UNITY — The North Saskatchewan River Baseball League is ready to begin with the Wilkie Brewers and Unity Jr. Cardinals facing off in one of the season openers. The May 19 game will be played in Unity.
Brewers player and team manager, Rob Cey, tells the Press-Herald / SASKTODAY.ca their lineup for 2022 includes three former Unity senior Cardinals. Cory Wildeman, Braden Poleris and Damian Lantz will join Wilkie players Rob Cey, Rick Cey, Mike Sittler, Jared Herle, Steven Redlich, Jacob Mamer, Gavin Wourms, Cody Wilgenbusch, David Schell and Derek Keller. The team’s only rookie comes from the Unity Jr. Cardinals. Pitcher Tanner Huber has aged out of the junior program.
“There is a good mix of young talent and veteran leadership on our team as we have four players that are 22 years old and three players who are plus 35-years old,” Cey says.
Mike Sittler will be serving as player/coach for the 2022 season.
The Brewers will play their first home game against the North Battleford Beavers May 24.
“We expect to be competitive with the top teams in the NSRBL. At the same time our league is looking stronger than ever with some of the teams in our larger centers combining to make one team (NB and Lloydminster). This means our league will also be stronger and in recent years,” adds Cey.
Cey says the Brewers strength will be their depth again for this season as they have what he describes as 14 talented ball players who have all played starting roles on winning teams in the past.
“It will be interesting to see who steps up to seize a starting role in critical games. The depth will also afford our team some flexibility depending on the pitching matchup or defensive situation as our bench will be very strong.”
Unity Jr. Cardinals led by Coach Dan Feser
Feser tells the Press-Herald / SASKTODAY.ca, “The incomparable Ric Flair always said if you want to be the man, you have to beat the man. The Wilkie Brewers might be the man. They certainly have the pedigree and on paper, with the addition of Cory and Braden, are probably the best team in the league. So, who better to open up the season against?
“Our guys are in unprecedented waters. In the past we have hit opening day running. We had been throwing for a couple months, practising for a month. We got a head start on teams like Wilkie who, traditionally in the days of Nick Pernitsky and Aaron Sittler, their first game was straight from the tractor and the first time they threw a ball. Those days are over. Everyone is ahead of us,” says Feser
The Jr. Cards are getting a later start with most of the team in university and the remainder working, so Feser says they are starting at zero.
“Having said all that, come opening day we'll be ready to rock. These guys have never feared anyone or any challenge. If teams want to come here and earn a win they'll literally have to earn it. Our chemistry is perfect, our work ethic remains incredible. We may not have the big-name collegiate players wearing the jersey this year but these guys are ball players. They can't wait to hear 'play ball!'"
The Jr. Cardinals lineup for the 2022 season includes: Easton McLean, Ethan Scherr, Garin Scherr, Kenny Feser, Tommy Feser, Andrew Feser, Skyler Mackie, Robert Duhaime, Blaise Weber, Jarrett Gartner and Brayden Schultz. After a brief retirement, Matthew Snell is making a return to baseball on the Cards roster. And, Feser notes that coming soon is Carter Johnson, who is still playing college ball in British Columbia.
You can see the team's rosters, stats and full schedules on the website https://hometeamsonline.com/teams/?u=NSRBL&s=baseball