By Randy Palmer Jul 28, 2023
Five-run eighth sees 57’s take lead before scoring winning run in top of ninth in 8-7 Moose Jaw loss at Ross Wells Park
Regardless of how good of a baseball team you might have, there are going to be nights when strange things happen that lead to a surprise loss.
Thursday night was one of those occasions for the Moose Jaw Miller Express.
Facing the struggling Swift Current 57’s in Western Canadian Baseball League action at Ross Wells Park, the Express would give up five in the eighth inning to fall behind 7-5, tie the game in the bottom of the frame and surrender the game-winning run in the top of the ninth to drop an 8-7 decision
As a result, the Express are now 32-16 on the campaign but find themselves just playing out the string to close out the regular season, having clinched the East Division title earlier in the week.
Things looked good for Moose Jaw in the early going, as a three-run second inning staked the home side to a 4-1 lead. They’d add another in the fifth to go up 5-1, and things looked to be on track, but the 57’s had other ideas
A run in the seventh got Swift Current within three and their five runs the next inning would give them control heading home. The Express would use solid plate discipline to tie the game in the bottom of the frame, getting three straight hits to load the bases before Nate Mensik drew a walk and Luke Lachance was hit by a pitch to bring home the tying run.
It was all for not, though, as All Star reliever Haldon Craig ran into control issues in the bottom of the ninth, giving up a pair of walks before a wild pitch would plate Kelton Saylor with the eventual game-winning run.
Gabe Soto got the start on the mound for Moose Jaw and looked impressive, as he surrendered a run in the first inning but was lights out from there. He’d put together a quality start, allowing the one run over six innings of work, scattering four hits and striking out three.
Andrew Barger allowed a run in the seventh before Cameron Dunn endured one of his toughest outings as member of the Express, giving up the five runs on three walks and a pair of hits while getting only two outs in the eighth.
Austin Gurney led the way at the plate for Moose Jaw, hitting a solo home run in the fifth and finishing his night 2-for-4 with two runs scored and two runs batted in. Luke Lachance also had a good night with a 3-for-3 showing that included two runs scored, while Chaz Poppy also crossed the plate twice.
The two teams are right back at it on Friday night, as the Miller Express travel to Swift Current. Next home action is Saturday when Moose Jaw hosts the Regina Red Sox. Game time is 7 p.m. at Ross Wells Park.