By Randy Palmer
Pitching staff holds Gulls to only five hits in 3-0 win at Ross Wells Park, regular-season finale goes tonight
The Moose Jaw Miller Express pitching staff looked like they were ready for a long playoff run on Friday night against the Sylvan Lake Gulls.
Now the key will be to keep that momentum going.
Four Express pitchers combined to allow only five hits while holding the high-scoring Gulls without a run on their way to a 3-0 victory in Western Canadian Baseball League action at Ross Wells Park.
The win sees Moose Jaw holding a 37-18 record heading into the final game of the regular season, good enough for an eight-game lead over the Medicine Hat Mavericks. The Express clinched first place in the Division a week ago and will have home-field advantage through the first two rounds of the playoffs.
Zach Sigmon got the start for the Miller Express and was sharp, allowing only two hits and striking out a pair over four innings of work. Julian Gonzalez was his usual self with two innings of work and a single hit before Kellan Voggesser made a rare relief appearance and struck out the side while allowing a pair of hits. Haldon Craig tossed the last two frames and didn’t give up a thing, striking out four in the process.
Sylvan Lake’s Hunter Jones and Ty Boudreau were just as sharp for their team, and that meant the Express had to scratch and claw for their runs.
Moose Jaw hit the scoreboard in the fifth inning, thanks to Luke Lachance taking advantage of a pair of errors and scoring the opening run before Nate Mensik knocked home Bobby Pokorney with the second.
The insurance run came in the seventh when Julio Acosta hit a lead-off double and later scored on a single by Lachance.
All told, Moose Jaw had six hits on the night, with Mensik going 2-for-4 as the only player with multiple knocks.
The two teams played in front of one of the largest crowds of the season at Ross Wells, as a total of 892 fans took in the contest on a beautiful summer night. The pre-game also featured the opening ceremonies for the Sask Baseball 15U AAA Tier II provincial championship, which continues throughout the weekend at Blackwell Diamond.
The two teams wrap up their respective regular seasons on Saturday night at Ross Wells Park, with game time 7:05 p.m.
The Express will also be playing an exhibition game against the Baseball Sask 17U team on Sunday at 12 p.m., with no admission being charged. The concession and beer gardens will be open.
Moose Jaw then opens the 2023 WCBL playoffs on Monday night when they host the Swift Current 57’s for Game 1 at Ross Wells Park. Game time is 7:05 p.m.