06/10/2013 8:29 PM -
Millers Cruise To 15-6 Win Over Swift Current
June 9, 2013
When the Moose Jaw Miller Express are on, they're on this year. They showed that on Sunday night against the Swift Current Indians as they handed them a 15-6 beating at Ross Wells Park.
The Millers collected 18 hits in the game and built up a 10-0 lead by the fourth inning as they cruised to their second win against the Central Division leaders and moved their record back to .500 at 5-5.
“I mentioned in our pre-game meeting in the clubhouse that we're either up or down, and then with the previous history, (this game) should be up and we certainly proved that theory, so it's just how do we maintain,” said head coach Michael Hunt on the field at Ross Wells as the fog rolled during the post-game. “If we're at least average, we're going to be really competitive and stinking hard to beat.”
Consistency has been the biggest issue for the Millers this season as this win came on the heels of a 14-5 loss on Saturday night to Yorkton, which came after a 13-5 win over Yorkton on Friday. Hunt hopes the team can figure out what is causing this dramatic swings in play.
“It's things like hitting is contagious, but so are bad at-bats. A couple of guys get a couple of bad ones in a row and just like when the good at-bats string together, it's kind of partial with that,” said Hunt. “Whatever it is, it's usually really good or really bad, so we've got to figure that out.”
The scoring came early and often for Moose Jaw in this one. After both teams cruised through the first inning, the Millers went to work in the second, sending 11 batters to the plate and scoring eight runs.
Back-to-back errors by second baseman Matt Spillman and a perfectly placed bunt single by Hunter Johnson loaded up the bases. Jon Cotter smoked a ball up the middle to bring in two. Miles Hunter followed that up with a single to load the bases again and Ben Bridges made no mistake cranking a 0-2 pitch out for a grand slam, his third home run of the year.
The Millers weren't done there though as Hank Stewart drew a walk and Michael Corso brought him around with a two-run home run to left field to make it 8-0.
The runs kept coming in the bottom of the fourth for the Millers as Logan Lippert drove in one on a bases loaded single and Hunter Johnson brought in another with sac fly for a 10- lead after four.
Swift Current started to make a dent in Moose Jaw's lead by scoring two in the sixth and four more in the seventh, that made it 10-6, but the Millers responded with three in the bottom of the seventh to really put the game away.
“We did it against some pretty good pitchers,” said Hunt. “Their velocity was up there a little bit, so we just made some adjustments, and that's the thing that we've been preaching at the plate over the last few games because velocity has seemed to baffle us, but we made a lot of adjustments really quick and it really started to help out.”
Hunter set the pace at the plate all night long, going 4-for-5 with three runs scored and a walk. Johnson was 3-for-5 with two RBIs and a run scored. Only four hits were held without multiple hits for Moose Jaw, while Matt Benn was the lone player to fail to pick up a hit, or score.
Starting pitcher Dustin Caplette went seven innings in his second start of the year. He gave up six runs on 11 hits with six strikeouts and two walks. While Caplette was hit in the game, he was able to limit the damage against with some timely strikeouts or ground balls.
“That's been the evolution of Dustin Caplette,” said Hunt. “Last year, or two-three years ago, a couple of a base hits, a couple of hard hits would have unravelled him, but he's a fifth year guy in this league and he knows how to pitch and combat those swings.”
“I watched Logan make an amazing play out in right field, Jonny made a nice diving play up the middle and I just felt that if I can throw strikes, the defence behind me is going to make the big plays when I need it,” added Caplette, who's record is now 2-0 on the year.
“(Getting that big early inning) definitely helps, you don't have to make that perfect pitch every time, you can just go out there and throw your own game, relax, and know that if you one run here or there it's not a big deal.”
The Milers were able to chase Swift Current starter Justin Kehler after only two innings of work. He gave up eight runs – none earned – on seven hits with two walks and just one strikout. Noah Gapp came on in relief and pick up five strikouts over four innings.
The Millers will pack up and head to Melville for the final game during a six games in six nights stretch that started last Wednesday with the Millionaires rolling the Millers 21-9. Kyle Olver, who 0-2 on the year, will get his second crack at Melville on Monday night at 7:05pm.