Millers Suffer First Loss, Fall to 57s
Miller Express catcher Markus Melendez tags Swift Current's Colby Seltzer at home plate during a ninth inning rundown on Friday night at Ross Wells Park. (Photo: Marc Smith)
The Moose Jaw Miller Express had the winning run at third base with no outs in the ninth inning but couldn’t finish the job on Friday night at Ross Wells Park.
In a rematch of Thursday's contest in Swift Current, the Millers held a 6-4 lead after six innings but ended in an 8-7 loss to the 57s.
"It's always tough to see a loss like that when we have that love to compete, love to work hard, get so close and let it slip away like that, we're definitely going to bounce back, come back tomorrow and give it to Yorkton," said Millers outfielder Michael Borst.
The loss drops Moose Jaw's record to 2-1 in the young Western Canadian Baseball League season.
Coming out of the first loss, Borst said the Millers' biggest focus needs to be on execution and making sure that they make the right plays in the right situations.
"We just need to learn where we can get improve as a team, where can individuals get better in situations and work together as a full team, so just staying together within ourselves and putting the ball in play when we need to," said Borst.
Swift Current jumped out to an early 2-0 lead with a deep two-run home run from first baseman Jack Large. They added to their advantage in the third, but Moose Jaw answered back in the bottom half of the frame when Borst drove in a run with a hard-hit double.
The Millers' offence would continue to connect in the fourth, but they stranded the bases loaded.
Moose Jaw loaded the bases back up in the fifth and this time did some damage with Dougie DelaCruz smacking a two-run single. Geordie McDougall would come around to score another run on a wild pitch to put the Millers in front 4-3 after five.
Swift Current quickly responded with a run in the sixth to tie the game, but Moose Jaw responded with two runs, including an RBI-single from Borst.
With Moose Jaw leading 6-5, the 57s stopped the back-and-forth with a big top of the seventh. They loaded the bases after pitcher Tyler Sheridan walked one hitter and hit two others.
Colby Seltzer plated two runs with a single and Jared Binsfield drove in two more with a two-out single to make it 8-6 for Swift Current.
Moose Jaw cut the lead down to one with a run in the eighth, but things got interesting in the ninth. Cole Warken led off the inning with a single and Geordie McDougall reached on an error.
With no outs, both players advanced into scoring position on a wild pitch, but Swift Current reliever Brandon O’Neill was able to get three straight outs to finish off the win for the 57s.
Borst finished 2-for-3 with three RBI in the loss, while Warken was 3-for-3 with a run scored and DelaCruz was 2-for-5 with two RBI.
The top of the Millers' lineup with Marriott, Blake Gallagher and Borst went a combined 6-for-14.
The Millers did a lot of their damage in the game with two outs, Borst said he'd like to see the team get going earlier in innings.
"It's always nice when we can score a few with two outs, the other team gets settled and we just come out and keep pounding it," said Borst. "If we can jump on the gun on a new pitcher, especially when he's not feeling well and we hit him, knock him out pretty quick, it would be a lot easier than having to sit through an 8-7 game and have to wait until the bottom of the ninth."
On the mound, Jeff Nicolsi allowed three runs on four hits with a walk and a strikeout in three innings. Michael Ross was effective in three innings of relief, giving up just one run on four hits with two strikeouts. with three runs on one hit and a walk but didn't register an out.
Jaden Hoffman was tagged with the loss after giving up one run on one hit in the seventh inning.
Nick Falco finished off the game for the Millers, pitching two scoreless innings with three strikeouts and two walks.
The Millers are back on the field this weekend for two games against the Yorkton Cardinals at Ross Wells. First pitch is at 7:05 p.m. Saturday and 4pm on Sunday.