WESTLOCK - It’s proving to be a very successful “mini-season” for the Westlock Red Lions, who are on a four-game winning streak.
Already up 2-0, the Red Lions picked up another 7-5 victory on the road July 29 against the Fort Saskatchewan Reds before returning to Keller Field in Westlock the following night to host the Parkland Twins for a 6-2 win.
Chris Brand, who heads up the team with Jordan Brand, said the Red Lions has been playing pretty well this year, adding that they actually have a pretty strong roster.
While there are a couple of young teams in the North Central Alberta Baseball League (NCABL) this year that are still developing, all of their games (save perhaps the first, which was a 6-0 shutout) have been pretty competitive, he said.
This is an unusual season due to the fact the NCABL had to delay the start of the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The first official game of the year was on July 15.
Despite the late start, Chris said he had no problem at all getting the team together, as many players were eager to get back on the field.
That’s at least partly due to the fact that many of these guys have been playing together for a decade or more, so it’s “kind of a brotherhood,” he said.
This mini-season will see two pools of three teams compete against each other over an eight-game schedule in order to advance to the post-season and play for the NCABL championship. (Incidentally, player statistics are not being kept due to the shortness of the season).
Chris noted it was still a lot of work for the NCABL to pull together this schedule.
However, now that things are rolling, “I think we have a good chance of making the playoffs,” Chris said.
If that does happen, the playoffs will consist of two best-of-three cross-over series featuring the top two teams from each pool. It’s very possible that baseball could be played well into September.
Next up for the Red Lions is an away game versus the Fort Saskatchewan Reds on Thursday, Aug. 6.
The Red Lions then play a home game on Thursday, Aug. 20 and Wednesday, Aug. 26. They also have one more away game against Parkland on Monday, Aug. 24.