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Millers roll past Red Sox

(Marc Smith, Heading into Wednesday’s game, the Moose Jaw Miller Express had lost their last four meetings with the Regina Red Sox.

That changed in a big way in the final regular season meeting between the two rivals as the Millers rolled to a 10-3 win in front of a big crowd at Ross Wells Park.

“They’ve kind of took it to us the last couple of times that we’ve played them at Regina, so it was nice to get them at home, in front of a good crowd and take care of business,” said third baseman Lane Harvey.

Moose Jaw had all areas of the game working as they collected 11 hits; starting pitcher Grant Westmoreland held Regina to just three hits through seven innings; and the Millers turned two double plays defensively.

It took a bit for the offence to get going for the Millers as they stranded some runners in scoring position early in the game, but after opening the scoring in the fourth, they exploded for six runs in the fifth to take full control.

“It was great to see,” said Harvey. “From the beginning of the game, we were hot off the bats, did our job when guys were in scoring position, for the most part, and did what we needed to at the plate.”

Harvey filled up the box score as he reached base in all five of his at-bats out of the lead-off spot, going 3-for-3 with two doubles, two RBI, one run scored, a walk and a hit-by-pitch.

Harvey drove in a pair of runs with a double that capped off the scoring in the six-run fifth inning. All six runs came with two outs in the frame.

A key part of Moose Jaw’s success offensively also came because of how efficient Westmoreland was on the mound. Following the six-run fifth, the Millers pitcher was able to sit down the Red Sox in order in the sixth, allowing his offence to get back on the field.

Cutter McDowell kept the offence rolling with a first-pitch lead-off home run to open the bottom of the sixth that made it 8-0.

Another quick top of the seventh put Moose Jaw back on the bats and they added two more runs to their lead.

“Grant had a great outing, especially when we have long innings where we’re putting up a lot of runs and then he comes out off long rest and shuts them down, that’s a confidence builder for us and knocks down their energy level for sure,” said Harvey.

Westmoreland won his fourth straight appearance as he allowed just one run on three hits over seven innings of work. He walked two and struck out a pair.

“I definitely felt good,” he said. “I had rough start last week, so I made it a point during the off five days to get a little better and put it on Regina, and that’s what we did, so I’m happy about that.”

Moose Jaw and Regina could face each other in the first round of the WMBL Playoffs next week and Westmoreland said the Millers wanted to get some momentum for a possible series against them.

“Rolling into playoffs and beating a team like that, it’s a good win,” he said. “We’re probably going see Swift (Current) or Regina in the playoffs and we’re not scared of either one of them because we’ve beat them both this year.”

The Millers sit at 22-22 on the year and have won four of their last five games. They travel to Melville on Thursday night before finishing the regular season with home games against Melville on Friday; Weyburn on Saturday; and Swift Current on Sunday.

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