While the start of the Western Canadian Baseball League season is still three months away, the work to put together the rosters for the teams is already in full swing. This includes the work of Weyburn Beavers head coach Corey Harrell.
“The recruiting process hasn’t been too bad,” Harrell said when reached by phone in Aberdeen, South Dakota when Harrell is an assistant coach with the Presentation College baseball team. “It definitely helps having guys coming back like Ryan Gaab and Nolan Machibroda that know guys at other places, and communicate with other guys they play against.”
As Harrell wasn’t with the team last season, he doesn’t necessarily have a personal relationship with some of the players from last year’s team. That said, his assistant coaches, Seth Pigg and Drake Pilat were members of the team last year.
“With Drake being there last year, I kind of put it on him,” Harrel said. “Like, hey man, get a hold of any guys from last year’s team that you feel will help us out, see what they’re up to and see if they want to come back.”
For Harrell, taking on the head coach position after Phil Curtis stepped away last season has been like the start of a homecoming as sorts. Harrell played three seasons with the Weyburn Beavers, and at the end of his senior season in 2018, he held the team record for home runs in a season, and home runs in a career (the season home run record was eclipsed by Jack Barrie last season).
“I can’t wait to get up there,” Harrell exclaimed. “There’s nothing quite like what the WCBL offers - it’s the closest thing to pro ball you can get without being signed to play professional baseball.”
The move to become the head coach was a mutual one between the team and Harrell. Citing an emotional connection with Weyburn, when the chance came, he had to take it.
“I always want to be part of the culture up there, the culture that Phil created.”