(Marc Smith, DiscoverMooseJaw.com) With the playoffs on the horizon, the Moose Jaw Miller Express took Monday night to honour their top performers from the regular season.
Infielder Lane Harvey came away the big winner from the night as he was named the Millers’ 2017 Most Valuable Player and co-winner of the Gold Glove Award with centre fielder Travis Able.
The MVP award this year was voted on by the players, which Harvey said made it extra special.
“We’re around these guys everyday, we come from not knowing each to getting to know each other real quick for two months, so we’ve become real close and it’s nice for them to vote for me,” said Harvey.
Harvey’s all around game is what separated him from the pack as he was solid at the plate and in the field throughout his second season in the Western Major Baseball League.
Millers head coach Michael Hunt said they let the team decide this year because there was different players stepping up every night throughout the season for the team.
“We really could have taken a lot of different routes with this one,” said Hunt. “There was a lot of key contributors this year, but Lane stood out above them all.
“He’s been a spark plug guy on defence, he’s helped save a lot of wins with his glove and then he’s also been a table setter at the top of the order, or when we’ve had him down at the bottom, he’s a guy that’s been on base and scored a lot of runs for us.”
The Indian Hills Community College sophomore finished second on the team with a .327 batting average. He added eight doubles, 33 runs scored and 17 RBI in 47 games this season.
He also had 22 walks compared to just 18 strikeouts, which helped him lead the team with a .422 on-base percentage, while stealing eight bases.
Becoming a more consistent hitter was Harvey’s focus coming into the season and he feels like he was able to accomplish that as the season went on.
“I kind of started off hitting slow and then got hot and then went into a slump and then lately I’ve been hitting good again,” said Harvey.
In the field, Harvey finished with a .922 field percentage, committing just 12 errors in 387 innings of action.
“Defence has always been the strongest part of my game, which is why I was focusing on hitting more,” he said. “I was able to stay consistent in the field.”
Ben Dalke also took home a pair of awards as the team’s Silver Slugger and Fan’s Choice award winner. Dalke led the team with a .331 batting average, seven home runs, 13 doubles and 44 RBI.
Mitchel Robinson was named the Pitcher of the Year after finishing with a 2.88 earned run average over 50 innings pitched. He was second on the team with 38 strikeouts and only walked 10 batters. He led the team in WHIP at 1.04, while also holding opposing batters to a .221 average.
“He brought consistency, every start we knew that we were either going to be in a position to win with him going,” said Hunt. “Unfortunately, we hung him with a few no-decisions, so the win-loss record isn’t going to look like a pitcher of the year, but the consistency, the ERA, the strikeouts and the control, he was a no-brainer.”
The Millers also awarded the Coaches Award to infielder Scott Platt.
Moose Jaw opens the playoffs on Tuesday night in Swift Current with Game 1 of the best-of-five series against the 57s going at 7:05 p.m. at Mitchell Field.