07/29/2013 2:33 PM
July 28, 2013
The playoff-bound Moose Jaw Miller Express couldn't close out their home schedule with a win, but Sunday was still a special night at Ross Wells Park.
A fourth inning grand slam by Hans Ask was enough for the Saskatchewan Yellow Jackets to pick up a 5-1 win over the Millers in Western Major Baseball League action.
The Millers were loose throughout the game after having clinched a playoff spot the night before in Okotoks, eliminating Saskatoon from playoff contention. They had a bit of fun in the eighth inning, bringing in Cotter to pitch and putting in Marshall Dean at shortstop.
Cotter got the one batter he faced to groundout to second base, but it was a bit of an adventure. He threw all fastballs except one pitch, when catcher Matt Kirk called for a curveball.
“Me and (head coach Michael) Hunt were talking before the game and he said just throw fastballs and try to get an out with fastballs, and then it's a 1-2 count and Kirky throws down the deuce, so I said I'll see what happens and it didn't work for me,” said Cotter on his curveball attempt.
He did get the batter out and both he and Dean left to an ovation from the crowd in their final regular season home game at Ross Wells Park.
“It was awesome, looking up and seeing all the people, everybody's watching the pitcher, so it's something different than I've had to do in the past,” said Cotter. “It was awesome, it was so much fun.”
Cotter was honoured with the Fan's Favourite Award before the game, but didn't give himself much credit for picking up the award. “It's always an honour, it helps to be from Moose Jaw, all you have to do is be an average player and then be from Moose Jaw and you win the award,” he said modestly.
Cotter, Dean, Dustin Caplette, Michael Corso and Ben Bridges were also honoured before the game as final-year players.
The game started out with both pitchers duelling, Caplette got the start for the Millers and retired the first nine batters he faced, which included a stretch of five straight strikeouts. Saskatoon got to him in the fourth though, scoring all five of their runs.
Caplette lasted five innings, striking out nine and giving up the five runs on five hits to take the loss.
Moose Jaw's lone run came in the bottom of the fourth when Hank Stewart drove in Jon Cotter with an RBI-single.
The Millers had 11 players take at-bats and six pitchers hit the mound in the game as they looked to get in as much work before the start of the post-season on Wednesday.
“It's a tough balance, we wanted to get some guys some time,” said Hunt. “You want to get every win you can, but it's also important to make sure that guys are getting the time that they need if they haven't had it in a little bit, so it's a little disappointing not to get it, but we understand there's a process and we were trying to make things happen there.”
The Millers finish off the regular season on Monday night up in the Bridge City against the Yellow Jackets. They kick off the playoffs on Wednesday against the WMBL-leading Mavericks in Medicine Hat. Game 2 is on Thursday in Medicine Hat and then Games 3 and 4 are at Ross Wells Park on Friday and Saturday.