Millers pick up win over Trans Canada rival
It seems like the Moose Jaw Miller Express can only be held in check for so long during games this season.
The Regina Red Sox had a 4-3 lead heading into the seventh inning, but the Millers blew the game open with seven runs in the frame as they rolled to a 10-8 win on Tuesday night at Ross Wells Park.
"Once we really get into an inning, we seem to capitalize and score a lot of runs, we're starting to call that the Miller inning," said Miller Express outfielder Alex Hendra-Brown. "We started out slow, but we're going to play all nine hard and that's what we've been doing all year."
The Millers are now 5-0 to start the season in the Western Major Baseball League.
Hendra-Brown led the offence in the win, smacking out his first home run of the season with a two-run shot to centrefield in the sixth inning. He drove in another run with a double during the seven-run seventh, finishing 3-for-5 with two runs scored.
The Victoria, B.C. product is off to an excellent start to the year for the Millers, hitting .471 through five games.
"I've just been doing some work before the games, trying to figure some stuff out and have just been running into good pitches," said Hendra-Brown.
Regina starter Taso Stathopoulos had the Millers off balance early in the game as he struck out eight over 3 2/3 innings. An RBI-single from Blake Gallagher after Stathopoulos left the game tagged him with his lone run.
"The first few innings, we didn't have very many good at-bats, that was a good starting pitcher and he mixed it up a lot, but then things just locked in a bit better and we made a lot more good at-bats happen," said Millers head coach Michael Hunt.
The Red Sox took a 4-1 advantage in the top of the sixth when they brought three runs around to score, but the Millers answered in the bottom half with Hendra-Brown's two-run homer.
That was just the start for Moose Jaw's offence as Hendra-Brown hit a run-scoring double, followed by a two-run single from infielder John Prudhom. Catcher Ty Barclay would cash in two more runs with a single and first baseman Ty Roseberry would follow that up by adding an RBI single.
Barclay was 2-for-5 with two RBI and a run scored, while Prudhom went 2-for-4 with two RBI, a run scored and a walk.
Moose Jaw worked six walks in the win.
After the Millers went in front 10-4, Regina responded with four runs in the eighth inning, including three on a deep double from third baseman Phil Langlois. Prudhom would come on with Langlois standing at third and strike out second baseman David Molder to stop the bleeding before closing out the game in the ninth.
Hunt said the Millers are just doing what's needed at the right time to come away with wins.
"So far, offensively, we're not the hottest up and down, but tonight we weathered the storm and came out on top," said Hunt.
"We just have confidence in the guys behind our pitchers on defence and offensively, we just need to stay the course because we're expecting big things from the guys that are in there."
Prudhom earned the save for the Millers, throwing 1 1/3 innings, allowing one hit and striking out two.
Cortland Hampton earned the win on the mound, allowing four runs on two hits and two walks in two innings. He also struck out two.
Millers starter Markus Gregson was effective over his 5 2/3 innings of work, surrendering four runs — two earned — on six hits with five strikeouts and two walks.
"Everyone is stepping up and doing there thing, the relievers are coming and throwing strong, the starters are giving us good starts for their first starts of the summer, so to be able to start here and move forward is pretty big," said Hendra-Brown.
The Millers will look to keep their perfect record in tact when they square off with the Swift Current 57s on Wednesday night. First pitch is at 7 p.m. from Mitchell Field in Swift Current.