For the fourth time in five seasons, Virden and Hamiota will meet in the South West Baseball League’s playoffs.
Virden Oilers first baseman Riley Hole said his team looks forward to tangling with the Hamiota Red Sox – whether it be an exhibition game, the regular season, or a playoff contest.
The Oilers finished the regular season last week with a 7-8 record to place fourth in the SWBL North Division.
Hamiota topped the division with a 12-3 record.
“We have developed a great rivalry between the two teams,” Hole said. “We definitely do not like losing to each other, so it can get pretty heated at times.”
In 2017, the Oilers walked off the Red Sox in the final contest of the best-of-three playoff series. Last year, Hamiota beat Virden in two straight games.
“I would expect a pretty good series this year,” Hole said. “Both teams pitch pretty well, and we know Hamiota puts the ball in play, so defence will be a major factor in the series. Plus, we have a Strachan (Tyler) and so do they (Joel), it only adds to the thrill that is Hamiota/Virden playoff baseball.”
In a busy final week of the regular season, in consecutive nights, Virden beat Elkhorn, 6-4, got by Oak River, 3-2, and fell 24-0 to Hamiota.
Virden redeemed themselves in Game One of the playoffs beating Hamiota 12-3 on Friday, July 12. Game Two will be played in Virden on Monday and, if needed, Game Three would be on Tuesday in Hamiota.
Jeff Peel was a big contributor to the Oilers’ regular season. He led the team with a .514 batting average, 55 strikeouts as a pitcher, 10 runs batted in, eight stolen bases, six doubles, four wins, and two home runs.
In the Oilers’ final game of the season against Hamiota, Peel was the starting pitcher but departed early due to an injury. Peel said he is now fine and ready for the playoffs.
During the season, Brady Potter hit .378 with five doubles. Limited by an injury, Curtis Plett had a 1.75 earned run average.
The Expos missed the SWBL playoffs but have a lot to feel good about after a second half surge. Following a 1-8 start, the Elkhorn squad had a four-game winning streak where they pushed 43 runs across the plate. The Expos concluded the season with losses to Oak River, 8-4, and Virden, 6-4, to finish 5-10.
A highlight of Elkhorn’s season was Colby Walker’s performance at the plate. He led the team with a .463 batting average and 18 singles.
Brad Bowles was second with a .389 batting average and had a team-best 2.90 earned run average. His twin brother, Shawn, paced the Expos with 10 runs batted in.