By Randy Palmer
May 28th, 2023
Three-run third inning paces Moose Jaw to 11-4 victory in Western Canadian Baseball League action at Ross Wells Park
Now that’s more like it.
One night after dropping a 3-2 decision to the Weyburn Beavers in their Western Canadian Baseball League season-opener, the Moose Jaw Miller Express rebounded with an 11-4 victory in their first game of the campaign at Ross Wells Park.
Moose Jaw got things going in style in the second inning, as after lead-off hitter Austin Gurney was hit by a pitch, rookie Wyatt Tweet would take a 0-2 offering over the wall in right-centre field for a 2-0 lead.
Tweet would finish the game 4-for-5 with three runs scored and two runs batted in in his first start in an Express uniform.
“That was a really big team game,” Tweet said. “I got my opportunity and I was going to do what I can to produce for the team and I think everyone on this roster gets it and supports the next guy. Especially our pitching staff today, they were amazing and we just rolled through and got the job done.”
The contest marked the second straight night the Express had a decent outing from their starter. Matt Vasquez made his Millers debut and had a few control issues but for the most part managed to escape damage.
Weyburn scored their lone run off Vasquez in the third thanks to a bases-loaded wild pitch, but other than that he was able to get the job done, allowing the single run over three innings of work, surrendering a single hit, walking three and striking out four.
The Millers opened things up with three runs in the fifth, beginning when Nate Mensik knocked home Bobby Pokorney with a two-out single. One batter later, a pick-off attempt by Weyburn reliever Jared Hall would end up well down the first base line, allowing Chaz Poppy to score from second and Mensik to come all the way home from first with Moose Jaw’s fifth run.
The Weyburn pitching staff ran into control issues from there, as the next two relievers would surrender no less than eight walks over the next two innings, allowing the Express to put up two more runs in the sixth and four in the seventh to build an 11-4 edge.
“When a guy throws four straight balls, the next guy up is going to take the next one, at least,” Tweet said of letting the walks come as they may. “You always have to have plate discipline and if they’re going to give you a free base you have to take it.”
Once Vasquez left the game after the third, four relievers were able to keep Weyburn from putting together any major rallies.
Haldon Craig tossed the next three innings and held the Beavers scoreless while striking out three, Gabe Soto pitched the seventh and allowed three runs on three hits, Triston Seitz scattered two hits in a scoreless eighth and Myles Thomas closed things out, allowing two runs, one earned, while giving up a single hit.
The Miller Express are right back in action on Sunday afternoon as they travel to Regina to face the Red Sox. Tweet is expecting a tough game, but remains confident the team will get things done.
“It’s going to be a big test for us, but we’re ready, we know what we have to do for the team and we’ll execute.” he said.