If the Moose Jaw Miller Express' bats were hot before, they started on fire on Wednesday night.
The local squad rolled to a 16-8 win over the Okotoks Dawgs at Ross Wells Park to open a two-game midweek series.
Moose Jaw finished the game with ten extra base hits and scored multiple runs in six innings, while being able to limit Okotoks to no more than two runs in any inning despite giving up four home runs to the Dawgs.
“They hit a lot of home runs, but we weren't letting guys on base before they were hitting those home runs,” said second baseman Derek Cornell. “Offensively, we were getting guys on, moving them over and driving them in.”
Cornell did it the best for Moose Jaw on Wednesday night as he went 4-for-5 with four RBI and three runs scored, while also walking and stealing a base in the sixth inning.
“We just had a normal approach at the plate, we were swing at good pitches,” said Cornell. “He was in the zone and whenever he came in the zone, we were able to put good swings on it.”
The Millers forced Okotoks to dig deep into their pitching staff as the Dawgs used seven pitchers in the game. Starting pitcher Conor Lillis-White – a former Miller – lasted just three innings. He gave up six runs – four unearned – on eight hits with five strikeouts and one walk.
Todd Leavitt picked up the win on the mound for Moose Jaw, throwing five innings and surrendering five runs on seven hits. He finished with four walks to go with three strikeouts.
Brandon Acosta gave up two runs in two innings out of the bullpen, while Josh Janzen allowed a solo home run to Mario Sanchez in the eight before finishing the inning. Connor Keating pitched a perfect ninth to close the game.
The real story was at the plate though for Moose Jaw as they finished with 18 hits and they came throughout the lineup.
The game was blown open in the fourth inning with Moose Jaw already leading 7-3, third baseman Brady Rogers smoked a three-run home run to centerfield and Moose Jaw native Brennan Reidy followed it up on the next pitch with the first home run of his WMBL career. That made it 11-3 for Moose Jaw and they never looked back.
“It felt pretty good,” said Reidy. “They brought in a new pitcher and I was thinking that I'm just going to come out hacking, we were up a bunch of runs and I guess it went out for me.”
Each player in the starting lineup reached base and came around to score. Six of ten batters drew a walk with Moose Jaw walking nine times on the night.
“We're having a good plate approach, we're swinging at really good pitches, we're not swinging at any in the dirt or any bad pitches,” said Reidy. “You've got to give a lot of credit to the middle of lineup, Miles (Hunter), Derek (Cornell), they're doing real well for us, but it's not just the top guys, its one through nine.”
The win improves Moose Jaw's record to 4-2 on the year and kicks off a four-game home stand on the right foot.
“Pretty much everybody had a good game tonight and that's going to boost everybody's confidence, but like coach (Michael) Hunt said we're real high right now and what will show us who we is if we can come back tomorrow and do the same thing. That will be the real test.”
The Millers and Dawgs hit the field at 7:05pm on Thursday night. Moose Jaw will get Friday off and then host the Lethbridge Bulls on Saturday and Sunday at Ross Wells Park.