It was a roller coaster ride on Monday night between the Moose Jaw Miller Express and Melville Millionaires.
Moose Jaw ended up coming out on top in the end, powering their way to an 18-9 win, but the game wasn't without its tense moments.
“There was a lot of wacky things happening, that's for sure,” said head Coach Michael Hunt after his sneaked out the nine-run win.
It feels like the Millers escaped with a win despite the wide margin in the runs department, it's because they found themselves in trouble at one point early.
After jumping out to a 7-0 lead after two innings, Moose Jaw gave up the lead in a heartbeat in the third inning when Melville scored eight run on seven hits. Josh Janzen wasn't hit particularly hard in the inning, but it just all unravelled at once.
“It happened incredibly quick, there wasn't a lot of deep counts in that entire inning, there was a lot of first pitch hits,” said Hunt. “Josh was still on a low pitch count, so it's not like we were worried, but certainly it happened in a heartbeat.”
Janzen powered through after that inning and eventually went six innings to pick up the win. The Millers didn't panic and retook the lead in the seventh inning with four runs to go in front for good up 12-9.
A six-run ninth inning spread Moose Jaw's lead a little bigger and was topped off with a two-run triple by Austin Russell.
“There was not let down in that dugout, we knew it was still early, that third inning happened and there was still six innings of baseball left,” said Hunt. “Guys were frustrated and not happy with it, but nobody caved.”
The entire order came up big for Moose Jaw in the win, but the middle of the order had an especially big game, accounting for 16 of the Millers' 20 hits in the game. Ben Douglas led the charge with a 5-for-5 night that included two walks, three runs scored and an RBI.
Aidan Stinnett took over the WMBL batting race lead from teammate Miles Hunter with a 4-for-7 game. He added three runs scored, three RBI and his WMBL-leading 22nd double of the season.
Russell was 3-for-6 with three RBI, while Frank Pluskota went 4-for-6 with three runs scored, an RBI and a walk. Andrew Solomon drove in four runs, while walking twice.
After Sunday night's loss to Regina, many of the Millers spoke about their approach at the plate and needing to work the count against the opposing pitchers, and that's exactly what they did on Monday in Melville.
The Millers walked nine times and chased Melville's starter Tres Tyler after 1 1/3 innings. Melville ended up using five pitchers in the loss.
“We just had a real good approach,” said Hunt. “We got deep into counts and drew a lot of walks and had a couple bases loaded walks in there as well, so it was really nice to see.”
Drew Danzeisen came on to pitch in relief for his second appearance of the season. He threw two scoreless innings, giving up one walk and striking out two. Connor Keating pitched a scoreless ninth with one strikeout and a walk.
The win was the fifth in the last six games for the Millers and they aim to carry the momentum over into a season ending home-and-home series with Swift Current over the next two nights.
“We need to get a good outing out of our starter, play solid defence and have a solid approach at the plate like we did tonight,” said Hunt as the team gets set to host the Indians on Tuesday night, 7:05pm at Ross Wells Park.
Moose Jaw will face Medicine Hat in the first round of the Western Major Baseball League playoffs, but home field advantage is still up for grabs in the best-of-five series. If Moose Jaw wins out, they clinch home field, while Swift Current has already locked up the Central Division title.