The Moose Jaw Miller Express had their chances, but ended up falling short in game one of their first round playoff series with the Medicine Hat Mavericks.
“Both teams had chances and both teams also missed opportunities, so it’s just unfortunate that we missed one more opportunity than they did,” said head coach Michael Hunt after the 4-3 extra innings loss to the Mavericks.
An RBI double by Andy Scott in the bottom of the 11th inning scored pinch runner Brody Hawkins and gave Medicine Hat the win.
“We were playing a little bit deeper, no doubles, so it expands the alleys a little bit,” said Hunt on the game-winning hit. “Unfortunately that’s just the way baseball goes.”
It was a highly entertaining, back-and-forth game that kept the fans at Athletic Park enthralled throughout. As expected with playoff baseball, the game was tight and each mistake amplified.
The Millers didn’t make too many mistakes until late. Shortstop Drew Danzeisen made one throwing error in the tenth and another in the 11th. The last one ended up costing Moose Jaw as it put the winning run on base.
Moose Jaw had their chances to win despite trailing 3-1 for much of the game after Medicine Hat scored three in the second. The Millers left runners in scoring position in the fifth and sixth before finally breaking through in the eighth to score two to tie the game.
Even after tying the game, the Millers came away from the eighth feeling like they left some runs on the table. Frank Pluskota drove in two runs smoking a triple with no outs, but was then stranded on third.
“There’s definitely more left in the tank,” said Hunt on his offence.
After getting hit around a bit in the second inning, Brandon Acosta settled down and gave his team a chance to win. He went nine innings, giving up three runs on six hits — three of those coming in the second — with seven strikeouts and three walks.
“That was a rough second inning, but he gave us nine solid innings of baseball,” said Hunt.
Jason Renner took the loss, giving up one unearned run on two hits with one strikeout.
The Millers opened the scoring in the first inning when Derek Cornell worked a ten-pitch at-bat to lead off the game and was eventually driven in on a sac-fly by Miles Hunter.
Medicine Hat starter Kalei Contrades battled after that and only allowed two runners past first base between the second and seventh innings. Moose Jaw got to him in the eighth to tie the game.
Myles Richards pitched two scoreless innings of relief and Kenton Schroter got the win with one scoreless inning.
The loss was a stinging one for Moose Jaw, but hasn’t affected their confidence as they get ready for game two on Saturday.
“We’re going to have a short memory and need to realize that we’re still in a good place,” said Hunt.
Game two goes on Saturday night at 7:05pm at Athletic Park. The series will shift back to Moose Jaw on Sunday for game three. Tune in live at mjmillerexpress.com.