Dramatic Tuesday Win
At the end of the season, they don’t ask how you won, just how many you won.
It wasn't pretty for the Moose Jaw Miller Express on Tuesday night, but they got the job done, picking up a walk-off 4-3 win over the Melville Millionaires in Western Major Baseball League action at Ross Wells Park.
The win is the third straight for the Millers, who improve to a Saskatchewan Division-leading 3-1 on the year.
“It felt great to come out on top in that one,” said Ben Douglas, who came around to score the winning run on a wild pitch in the bottom of the ninth inning.
“At the end of the day, that's all it comes down to is finding some way to do it, whether it's a home run or a passed ball to the backstop.”
Douglas hit a two-out single in the bottom of the ninth to keep the Millers' chances alive and then Andrew Wilson followed that up with a single of his own to move Douglas over from first to third. With Derek Cornell at the plate, the ball got away from Melville catcher Jacob Frantz allowing Douglas to trot in for the win.
“I just stayed simple, tried to get something up the middle was my goal, just to get on base,” said Douglas.
The game was chalked full of mistakes on both sides of the ball, but both teams came through in the clutch when they needed to.
Moose Jaw took an early 1-0 lead thanks to a lead-off walk by left fielder Derek Cornell. He would come around to score four batters later on a passed ball.
Miller Express pitcher Tyler Franek went to work after that. After allowing two runners to reach in the top of the first, he didn't give up another base runner to the Millionaires until the fifth inning.
Franek would go on to pitch eight innings, giving up three runs on just five hits, while striking out six and walking three. He exited the game after Melville posted two runs in the eighth inning to take a 3-2 lead on Moose Jaw.
“It felt great, got ahead, threw some strikes and it worked out well,” said the first-year pitcher from Grand Lake, CO.
“I was comfortable the whole game, just got ahead with the fastball and the off-speed pitch was working for a strike too.”
Moose Jaw managed just three hits in the game, but they did work seven walks out of the Millionaires' pitchers, while also having another batter reach on a hit-by-pitch. Plate discipline has been key for the Millers so far this season as they bide their time before scoring runs.
Cornell led the charge for Moose Jaw with three walks, two runs scored and two stolen bases in the win out of the lead-off spot.
“I have been just missing balls and when I'm not hitting the ball well, I'm just trying to figure out anyway I can help the team out, get on base, steal some bags and try to score some runs,” said the second-year Miller.
“Our pitching was awesome,” he added. “When we have guys that can keep us in the game on the mound, then it makes it a lot easier for our offence to get going.”
Tanner McAninch was credited with the win for Moose Jaw after pitching a 1-2-3 ninth inning to keep the game tied at 3-3 and set up the walk-off win in the home half of the frame.
The Millers will try to keep building momentum on Wednesday when they get back on the field at Ross Wells to host the Yorkton Cardinals, who enter the game at 2-1. First pitch is at 7:05pm.