(Story courtesy Marc Smith, DiscoverMooseJaw.com) It ended with a gut punching loss, but the Moose Jaw Miller Express showed some signs of turning their game around over the weekend.
Getting to play three games in front of the Ross Wells Park faithful, the Miller Express took full advantage, going 2-1 during games on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
The weekend ended with a 3-2 loss to the Yorkton Cardinals on Sunday night, but the team is happy with how they played in all three games, which included ending their seven-game losing skid on Friday with a 12-4 win over Weyburn.
“We showed a lot of character after that seven-game losing streak,” said head coach Michael Hunt. “Nobody was in the dumps, nobody had their head down, we just expected some good things to happen.”
Moose Jaw ran into a strong pitcher on Sunday night as Codi Scanlon went 8 1/3 innings, giving up two runs on five hits with seven strikeouts and one walk. He was perfect through the first four innings, before Moose Jaw got to him for two runs in the fifth.
While Scanlon kept Moose Jaw's offence in check for most of the night, Kyle Sonntag gave his team a chance to win with a strong start on the mound for the Millers. He took the loss, but went seven strong innings, allowing three runs on six hits with seven strikeouts and no walks.
“Everything felt really good today,” said Sonntag. “On a few pitches, some of their guys put some good swings on balls and got through holes, not much you can do about that as a pitcher, but would like to have them back.”
Moose Jaw's two runs came from the bottom of the order in the fifth inning as Brennan Reidy and Miles Orscheln both drove in runs on two-out singles to give the Millers the lead, which they held until seventh.
Yorkton benefited from a couple of errors in the field by Moose Jaw that led to runs. Chris Hanford – who went 3-for-4 on the night – led off the second inning with a single and was able to score on a single by Tristen Rizek three batters later.
The next runs came in the seventh inning for the Cardinals. Trailing 2-1, Nate Green smoked an RBI-double into the corner that scored Rizek. Green would score two batters later on an error by third baseman Chris Suarez.
That put Yorkton in front for good, but Moose Jaw did challenge.
They put runners on the corners with one out in the ninth for Ben Douglas, but he grounded into a game-ending 4-6-3 double play. It looked like Douglas beat out the throw at first, which would have tied the game as Ty Russell had come in to score from third, but he was called out to end the game.
“That was a good ball game,” said Hunt. “Scanlon is a good pitcher, he was a good pitcher last year and we made some adjustments, but we happened to just hit balls right at people.”
The team is coming out of the weekend with some good confidence after struggling to get into the win column for over a week.
“It's great to be off of that streak and once you get a couple of wins, it's always good for the team morale, now hopefully we can get a couple more starting Tuesday when we're back in Melville,” said Sonntag.
The Millers open a busy week in Melville on Tuesday night. They play six games in six nights.
Saturday, June 13: Moose Jaw 11 Melville 8
The Millers won their second straight game on Saturday night, hitting double digits for the second straight night in an 11-8 win over the Melville Millionaires.
A night after ending their seven-game losing streak with a 12-4 win over Weyburn, the Millers had the offence working early again on Saturday at Ross Wells Park.
They scored three in the first inning and then added two more in the fourth to take a 5-0 lead. Melville answered with four in the fifth to pull within one, but Moose Jaw came right back with two more in the bottom half of the inning to widen their lead back out to three.
They added one more in the seventh and three more in the eighth to take a commanding 11-4 lead. Melville made things interesting in the ninth, scoring four runs, but the Millers were able to hold on for the win.
Grant Westmoreland picked up the win on the mound, giving up two runs on two hits over four innings of work. He had five strikeouts and two walks.
Tanner Spencer got the start for Moose Jaw and surrendered two runs over 4+ innings of work. He had four walks to go with one strikeout in the no decision.
Marvin Malone and Chris Suarez each went 2-for-5 with two RBI and a run scored, while Jayse McLean went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBI. Miles Orscheln was 3-for-5 with two runs scored as well.