It was a frenzied few days of baseball action in mid-August.
The Western Canadian Baseball League (WCBL) championship series between the Okotoks Dawgs and the Moose Jaw Miller Express did not disappoint.
With the Harry Hallis Memorial Trophy and a year of WCBL bragging rights on the line, the final matchup offered up wall-crashing action, diving catches, home runs and stolen bases to nearly 12,000 fans at Seaman Stadium and Ross Wells Park.
From Aug. 16-18, the two teams put everything on the line and pushed the series to its fullest. The three games in three nights in two different Canadian provinces, resulted in over 4,000 kilometres of bus travel for both clubs.
Dawgs prevailed with a 2-1 series triumph and outscored the Miller Express 19-5 in the three contests. But after dropping the first game by a 12-3 score, Moose Jaw tightened up and brought their best effort for the final two matchups.
Alberta Dugout Stories was on the scene for Games 1 & 3 at Seaman Stadium in Okotoks and captured these images. Enjoy!
The scoreboard at Seaman Stadium waits to have some numbers added to it before Game 1 of the best-of-three series … photo by Ian Wilson
Middle infielder Ricardo Sanchez – who batted .345 with 10 runs and seven runs batted in for the Dawgs during seven playoff games – stretches before the championship series gets going … photo by Ian Wilson
Luke LaChance, a middle infielder with Moose Jaw who hit .357 in the postseason, has a pre-game smile with his teammates … photo by Ian Wilson
The Dawgs are all smiles while they play pepper ahead of Game 1 … photo by Ian Wilson
First baseman Cam Grant (left) and a Miller Express teammate pose in the visitor dugout … photo by Ian Wilson
The umpiring crew takes the field at Seaman Stadium for Game 1 … photo by Ian Wilson
Moose Jaw head coach Eric Marriott shakes hands with umpires and meets at home plate, along with Dawgs skipper Mitch Schmidt, to submit his lineup card for Game 1 … photo by Ian Wilson
The Miller Express huddle up for a pre-game chat with head coach Eric Marriott (middle) … photo by Ian Wilson
Designated hitter Dawson Tweet, who hit .353 in five WCBL postseason contests, chats with teammates who are warming up in front of the Miller Express dugout … photo by Ian Wilson
Dawgs players lean over the dugout railing while fans look on at Seaman Stadium … photo by Ian Wilson
Moose Jaw starting pitcher Ethan Merk (left) delivers a first-inning pitch in Game 1 while Dawgs base runner Brendan Luther and Miller Express first baseman Cam Grant (right) watch the batter … photo by Ian Wilson
Dawgs players greet Micah McDowell (20) at home plate after the outfielder launched the first home run of the series … photo by Ian Wilson
Starting pitcher Ryan McFarland throws a pitch as fans look on from the berm. McFarland picked up the win for Okotoks, going 7.2 innings and yielding two hits and no runs during the five-K outing … photo by Ian Wilson
Spectators watch the action from beyond the left-field wall at Seaman Stadium … photo by Ian Wilson
Dawgs players gather at first base before taking the field … photo by Ian Wilson
Nate Mensik lies on the ground but displays the ball in his glove after crashing into the right-field wall and making the catch. Centre fielder Michael Speck, meanwhile, celebrates the final out of the fourth inning … photo by Ian Wilson
Third baseman Alex Stufft contemplates an at bat as he heads back to the dugout … photo by Ian Wilson
Players in the Dawgs bullpen area react to Game 1 action … photo by Ian Wilson
Postseason MVP Brendan Luther (holding helmet) is swarmed by teammates after hitting a fifth-inning home run in Game 1. The solo blast helped the Dawgs claim a 12-3 victory in the series opening game against Moose Jaw … photo by Ian Wilson
The Miller Express returned to Seaman Stadium for a winner-take-all Game 3 after winning the second matchup in Moose Jaw by a 3-1 score. Outfielder Michael Speck (centre) was all smiles while head coach Eric Marriott (left) surveyed his troops and Nate Mensik stretched ahead of the game … photo by Ian Wilson
Catcher Bryan Reyes inspects his bat in the dugout … photo by Ian Wilson
Pitcher Cameron Dunn (left) went 5.1 innings in Game 2 of the series and allowed one earned run while striking out five batters. The solid start allowed the Miller Express to even the best-of-three final. He was tagged with the loss in Game 3 after surrendering two runs in the fourth inning, but before the game he helped assistant coach Michael Gonzalez (right) ready the infielders with ground balls … photo by Ian Wilson
Miller Express head coach Eric Marriott watches his players before Game 3 … photo by Ian Wilson
Micah McDowell (right) shares a smile with assistant coach Andy Peterson (left) at third base in Game 3 … photo by Ian Wilson
Righthander Brady Baltus (middle left) got the Game 3 start for the Dawgs. He went six innings, registered nine strikeouts and gave up one earned run in picking up the victory … photo by Ian Wilson
Alejandro Cazorla watches the ball after making contact. He went 1-for-3 with a run in the game … photo by Joe McFarland
A hunched over Micah McDowell catches his breath after laying out to make a spectacular diving catch in the third inning … photo by Joe McFarland
Infielder Luke LaChance (left) applies the tag too late to Jacob Morrow (right), who stole second base before scoring in the fourth inning … photo by Ian Wilson
Ricardo Sanchez (right) contemplates what pitch might be coming next as catcher Bryan Reyes (left) returns the ball to the pitcher and the umpire signals a strike on the last pitch … photo by Ian Wilson
The Miller Express look out into the diamond in the late stages of Game 3 … photo by Ian Wilson
Matt “Tugboat” Wilkinson was called upon to protect the lead for the Dawgs. He was unhittable through the final two innings as he racked up four strikeouts and picked up the save. Many of the 5,540 fans in attendance chanted his nickname in the ninth inning … photo by Joe McFarland
Players in the Dawgs dugout could sense victory after Wilkinson entered the game … photo by Joe McFarland
Players from both teams shake hands after the Dawgs won 4-1 in Game 3 to lock down the championship win … photo by Joe McFarland
Brendan Luther (left) shakes hands with WCBL president Kevin Kvame (right) after he was named the postseason MVP. Luther hit .448 and scored 11 runs in the playoffs … photo by Joe McFarland
Dawgs players hoist the Harry Hallis Memorial Trophy in celebration. This was their sixth WCBL championship … photo by Joe McFarland
The Okotoks Dawgs gather for a team photo with the Harry Hallis Memorial Trophy … photo by Joe McFarland