(Story courtesy Marc Smith, DiscoverMooseJaw.com) The Moose Jaw Miller Express’ offence came through when they needed it to on Sunday night.
Moose Jaw headed into the ninth inning trailing 6-4 and they were without a hit for the past three innings, but the Millers’ bats came alive just in the nick of time to score three runs, including a walk-off two-run single by first baseman Travis Ouellet, to lift them to a 7-6 win over the Yorkton Cardinals at Ross Wells Park.
“The whole game I was kind of behind everybody’s and it was getting kind of frustrating, but Coach Hunt just told me to get my foot down and get my timing down and that 2-0 fastball came, I was ready for it and put a good swing on it,” said Ouellet, who was 0-for-4 on the game going into that ninth inning at-bat.
The Cardinals intentionally walked right fielder Jeremy Stidham to get to Ouellet and he made them pay for that decision with the clutch, game-winning hit.
“Any time up with the base loaded, I want to make them pay, but especially when they walk the guy to get to me, that’s definitely nice to get a little bit of pay off there,” said Ouellet.
The Millers went cold at the plate after the fourth inning, collecting just one hit over the next four frame heading into the ninth where they put up three hits and two walks to score the win.
“That’s baseball for you, it’s amazing how quick something can happen and how quickly it can fall apart too,” said Ouellet. “It’s nice to be on the other end of it for once, but yeah, it feels great.”
The rally was started by a four-pitch walk by left fielder Brooks Benson. After a single by DH Cutter McDowell, newcomer Cole Distler stroked a double into the gap that scored Benson and put two runners in scoring position with one out. The walk to Stidham loaded the bases and Ouellet came through.
Distler, who arrived in Moose Jaw on Saturday night, said it was nice to get a big hit and score the winning run in his first game with the Millers.
“It felt really good,” he said. “The first four at-bats in the game, I struggled a little bit, shaking off the cobwebs, I’d been off for a week, so it felt really big to come through for these guys, being a new guy, that helps me fit in a bit more.”
Chris Suarez got the win on the mound for Moose Jaw as he pitched a scoreless seventh, eighth and ninth innings to give the offence a chance to comeback. He struck out five and surrendered two hits.
Starting pitcher Bo Sheridan was effective for the Millers over five innings of work as he left with the game tied at 3-3. He struck out two and walked three in the no-decision.
The game was back-and-forth in the early going with Yorkton striking first in the top of the second. They loaded the bases, but Sheridan limited the damage to just one run.
Moose Jaw responded in the home half of the second with a two-run home run from catcher Zak Kellogg, his first of the season.
Yorkton tied the game with a run in the third, but Moose Jaw was able to retake the lead again in the fourth on an RBI-single from Kellogg.
The score stayed that way until the sixth when Justin Beaumont replaced Sheridan on the mound for Moose Jaw. Beaumont struggled, allowing a hit and walking two in his three batters faced, all three ended up coming around to score to put the Cardinals in front 6-3.
Centerfielder Shoma Sasaki manufactured a run in the seventh to pull the Millers within two and set up the comeback in the ninth.
McDowell was 3-for-5 with a walk and a run scored in the win. Kellogg was 2-for-2 with a run scored and three RBIs.
The win was the second straight for the Millers as they improved their record to 3-8 on the year. Ouellet said their end to the weekend can be something for them to build off of going into a busy week.
“Especially the way that we won too, Saturday we held on late and then today, coming back in the ninth against a pretty good arm was definitely special and I think we’re going to roll here quickly,” he said.
The Millers are back on the field on Tuesday night in Regina for a doubleheader against the Red Sox. Those are the first of seven games over the next six nights for Moose Jaw with the first five on the road.
The next home action for the Millers is on Saturday when they host the Edmonton Prospects.