The Elkhorn Expos hit the diamond this season stocked with familiar faces.
Except for Jason Bowles, who has retired, the senior AA squad will compete in the South West Baseball League with the same team as last summer. Player/organizer Mike Stevenson said they have not added any new players. He said the Expos’ strengths are they are a tightknit group that loves to have fun.
“I think what I’m most looking forward to is getting the community together to watch some great SWBL action,” Stevenson said. “I think everyone across the league is happy to be playing ball this year.”
The Expos open their season – more than a month later than in 2019 due to COVID-19 – by hosting the Reston Rockets on Friday. The team plays in Boissevain on Sunday.
The Elkhorn squad is looking to build on its strong second half of the 2019 season. The Expos went 4-2 in its last six games and finished with a 5-10 record.
Colby Walker is back after pacing the team with a .463 batting average. Shawn Bowles had team bests with 10 runs batted in and, as a pitcher, 32 strikeouts. His twin brother, Brad, led the way on the mound with 2 wins and a 2.90 earned run average. Josh Martin launched three home runs to lead the Expos.
In the spring, it was unclear if the SWBL would play this season. Hard work has taken place to ensure the Expos were able to compete.
“(Player/coach) Tyler Wood has done a lot of behind the scenes in preparation for the upcoming season with the new COVID-19 protocols - the Expos and our fans thank you,” Stevenson said.
The Virden Oilers play four of their first five games this season at home. They start by playing host to Wawanesa on Friday. After visiting Reston on Sunday, the Oilers play host to Rivers on July 10, Hamiota on July 13, and Souris on July 17.