Millers Knockoff Saskatoon in Extras 6-5
It wasn’t how they drew it up, but the Moose Jaw Miller Express will take their 6-5 12-inning win over the Saskatoon Yellow Jackets on Tuesday night.
“For me personally, that was absolutely (the strangest ending to a game),” said Derek Cornell. “I’ve never seen a broken bat walk-off error.”
With Drew Danzeisen standing on third base, Cornell connected with an inside pitch, but his bat exploded, sending a dribbler down the third base line. Saskatoon pitcher Brendan Erickson quickly fielded the ball, but Cornell speed forced the throw and Erickson sailed it into right field.
Danzeisen came trotting across home plate as Ross Wells Park, and the Millers’ dugout, erupted in celebration.
“I was just looking for something decent to hit back up the middle,” said Cornell, who went 0-for-6, but made contact when he needed to. “He was throwing me away, away and I kept fouling him off and then he came in on me and luckily I got a piece of it.”
The win was a scrappy one for the Millers that saw them take a 4-2 lead in fourth and a 5-4 lead after eight. Saskatoon tied the game in the ninth when Bryan Heward stroked an RBI-single.
Moose Jaw stayed with it and were eventually able to manufacture the winning run in the 12th inning.
Danny Lokesak had a key sac-bunt in the final inning, moving Drew Danzeisen over from second to third. Lokesak led the Moose Jaw offence in the win, going 4-for-5 with two runs scored.
“I saw (the ball) excellent, a lot better than I have previously,” said Lokesak, who saw his average rise from .254 to .297 with his four hits on Tuesday. “My swing is finally coming around, but our team has been outstanding offensively so far, so the team has picked me up throughout the year.”
Aiden Stinnett also had a good day at the plate, going 4-for-6 with an RBI-single during the Millers’ four-run fourth inning. Moose Jaw smacked 15 hits in total during the game.
“It’s a good way to end it, it gives us some momentum going into the week,” said Lokesak. “We’re in first place right now, so we’re going to keep going.”
This game was the first of five over the next five nights for the Miller Express. Starting pitcher Todd Leavitt was able to pitch a full-eight innings, while Moose Jaw used just three pitchers in the extra innings win.
“Even though we did have the extra three innings there, we didn’t quite empty the bullpen, so we’ll still have guys that are fresh tomorrow and we’re in a good place,” said head coach Michael Hunt.
Leavitt gave up just four runs, while scattering nine hits in his eight innings of work as he picked up a no-decision. Conner Keating got the win, pitching two scoreless innings of relief with just one hit against and one strikeout.
Saskatoon seemed to equal Moose Jaw every step of the way in the game, collecting 13 hits of their own. Cornell said that made the win that much more special as they’ve had some battles with the Yellow Jackets already this season.
“We’ve been butting heads with those guys a lot, so it’s good to win the real close one and kind of stick it to them,” said Cornell. “When they come play us, they have a little more effort and it’s always going to be close with them.”
Moose Jaw improved 3-1 against their Central Division rivals with the win and now have a 3.5-game lead on Swift Current in the division. The gap is 4.5 games on Saskatoon.
The Millers have two games this week against the Indians.
“We want to keep the petal to the metal because this is a tough division, Swift Current is playing well, Saskatoon is playing well and every win counts,” said Hunt.
The Miller Express will travel into Regina on Wednesday night to square off with the Red Sox at Currie Field. You can catch all the action live at mjmillerexpress.com with the Voice of the Millers, Marc Smith.