Saskatoon Giants looking to give senior players winning sendoff

The Saskatoon Giants are in their third season under their current coaching staff, and they want to make it a memorable one.

As most players spend three years in the midget division, head coach Jason Lewis is preparing to watch his original batch of rookies play their final season of midget ball.

“It’s gonna be tough at the end of the year watching these guys go, you know. These are the first guys that we ever drafted to this team,” he said.

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    Saying goodbye is never easy but the midget-AAA Giants, who play in the Saskatchewan Premier Baseball League, are hoping to give their senior players a winning sendoff in the form of a provincial championship.

    “We’re gonna be a hard team to beat and I don’t want to say to much but we’re gonna be real good and we’re real excited as coaches,” Lewis said.

    Pitcher/catcher Nathan Kappel was a rookie when an 11-19 Giants team surprised everyone and won the 2015 provincial title. This year, however, the team is considered a strong contender by most observers.

    “We learned a lot our first year about how to play as a team and what it takes to actually win the provincial title so we hope to teach our second- and first-years that and bring it home this year,” he said.”

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    Josh Malainey is one of those first-year players. He saw limited action as a Giants affiliate player over the past two seasons, which has helped ease the transition to midget ball, where he’s hitting .400 and leading the league with 12 RBI early in the campaign.

    “(It’s been a) really good experience. Lot of good pitchers in this league so I got to face them and it really improved my batting,” he said.

    With a strong mix of veterans and rookies it’s easy to see why the Giants like their chances, but actually executing when it counts will be a different matter altogether. But Lewis is careful not to place too much pressure on his team.

    “This year we’ve taken more of a relaxed view to it and the guys aren’t trying to do too much this year like they have in other years and just trying to get the guys station to station, scoring runs,” he said.

    And hopefully putting off those goodbyes for as long as possible.

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