06/19/2013 9:04 AM -
Millers Miss Opportunities In 6-2 Loss to Mavericks
June 18, 2013
There was no magic at the plate for the Moose Jaw Miller Express on Tuesday night, as they lost 6-2 to the first place Medicine Hat Mavericks. The Millers left 11 runners on base and committed three early errors to hurt themselves in the loss.
The two biggest spots were in the fifth inning, where the Millers loaded the bases with one out and came away empty, and the seventh, when they put two on with one out and couldn't get any runs across.
The fifth inning was especially tough because the Millers trailed just 3-1 at that point.
“You're starting to see guys getting a little bit tight in situations. They're afraid to fail over wanting to be successful and going down with a fight, so we just want them to loosen up a bit,” said head coach Michael Hunt after the loss, which was the Millers' second in a row to start their seven games in seven days stretch.
The Millers hurt themselves early with three errors in the first two innings leading to three runs for the Mavericks. Moose Jaw got on the board in the second inning on an RBI single by Hunter Johnson, but trailed 3-1.
After that it was a pitchers duel with both starting pitchers giving up hits, but getting out of trouble when they needed to.
Dustin Caplette put the Millers in a position to win with 7.1 innings pitched, only two earned runs against on nine hits. He also struck out nine with no walks. It was a start that should have propelled Caplette to a 3-0 record, but instead drops him to 2-1.
“Dustin is a warrior and he's going to everything he can to make sure we're successful,” said Hunt. “We've just got to do a little bit more.”
The Millers did plenty on offence in the game, collecting 13 hits, including nine off of Mavericks starter Billy Martin. He finished six innings, giving up two runs with seven strikeouts and no walks.
The bullpen was outstanding for Medicine Hat as Les Northcutt pitched a shutout seventh and then Jacob Webb finished off the final two innings, giving up three hits, but striking out the final six batters.
Miles Hunter, Hank Stewart, Kevin Gratza, Hunter Johnson and Jon Cotter all picked up multiple hits in the loss. Johnson finished 2-for-3 with an RBI, while Matt Kirk drove in the other run, going 1-for-4 with two strikeouts.
“Offensively we can hang with anybody, we're going to score runs, but there needs to be some timely ones too,” said Hunt. “Billy Martin is a good pitcher, he's been a good pitcher for three years in this league and there's no surprises there, but we just didn't capitalize when we had our chances.”
In the end, it came down to doing the little things that get you wins and Hunt says they didn't do enough, “Those one or two little things end up opening the flood gates, and good teams like Med Hat, Okotoks, Regina, Melville, they're going to take advantage of them and we keep opening the door for them.
“(The players) know what's going on, they know most of our losses are because of mistakes and mistakes that they've been making, so you're starting to see a little bit of tightness and we've just got to loosen them up.”
The Millers will have a chance to get loose coming up on Wednesday night when they get a rematch with the first place Mavericks. First pitch is at 7:05pm at Ross Wells Park.