Express season comes to end with 6-3 loss in deciding game of WCBL first round
For a short time, it looked as if the Moose Jaw Miller Express were about to take a trip to Upset City in their first round Western Canadian Baseball League series with the Regina Red Sox.
A 2-1 lead in the seventh inning with your top relievers on deck and a chance to close out the best-of-three series against a team 15 wins your better in the regular season? What’s not to like?
But there’s a reason the Red Sox won the Eastern Division and own nine straight games down the stretch – they’re a pretty good baseball team, and one that finds a way to win.
The Red Sox cranked out five hits in the eighth inning and took advantage of a pair of Express errors to score five runs off standout relievers Michael Ross, Jaden Hoffman and Jack Gamba on their way to a 6-3 victory on Saturday night at Currie Field in Regina.
The Express trailed 1-0 through four innings, but Eric Marriott singled home Blake Gallagher in the fifth to tie the game 1-1. The local squad then took their lead in the seventh when Gallagher hit a one-out single, stole second and scored on a base hit by Markus Melendez.
That set the stage for the Red Sox comeback, as they sent 10 batters to the plate in their half of the eighth, scoring their five runs on four hits and a pair of errors to take a commanding lead.
Marriott knocked home Tucker Zdunich in the top of the ninth as the Express attempted a miracle two-out comeback, but would get no closer.
Michael Borst gave the Express their third straight solid start in the playoffs, going six innings and giving up one run while striking out four and scattering six hits.
Grant Dowty was just as effective for Regina, giving up two runs in 6 2/3, also with four strikeouts and six hits.
Adam De La Cruz was 3-for-5 with a pair of runs scored and an RBI for the Red Sox.
Regina now advances to face the Swift Current 57’s in the Eastern Division final while the Okotoks Dawgs and Lethbridge Bulls will face off in the Western Division championship. All series are best of three.