(Story courtesy Marc Smith, DiscoverMooseJaw.com) Grant Westmoreland was lights out over 6 2/3 innings of work for the Moose Jaw Miller Express on Tuesday night, but it didn’t end up being enough.
“I felt like I pitched well enough to win us a ball game, but unfortunately it’s baseball, so it’s not like the bats come around every time you need them and the defence doesn’t come around when you need them,” said Westmoreland after the loss. “You need to win two of those three aspects to win a ball game.”
Westmoreland struck out 10 Yorkton Cardinal batters, but the Cardinals found a way to come away with the 5-1 win over Moose Jaw at Ross Wells Park.
It was the fourth straight loss for Moose Jaw.
“It is frustrating right now, but a lot of teams start off slow,” said Westmoreland. “Hopefully we’ll come around, we’re almost a third of the way through the season, so we need to get hot quick if we’re going to have a chance at the playoffs.”
The Millers had their chances to cut into Yorkton’s lead or even pick up the win, loading the bases in the fifth and eighth innings and only having one run to show for it.
Moose Jaw’s biggest struggle was having the lead-off hitter make an out to start every inning except the first and ninth innings.
“We got first, second, third, and we got the bases loaded, but it was with two out and there’s not a lot you can do, you need to rely on two-out hits and those are hard to come by,” said head coach Michael Hunt.
Hunt praised the effort from Westmoreland in the loss, saying that he definitely did his part for the team.
“He competed, he got strike one and when he didn’t, he executed the next pitch to get strike one,” said Hunt. “In 1-1 count or 0-1 count, you can do a lot more things as a pitcher.”
Westmoreland cruised through the first inning, striking out the side with all three Ks coming looking. He ended up striking out the first five Yorkton hitters.
“I just got in the groove in the bullpen and luckily I was able to bring it out to the mound,” said Westmoreland. “It was a good day, but it’s never really a good day when you take the loss.”
The lefthander exited the game down 4-1 with two outs in the seventh and runners on second and third. Mark Baughman came on a finished off the threat with a ground out.
Yorkton added an insurance run in the eighth inning after a lead-off triple by Billy Clapperton — the Cardinals’ second three-bagger of the game — and then a single by Cory Cantebury.
Moose Jaw’s only run came in the fifth when second baseman Jordan Abushahla reached on a walk and then came around on a bases loaded walk by catcher Zak Kellogg. That would be the only run that the Millers could muster in the inning.
Cardinals’ starter Gavin Collins gave up one run on five hits over seven innings. He also had 10 strikeouts and walked four in the win.
Miller Express assistant coach Cory Olafson was ejected from the game in the eighth inning while serving as the first base coach. There was a lot of talk between both teams throughout the game.
Hunt said they could use more fire in their game.
“I certainly hope today’s game brings more out of us tomorrow,” said Hunt. “It was a chippy game right from the get-go and we gave a little bit back, but they gave more, so it’s a bitter pill and something that needs to bur in their bellies a little bit.”
The Millers are back on the field on Wednesday night in Regina to take on the Red Sox. First pitch is at 7:05 p.m.