(Marc Smith, DiscoverMooseJaw.com) With the Moose Jaw Miller Express’ first round exit from the Western Major Baseball League playoffs last Friday, that marked the end for four graduating players.
Grant Westmoreland, Bo Sheridan, Cutter McDowell and Galen Andrews played their final game as members of the Miller Express, and possibly last ever, in Moose Jaw’s 6-1 loss to the Swift Current 57s last Friday at Ross Wells Park.
“It still hasn’t hit yet,” said Sheridan, who played two seasons in Moose Jaw.
The pitcher picked up the final out for the Millers in the ninth, getting the chance to go out on a better note than the night before when he exited after three tough innings in an 8-4 Game 3 loss.
Head Coach Michael Hunt said he wanted to give Sheridan one last chance on the mound.
“He wasn’t expecting it and when we told him, his eyes got pretty big and it was against the guy that got two home runs off him (in Game 3), so he got that out and he was pretty satisfied with it,” said Hunt.
Sheridan came to the Millers from the University of Houston-Victoria and put together a strong final season, posting a 2-4 record with a 5.11 earned run average and 34 strikeouts in 51 innings.
While his playoff appearance didn’t go as planned, Sheridan said he was happy with his final season.
“My last start I was kind of upset about, but that’s just the way that baseball goes,” he said. “I had some good starts this year.
“I really enjoyed my time in Moose Jaw, I really liked the coaching staff up here and the families that let us come in, it was just a good time all around, fun to play and I was glad I got to come up here for one last summer.”
Sheridan added that he doesn’t have any future plans for baseball.
Westmoreland was a teammate of Sheridan at school this past season and played three seasons in a Miller Express uniform.
He said he liked coming up to Canada for three summers in a row.
“My first year I didn’t have many friends, but the last couple of years I really meshed, people in the town are really nice and my host family has been more than a family to me,” said Westmoreland.
The Pearland, Texas product had the chance to be a duel player for the Millers this past season, seeing time as a pitcher and in the field throughout the season.
He finished with a 4-1 record on the mound in 13 appearances, posting a 2.63 ERA and 40 strikeouts in 41 innings. At the plate, Westmoreland had a .209 batting average with two doubles in 15 games.
He really came alive on the mound and at the plate in the playoffs, hitting for a team-high .417 average with a home run and two RBI. He picked up a no decision in his Game 1 start, holding Swift Current to one earned run with six strikeouts.
Westmoreland said that made for a fun final summer of baseball.
“I got to see the field more than most pitchers and hitters, so it was definitely a pleasure playing this summer,” he said.
“I was looking forward to pitching Game 5 (Saturday), but unfortunately we didn’t make it. I ended on a good note, pitched the first game and ended my career on a hit, so nothing more I could ask for.”
McDowell joined the Millers in July after working his way back from a torn hamstring that ended his final season of college ball early.
“It was good to get here and play with the guys and play competitive baseball again, so it meant a lot to me,” he said.
McDowell was a key part of the Millers’ offence throughout July, finishing with a .262 average, three home runs, five doubles and nine RBI. He hit .235 with a double and an RBI in four playoff games.
During the post-season with some infielders leaving to head back to school, McDowell stepped up and played shortstop for the Millers, which is a position that he hadn’t played since before high school.
“I took a lot of ground balls during pre-game and I was jumping in the fire, it was either sink or swim and I just tried to handle my business as best as I can,” said McDowell.
Hunt said that was huge for him to step in like that.
“He definitely played his rear end off at short and made some big time plays that helped save a lot of innings and helped get us that win in Game 2,” said Hunt.
McDowell said he’s hoping to catch on at the professional level and Hunt added that he will do whatever he can to help in that area.
“He’s a pro prospect and I’ll send as many text messages and emails as I can to find him a place,” he said.
Andrews came to Moose Jaw this summer for the first time after wrapping up his collegiate career at Lamar University.
He said he really enjoyed his only season here in the Friendly City.
“I’d never been to Canada before and it was just like being back home,” he said. “Just showing up at the ball park every day, doing what we do and having fun, it was a good time.”
Andrews served as a reliever for the most part and made three starts on the mound as well for the Millers. He posted a 1-2 record with one save in 13 appearances.
The Houston, Texas product had a 4.18 ERA and 28 strikeouts in 23 2/3 innings during the regular season.
“It’s been a fun summer and I’m glad I was able to come up here and finish my career up here and go out on a high note, it’s been really fun,” he said.
Andrews added that he had some offers to play independent ball, but had decided what the future holds just yet.