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Millers Streak Stops Against Beavers

07/19/2013 7:23 AM -

Marc Smith

The Moose Jaw Miller Express spotted Weyburn five runs in the first inning and couldn't come back on Thursday night. They ended up losing 11-4 to the Beavers in Western Major Baseball League action at Ross Wells Park.

“We didn't help Marshall (Dean) out in the first couple innings, but they found a lot of holes and you've got to tip your hat, they came to hit and did a really good job of it,” said head coach Michael Hunt.

The loss ended the Millers' four-game winning streak, which tied a season-high, and pushed their record down to 18-20 on the year.

The Millers didn't score their first run in the game until the seventh inning when they were already down 9-0, and after Weyburn starter Ryan Johnson was pulled from the game.

Johnson cruised through his six innings of work, allowing just one hit against, while striking out two. He did walk five Millers, but was able to induce a double play, or get a couple of diving catches in the outfield, to get out of the inning.

“He threw strikes and we just didn't capitalize,” said Hunt on Johnson

The Millers were hitting the ball hard off him, but couldn't find holes in the defence to cash runners in or get an inning started strong.

Weyburn came out swinging in the first inning, tagging Dean for five runs off of five hits to take the early lead. Ryan Bourcier and Chris Manning each had RBI doubles, while the Beavers scattered three other singles in the inning.

The Beavers added to the lead in the fifth, which started off with Dusty Kerns belting a solo home run to right field. Another run scored on a passed ball, and Spencer Mallonee doubled in two more runs to make it 9-0.

The Millers were finally able to tack on some runs in the seventh thanks to a two-out RBI double by Michael Corso and a run scoring single by Frank Pluskota. They were left thinking what could have been in the inning though as Hunter Johnson struck out with the bases loaded to end the frame.

After Weyburn extended their lead to 10-2 in the eighth, the Millers responded with two more runs. Jon Cotter had an RBI single and Hank Stewart was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to cut the lead to 10-4, but that would be as close as Moose Jaw would get.

Dean had easily his worst start of the season, as he failed to make it to the sixth inning for the first time. He gave up nine runs – seven earned – on 11 hits over five innings. The loss drops his record to 3-4 on the year.

The Millers had just five hits in the game with Kevin Gratza being the only player to pick up more than one, he went 2-for-4 with a walk and a run scored.

Their win streak come to an end, but Hunt was happy with the fight shown by his players to stay in the game and play all-nine innings. “It shows great sand and we have a lot of sand in that dugout, a lot of sand on that field and we showed it – we just came up short,” said Hunt.

Despite the loss, the Millers stay a game up on Saskatoon for second place in the Central Division, and are still playing some of their best ball of the season over the last couple of weeks.

“We've played really well the last week and a half, so a loss is going to happen, you don't like doing it to yourself, but it's a good chance for us to get back on the bus and get some good mojo going,” said Hunt.

The Millers will travel to Lethbridge on Friday and Saturday for a quick two-game series, and then it's back to Ross Wells Park on Sunday for another big divisional game against Saskatoon.