1961 Playoffs     

Just prior to the start of the playoffs Lethbridge Herald columnist Don Maclean wrote:

"They hung the Western Canada Baseball League out to dry last Monday night after it had been all washed up by the lack of support in Edmonton.

Right now the Lethbridge White Sox and the Saskatoon Commodores are going through the motions of holding a best-of-nine playoff to decide the league champion.  That is a foregone conclusion.  Saskatoon is league champion by a country mile.  Lethbridge, with a host of replacements, will make a series of it, we think, but we doubt ... they can stop the Commodores. 

The charges of Spero Leakos and Lyle Olsen were the pick of the league.  They deserve to be called champs and they probably will be.  But the additions made to the Lethbridge team should provide the best brand of baseball that's been seen here in a long time."  (Lethbridge Herald, August 17, 1961)

(August 15)   Lethbridge owner George Wesley announced six additions for the playoff series with Saskatoon -- J.B. Carroll, Bob Milano, Alton Arnold, Dick Dyer and John Rebelo from Medicine Hat, and Tony Taylor from Edmonton.  Curly Williams, the Meridians playing-manager would also suit up with the White Sox. Wesley released five players -- Blaine Sylvester, Pete Kinney, Tom Ingram, Danny Salazar and John Bartholomew.

(August 17)   The fortified Lethbridge White Sox scored a stunning upset in the opening game of the Western Canada Baseball League's best-of-nine final.  Newcomer Len Tucker singled, stole second and scored the game's only run on an infield out in the 15th inning to give the Sox a 1-0 win over the Commodores at Saskatoon.  The Commodores had been runaway winners in the regular season finishing 16 games ahead of the Meridians and 22 games up on the Sox.  Dick Dyer, an addition to the Sox from Medicine Hat, allowed eight hits, fanned six and walked four in going the distance.  Hard luck loser Floyd Thionnet pitched a three-hitter with 10 strikeouts.  John Boccabella of the Commodores had the game's lone extra base hit, a double.  

Dyer (W) and Milano
Thionnet L) and Herrington

(August 18)  John Boccabella's run-scoring single in the bottom of the 12th inning gave Saskatoon a 4-3 win over Lethbridge and knotted the best-of-nine final and 1-1.  Boccabella had given the Commodores the lead in the second inning with a bases-empty homer.  The Sox tied the score in the third and went up 3-1 in the fourth as Jim Lester drove in Norm Harding with a single and scored on a safety by Terry BanderasMidge Fazio tripled home a run and then scored on a infield out  in the sixth inning to again tie the contest.  Bob Peters, who took over for starter Dan Schneider in the 12th, picked up the win.  Alton Arnold, who went the distance, was the loser. 

Arnold (L) and Milano
Schneider, Peters (W) (12) and Herrington

(August 19)  Jim Lester's bases-loaded bunt single in the top of the 9th scored Len Tucker with what proved to be the winning run as Lethbridge took a 2-1 game lead in the WCBL final with a 2-1 victory at Saskatoon.  Tucker led off the 9th with a walk and moved to third on a single by Curly Williams.  With one out, Terry Banderas drew an intentional walk to load the sacks.  Lester, in a pinch-hitting role, laid down a bunt which rolled out of the reach of Saskatoon pitcher Gene Graves.  

The Commodores had taken a 1-0 lead in the second inning on Buddy Hollowell's run-scoring triple.  The Sox tied the score in the fourth when Tucker, who had singled, scored all the way from first on a sharp single by Williams.

Jerry McDonald held the Commodores to three hits in picking up the win.  

McDonald (W) and Milano
Graves (L) and Herrington

(August 21)  After three, one-run decisions in the WCBL final series, Lethbridge took advantage of eight hits and four Saskatoon errors to plate ten runs and score a 10-2 victory before 14-hundred fans at Henderson Stadium.  Willie Walasko allowed just six hits.  Both runs against him were unearned as the Sox committed five errors.  Bob Milano knocked in three runs for the Sox with a double and a single.  

Sutherland (L), Peters (4), Goodrich (8) and Herrington
Walasko (W) and Milano

(August 22)   Jim Lester knocked in the winning run in the bottom of the 10th inning to give Lethbridge a 4-3 win and a 4-1 game lead in the best-of-nine final.  It was the third extra inning game in the series.  Stan Busch, who made several outstanding defensive plays, led the Sox at the plate with a triple, double and single.  Norm Harding, Bob Milano and Lester each had two hits.  John Rebelo, who replaced starter Tommy Taylor in the 10th, was the winning pitcher.

Thionnet, Peters (L) (9) and Herrington
Taylor, Rebelo (W) (10) and Milano

(August 23)  Lethbridge White Sox claimed the Western Canada Baseball League title for the second straight season with a 4-2 win over Saskatoon before 14-hundred fans at Henderson Stadium.  Sox took the best-of-nine series in six games.  Lefty Dave Dowling pitched a brilliant five-hitter, striking out 18.  Dowling fanned the side in the second, third and sixth innings.  Len Tucker led the Sox with a triple, double and single while Jim Lester, the hero of Monday's game, had two hits. 

Schneider (L), Peters (8) and Herrington
Dowling (W) and Garrett