08/03/2014 12:51 AM
Millers Down 2-0 Coming Home
August 2, 2014
One bad inning has pushed the Moose Jaw Miller Express to the brink of elimination.
They gave up six runs in the fourth inning and couldn’t fight their way all the back in a 10-8 loss to the Medicine Hat Mavericks on Saturday night at Athletic Park.
The loss puts the Millers down 2-0 in their best-of-five first round Western Major Baseball League playoff series. Game three will go on Sunday night at Ross Wells Park with Moose Jaw needing a win to stay alive.
“We’re in pretty good spirits right now,” said outfielder Miles Hunter. “We know that we’re going home with great fans behind us and we’ve got a good chance going forward still.”
Moose Jaw dug themselves a big hole in game two as the Mavericks jumped all over starting pitcher Terry McNabb in the fourth inning, scoring six runs on six hits to chase Moose Jaw’s ace from the game.
“They hit everything, it was frustrating,” said McNabb, who went 8-1 during the regular season and never had start shorter than six innings. He gave up seven runs on ten hits over four innings on Saturday.
The Millers picked their pitcher up in the top of the fifth, benefiting from five straight hits to score three runs to cut Medicine Hat’s lead to 7-3. They gave those three runs right back in the bottom half of the frame as Zach Shelstad was tagged for three runs on three hits in 2/3 of an inning.
With the Mavericks leading 10-1, Moose Jaw started to chip away, scoring at least once in each inning for the rest of the game, while the bullpen held Medicine Hat.
Connor Keating and Jorge Pantoja threw 3 1/3 scoreless innings to give the team a chance to comeback.
The Millers plated two in the ninth after back-to-back hits from Ben Douglas and Austin Russell to start the inning, but they went down in order from there to end the comeback two runs short.
“We’re a scrappy club and we showed that late in the game,” said Hunter. “It’s obviously tough falling down six runs, but we just keep battling and we know that we have capacity to come back from those deficits for sure.
“We knew it was still early in the game, so we still had lots of outs left. We stayed pretty positive (in the dugout).”
Hunter had a strong day at the plate, going 3-for-4 with two RBI and run scored. Frank Pluskota, Aidan Stinnett and Austin Russell each had two hits, while those three, along with Derek Cornell and Dylan Hanson each drove in a run.
Danny Lokesak was 3-for-5 with two bunt singles and run scored batting in the nine-hole.
Medicine Hat was led by the top of their lineup with lead-off hitter Michael Forgione going 4-for-5 with two RBI and two runs scored. Blake Rowlett and Sheldon Daquioag each drove in three runs in the win.
JP Stevenson took the win on the mound, giving up three runs on eight hits over five innings. He had two strikeouts and one walk.
A short memory will be key for the Millers again if they hope to extend their season. They hit the Ross Wells Park field on Sunday night at 7:05pm, you can tune in live at mjmillerexpress.com.