Express close out regular season, to face Regina in opening round of playoffs
Moose Jaw drops three close games to Weyburn to cap campaign with 26-30 record
The Moose Jaw Miller Express might have finished off the Western Canadian Baseball League season on a losing note, but with how close things were over their final three games, things could be interesting in the playoffs.
The Express played all three of their final regular season contests against the Weyburn Beavers, falling 6-4 and 3-2 in a doubleheader at Ross Wells Park on Sunday before dropping a 6-5 decision in Weyburn Monday.
Moose Jaw finishes the season in fourth place in the Eastern Division with a 26-30 record, 14 ½ games back of the first place Regina Red Sox – the very team they'll face in the first round of the playoffs.
That best-of -three first round series begins Thursday in Regina, with Game 2 set for Friday at Ross Wells Park at 7 p.m.
Weyburn 6, Moose Jaw 4
A win would have been in the cards in the first game of Sunday's twinbill if the Express could have found a way to limit Jack Barrie.
The Australian import blasted two home runs in back-to-back trips to the plate, finishing the game 3-for-3 with a pair of runs scored and four runs batted in.
Weyburn used the strength of that offence to build a 5-0 lead through four innings before the Express rallied for a pair of runs in each of the fifth and sixth to close to within one heading into the final frame. The Beavers tacked on an insurance run in their half of the inning, though, and would retire the side in order to pick up the win.
Lyndon Zimmer got the start for Moose Jaw and surrendered five runs on five hits while striking out four and walking three in five innings of work. Andres Garza and Geordie McDougall, both infielders by trade, each tossed an inning of relief.
Dougie DelaCruz and Markus Melendez were each 2-for-3 with a run scored and RBI to lead the Express offence.
Weyburn 3, Moose Jaw 2
The Express took a 2-0 lead into the fifth inning behind a solid start from starter Jeff Nicolosi, only to see Weyburn score single runs in each of the next three innings to take the win.
Nicolosi went four innings, giving up two hits and striking out eight in taking the no decision. Blake Gallagher had an uncharacteristically off performance on the mound, giving up a pair of runs and walking four in 1 2/3 innings work, while Jaden Hofmann tossed the final inning and saw Weyburn score their final run.
Christian Vick went the distance for Weyburn, allowing four hits and striking out 11 with only one walk.
Ty Lightley and Eric Marriott scored the only Moose Jaw runs.
Weyburn 6, Express 5
It was all hands on deck to close out the regular season on Monday night – the Express used 13 hits and six different pitchers in taking a loss that was meaningless in the standings. Moose Jaw led 4-1 heading into the fifth inning, where Weyburn would score five runs while sending 10 batters to the plate. The Express got one back in the ninth but would get no closer. Ethan Soroka got the start, pitching three innings and allowing a single run on two hits with four strikeouts. Michael Ross, Nick Falco, Ty Sheridan, Alex Orenczuk and Nathan Slobodian all saw action in relief. On offence, Eric Marriott was 1-for-3 with a double and two runs scored, Darrel Doll 2-for-3 and Gallagher 2-for-4. Extra innings... the first game of Saturday's doubleheader saw the Express continue the annual tradition of honouring their billet families before the game in addition to presenting graduating seniors with a memento of their time in Moose Jaw.