(Story courtesy DiscoverMooseJaw.com) For the sixth straight game, the Moose Jaw Miller Express came out on the losing end, but the team is coming away encouraged by their recent effort.
Moose Jaw lead twice against the Regina Red Sox on Wednesday night, but couldn't close out the game late as they lost 8-6 at Currie Field in Western Major Baseball League action.
The loss drops Moose Jaw to 3-7 on the year after they got out to a 3-1 start.
“It was a bit of a roller coaster ride emotionally,” said head coach Michael Hunt. “We got a great first three and a bit innings out of Brad (Danzeisen) and couldn't hold it. The bullpen did their job, but ended up getting nickel and dimed a little bit and it ended up being the tale of the tape.”
The Millers have been struggling to find a groove over the past week. The team hasn't been able to put all three phases of the game together at one time in order to pull out a victory.
Hunt said the team knows they need to find a solution quickly before they get too deep into the season.
“We've had a number of group discussions over the last little bit, the players had a closed door meeting (before the game), so there's nobody here hanging their head,” said Hunt. “They're hungry and they're expecting good things tomorrow.”
The Express feature ten players on their roster with previous WMBL experience, so there is still that feeling out process with the league and Hunt said he's seeing signs each night of the players finding their game.
“Guys are going to need some time to feel each other out and find what's happening,” said Hunt.
The offence finally showed up for the Millers and it came early as they jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the second inning an RBI-single by Ryan Thrasher, which scored Jeremy Stidham after a lead-off double. Thrasher eventually scored on a two-run double from Marvin Malone.
Andrew Wilson finished off the big inning by bringing around Miles Orscheln on a groundout.
Regina was able to answer in the bottom of the fourth with four runs of their own as they chased Danzeisen with two outs in the frame. Danzeisen ended up giving up four runs on four hits with five walks and a strike out in 3 2/3 innings.
Moose Jaw came right back in the top of the fifth though and retook the lead at 6-4 thanks to a two-run home run by Stidham – his second of the season – but it wasn't meant to be.
The Red Sox scored once in the sixth, twice in the seventh and once more in the eighth to go in front by two. Kendal Daniels pitched a perfect ninth inning for the save.
“Grant Westmoreland came in for us and we tried to hit the ground running with him and he looked a little nervous and couldn't find the strike zone,” said Hunt. “He had two walks and then a 30-foot high copper over the first baseman's head and it ends up being tough and makes that hill a little deeper to climb.”
There were a number of strong performances at the plate with Stidham finishing with two extra base hits, two runs scored and two RBI. Jayse McLean reached base four times, going 3-for-3 with a run scored and a walk.
The Millers will get right back on the field on Thursday to open a home-and-home series with the Weyburn Beavers.
“That's the beauty of baseball, you're back-to-back-to-back, so we've got to have a short memory and take the positives from today because there was a lot of positives,” said Hunt.
Moose Jaw and the 7-1 Beavers face-off at 7:05pm on Thursday night in Weyburn and then again on Friday night at Ross Wells Park.