Five minutes ended up costing the Moose Jaw Miller Express on Tuesday night in Yorkton.
After cruising through seven innings, the Millers got into trouble during the eighth inning and it led to five runs for the Cardinals on their way to a 6-3 win over Moose Jaw at Jubilee Park.
“It's incredibly tough to take,” said head coach Michael Hunt after the loss, which dropped his team's record to 6-4 on the year.
Todd Leavitt had a no-hitter into the sixth inning when gave up a lead-off single to Cameron Duncan on the first pitch of the at-bat. Duncan would eventually come around to score to tie the game at 1-1.
Moose Jaw took the lead back on a fielder's choice RBI by Miles Hunter with Danny Lokesak coming in to score. The wheels came off in the eighth inning however and it cost the Millers a win.
With a 2-1 lead, Leavitt stayed in for the eighth inning, while sitting at 101 pitches. He would allow two runs to score before giving way to Josh Janzen with three more runs coming around to make it 6-2.
Leavitt took the loss, giving up four runs on six hits over 7.1 innings. He had six strikeouts and just one walk for the very strong start. Janzen allowed two runs – one earned – on two hits over 0.2 innings.
“For about 5-10 minutes, we lost some concentration,” said Hunt. “Todd threw incredibly well, I couldn't be any happy with the way he threw. I wouldn't change my mind having him go back out in the eighth.
“Josh came in and threw strikes and competed and we just didn't make some plays behind him.”
The Millers had the bats working in the game, picking up 11 hits, but they left six runners in scoring position, including bases loaded in the sixth and runners on second and third in the ninth with no outs.
“The guy they threw, he did a really good job,” said Hunt. “He was a really effective lefty that kept us off balance and we still found a way to get on base and put pressure on him, so there was a lot of positives there, as well as a couple of unfortunate negatives.”
Derek Cornell, Austin Russell, Miles Hunter and Frank Pluskota all had multi-hit nights, picking up two hits each. Russell and Hunter each drove in a run as well.
Needing a rally in the top of the ninth, the offence came alive and was able to put one run on the board before Cornell and Russell were left standing on second and third.
Moose Jaw will aim to bounce back on Thursday with a big divisional game against the Saskatoon Yellow Jackets at Ross Wells Park.
“We're going to do a little team exercise, a little team gathering thing (Wednesday) and then get right back down to business on Thursday against Saskatoon, who we've seen twice and if we need any motivation, we certainly have a bitter taste in our mouth after today,” said Hunt.