By Randy Palmer August 8th, 2023
Moose Jaw takes 7-2 victory in Game 1 of East Division semifinal, can finish series tonight in Swift Current
The Moose Jaw Miller Express opened the 2023 Western Canadian Baseball League playoffs on a high note Monday night at Ross Wells Park, rolling to a 7-2 victory over the Swift Current 57’s in Game 1 of the East Division semifinal.
As a result, they can finish off the best-of-three series tonight when Game 2 takes place at Mitchell Field in Swift Current.
It was the 57’s who struck first in Game 1, as a two-run home run off the bat of Brody Alexandre in the second inning gave his crew a 2-0 lead.
Austin Gurney hit a solo shot of his own in the bottom of the inning, though, and Moose Jaw just steadily plugged away from there.
Dawson Tweet knocked in Thomas Soto and Bobby Pokorney with runs in the third inning, Greyson Barrett hit a solo home run in the fourth, and Tweet and Soto crossed the plate in the fifth to make it a 6-2 Moose Jaw lead.
The Miller Express pitching staff kept things handled on their end, and once Alexandre’s round tripper was out of the way, it was lights out.
Kellen Voggesser got the start and gave up the two runs on a pair of hits and struck out four in two innings of work before Julian Gonzalez tossed four shutout innings to earn the win. He’d allow a single hit in that span, striking out five and walking three.
Two of their top starters went next, as Ethan Merk allowed two hits and struck out a pair in the seventh and Matt Vasquez struck out two and walked one in the eighth. Triston Seitz then finished things off, walking a pair in the ninth but facing no further damage.
Tweet picked up right where he left off in the regular season, finishing Game 1 3-for-5 with a run scored and three runs batted in, while Gurney was 2-for-4 with a pair of RBI. Soto had a pair of walks to go along with his two runs in five trips to the plate.
Matt Williams took the loss for Swift Current, who had only five hits total on the night.
There were no upsets on the opening night of the playoffs, as Okotoks took an 8-0 win over Fort McMurray, Medicine Hat defeated Regina 11-3 and Sylvan Lake downed Lethbridge 13-4.
Game 2 goes tonight in Swift Current, with Game 3 Wednesday at the Ross Wells Park if necessary. The speed of the WCBL playoffs will see the East Division final start later this week and WCBL Championship Series early next week.
Photos by Randy Palmer