The Fort McMurray Giants are currently playing some of their best baseball of the summer and find themselves in third place in the WCBL Western Division as we hit the mid-way point of the season.
The Giants have a 13-14 record and trail just Okotoks (22-6) and Lethbridge (17-13) as they continue their homestand with a chance to make up more ground. The team has won six of their last eight games including taking three of four against the Brooks Bombers over the Canada Day long weekend.
With things trending in the right direction, the Giants got some more exciting news when four players were named to the upcoming WCBL All-Star Game. Pitcher Will Langford, catcher Richard Ortiz and infielders Max Hewitt and Tanner Hess will represent Fort McMurray on Team West.
The game will be played Sunday July 7th in Edmonton at Remax Field. 24 players were selected from each division for the game.
Langford has been a beast on the mound this season for the Giants. The towering 6’5 pitcher out of Cobourg, Ontario has a 2-1 record through five starts. Langford is a senior at Queen’s University and has worked 28 innings with a sparkling 1.92 ERA while striking out 24.
“Will Langford’s had a very good year for us. The first part of the season he wasn’t getting a lot of run support from us but the last couple times out the team got him some runs and he’s put zeros on the board and he works quickly and throws lots of strikes,” said Giants Manager Ray Brown.
Ortiz has been one of the Giants most consistent players this season. From Ponce, Puerto Rico, Ortiz began the year on a 17 game hit streak and after going hit-less in just one game, has started another eight game hit streak. The Grambling State University senior is batting .316 on the season and is among the league leaders in both home runs with 5 and RBI’s with 26.
“When Richard stays through the ball he can miss hit it a bit and still get it over the outfielders heads,” said Giants Pitching Coach Michael Gahan on the power Ortiz brings to the plate. “He’s got a great approach and he adjusts well and waits for the pitch he wants.”
Hewitt joined the Giants in mid-June after having a very successful junior season at Oklahoma State that saw the Cowboys go all the way to the Super Regionals. In just 12 games, Hewitt has 20 hits and a .400 batting average and has solidified the Giants infield with his exceptional defensive play. The Midhurst, Ontario native has eight extra base hits and nine RBI during his current 12 game hit streak.
“Max Hewitt is a very fine ball player and we’re glad to have him and fortunate to have him,” said Brown on Hewitt. “Having him around this team is a huge plus for us, he brings a lot of leadership, a lot of experience and with him we’re a better team.”
Hess sits second behind Hewitt in batting average on the Giants hitting .353 through 24 games played. The Victoria, BC native leads the Giants with 36 hits, 8 doubles and 18 runs scored this season. A junior at Vancouver Island University, Hess has 12 multi-hit games.
“Tanner (Hess) has been a very big surprise for us, he was coming in as questionable but he’s not questionable any longer, the man can play,” said Brown early on in the season when Hess established himself as an everyday player.
The Giants welcome the Moose Jaw Miller Express to Shell Place Thursday night as they open up a three game series. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. on Thursday and Friday with Saturday’s game a 4:05 p.m. start with Nickelback taking to the stage at SMS Equipment Stadium after the game.