(Story courtesy Marc Smith, DiscoverMooseJaw.com) The offence went quiet for the Moose Jaw Miller Express on Wednesday as left ten runners on base in their first loss since opening day.
The Millers lost 3-1 to the Yorkton Cardinals at Ross Wells Park, ending their three-game winning streak.
“It's still early season baseball and we're still trying to figure out what the best lineup is and who's going to hit 1-2-3, all the way down to nine and we'll figure it out,” said head coach Michael Hunt after the loss.
Moose Jaw managed just five hits in the game, but they continue to show strong plate discipline as they worked seven walks to put runners on base, but they're struggling at bringing those base runners in for runs right now.
Situations like the eighth inning on Wednesday where the Millers put runners on second and third with no outs, but failed to score a run with the score sitting at 2-1. Yorkton tacked on an insurance run in the top of the ninth when Landon Briscoe came in to score after an error by shortstop Bryce Crosby.
“We're watching too many fastballs early in the count,” said third baseman Chris Suarez, who drove in the Millers' lone run in the fourth inning. “I don't see it being a problem throughout the season, we're an aggressive team, so we're going to start jumping on that.”
Pitching continues to be a bright spot for the Millers as Brad Danzeisen and Dolan Kunkel kept the team in the game as they tried to get the offence going.
Danzeisen gave up two runs on seven hits over four innings of work. He had one strikeout and two walks. Kunkel finished off the final five innings, giving up just one hit and one run, while walking four and striking out two.
“Brad is looking to be a starter, so he was on a pitch count again, while Dolan was starter, so he was on an innings count,” said Hunt. “It went as planned, but we just need to score more than one run.”
Ryan Thrasher had two of Moose Jaw's five hits as the catcher went 2-for-4 on the night with two strikeouts. The top four in the order for Moose Jaw combined to go 1-for-12, but did have five walks.
Max Chadsey picked up the win on the mound for Yorkton as he went five innings, giving up one run on three hits with three walks and one strikeout. Michael Schofield came in for the save in the ninth, walking one and striking out another.
Moose Jaw has Thursday off before travelling to Yorkton on Friday for a rematch with the Cardinals. The team is ready to try to avenge their loss against the Cards.
“I want to give it back to these guys,” said Suarez. “We deserved that game, but we just couldn't give it to them today. I can't wait to beat them.”
“This year the way that the league is set up, we do have a lot of those back-to-backs, so you know that you're not going to see the same starter and it makes it a bit more like a series,” added Hunt. “It keeps it fresh in your mind and hopefully you can keep the same outcome if you won and work to correct it if you didn't.”
The Express will be back on their home turf on Saturday and Sunday when they welcome in the defending champion Medicine Hat Mavericks, who eliminated Moose Jaw in the first round of the playoffs last year. The Mavs are off to a 1-4 start to the year.