going to get to do that,’” Braden told CHAT News Today. “So, it was pretty special for him to be able to be here and come pitch to me.”
All-Star players and coaches had the best seat in the house for the Home Run Derby. Eyes are glued to East representative Nolan Machibroda in the opening round.
Edmonton Prospect teammates of Jordan Phillips ensure he’s well hydrated during a break from taking hacks in the long-ball contest.
Nate Mensik of the Miller Express looks to square up a derby pitch from Moose Jaw head coach Eric Marriott.
McCoy Pearce (middle) gets a post-derby hug from Okotoks teammate Ricardo Sanchez as other West All-Stars prepare some high fives for the slugger.
Nolan Machibroda of the Weyburn Beavers smiles during post-derby interviews at Seaman Stadium. The first baseman smashed nine home runs in the first round and another six in the final round to claim the home run championship title over Jordan Phillips of the Prospects.
East All-Star coaches and players stand along the third base line after being introduced to the crowd.
The Canadian anthem takes place ahead of the All-Star Game.
Starting pitcher Wataru Murakami of the Prospects gets set to deliver the first pitch of the All-Star Game.
Regina hurler Preston Tenney, the starting pitcher for the East All-Stars, gets ready to take on the West in the bottom of the first inning.
The view from first base for infielder Nolan Machibroda and base runner Micah McDowell of the Dawgs.
Third inning action from Seaman Stadium.
More than 6,000 spectators crowded around the diamond to watch the 2022 All-Star Game.
Fans cheer on the mascots of the Sylvan Lake Gulls, Edmonton Prospects, Lethbridge Bulls and Okotoks Dawgs as they compete in a race down the third base side. Diggity of the Dawgs won the race!
Two-way player Hunter Cooper, who pitched and took the infield for the East All-Stars, shares a smile with first base umpire Brent Radlinsky.
Fort McMurray outfielder Reiss Calvin gets on base in the bottom of the ninth inning. Calvin scored the tying run to help send the game to extra innings.
Outfielder Drew Mackie (far right), who drove in the tying run in the bottom of the ninth for the West, smiles with Nick Gravel of the Bulls and Ethan He (left) as he returns to the dugout in the middle of the 10th inning. Mackie brought fans and teammates to their feet when he delivered a rocket of a throw from left field to gun down a runner at home plate.
Noah Geekie of the Okotoks Dawgs played first base early in the game before pitching a scoreless 10th frame to pick up the victory for the West.
WCBL All-Star Game Most Valuable Player (MVP) Ethan He – an infielder with the Sylvan Lake Gulls – had the final at bat of the night. He delivered a walk-off hit that secured a 9-8 triumph for the West All-Stars.
West All-Star players spilled out of the dugout to congratulate He on the game-winning hit.
Ethan He is all smiles as he steps forward to accept WCBL All-Star MVP honours after the game.
Post-game fireworks served as a fitting end to a magical night in Okotoks.
A souvenir from the WCBL summer classic!