By Randy Palmer Jul 27, 2023

Moose Jaw claims first division title in WCBL history thanks to 9-4 win over 57’s in Swift

The Moose Jaw Miller Express are the 2023 Western Canadian Baseball League East Division champions.

The Express picked up a 9-4 win over the Swift Current 57’s on Wednesday night in Swift Current, maintaining Moose Jaw’s 9 ½ game lead over the Medicine Hat Mavericks atop the East Division. With Medicine Hat falling 5-1 to Fort McMurray on Wednesday, the Mavericks have only eight games remaining, meaning Moose Jaw has clinched the title and will have home-field advantage through to the East final.

Things were close in the early going between the two teams, as the game was tied 3-3 through three innings. The Express pulled away in the middle frames, though, putting up two in the fifth and sixth and adding another in the seventh for an 8-3 lead. The teams exchanged runs the final two innings, giving Moose Jaw their five-run win.

Matt Vasquez continued his string of stellar showings in the month of July, picking up his second quality start of the season. Vasquez would allow three runs, none earned, on five hits over six innings and struck out a pair to earn his fifth win of the campaign.

Kaleb Waller rebounded nicely from a tough outing 24 hours earlier with a scoreless seventh and set the tone for a shutdown showing from Moose Jaw’s relievers — Triston Seitz pitched a scoreless eighth and Bobby Pokorney finished things off with a hitless ninth.

Pokorney also did plenty of damage at the plate, as the Express shortstop went 4-for-5 with a double, run scored and three runs batted in. Chaz Poppy also enjoyed a return to form, going 4-for-5 with a double and three runs scored while hitting in the spot above Pokorney. Austin Gurney was his usual self, going 2-for-4 with an RBI.

Dawson Tweet also had a base hit and crossed the plate twice while knocking in a run.  Since his WCBL-record 36-game hit streak ended, back on July 17, Tweet has hits in eight straight games and 44 of his last 45. His .440 average is 54 points better than the next player 

in the league and he also leads the WCBL in hits (81), runs (53), triples (five) and is tied for third in stolen bases (20).

The Miller Express are back in action on Thursday night when they host Swift Current. Game time is 7:05 p.m. at Ross Wells Park.