By Randy Palmer

Defensive miscues lead to big inning for Mavericks, 10-5 victory for visitors at Ross Wells Park

The Moose Jaw Miller Express have been a solid defensive team for much of the Western Canadian Baseball League season, but it doesn’t take much for things to get out of hand in a league this competitive.

Case in point, Tuesday night against the Medicine Hat Mavericks: a pair of defensive miscues to open the seventh inning led to the Mavericks putting up six runs and going on to a 10-5 victory at Ross Wells Park.

The loss puts a hit on Moose Jaw’s quest to finish first overall in the league and receive home field advantage throughout the playoffs, as they fell to 35-17 and sit two games back of the West Division-leading Okotoks Dawgs and Sylvan Lake Gulls with four games remaining in the regular season.

It was a great start for Moose Jaw regardless of the outcome. A two-run single by Austin Gurney made it a 2-0 game in the first inning, and a two-run double by Thomas Soto keyed a three-run second inning and gave the Express a 5-0 lead through two.

The Mavericks got three runs back in the third, though, and there things remained until the six-run seventh gave Medicine Hat the lead for good.

Gurney was the only member of the Express with more than one hit, as he went 2-for-4 with his two RBI.

Matt Vasquez got the start for Moose Jaw and went four innings, allowing three runs on five hits and striking out five. Zach Sigmon got through the fifth and sixth unscathed but took the damage in the seventh, allowing five unearned runs. Haldon Craig got a single out, walked a pair and allowed a run before Triston Seitz finished the frame off and tossed a scoreless eighth. Kaleb Waller allowed a single unearned run in the ninth.

Moose Jaw did all their damage off starter Adam Golby, but reliever Nicholas Spidel proved to be all but untouchable, as he’d go the remaining 7 ? and hold the Express to a single hit while striking out seven.

The Miller Express and Medicine Hat do it all over again on Wednesday night, with game time at 7:05 p.m. at Ross Wells Park. The Express then travel to Sylvan Lake for what could be a crucial, first-place-deciding series, with those contests taking place Friday and Saturday.

Extra innings… The first round of the playoffs is tentatively slated to start Monday at Ross Wells Park, with Moose Jaw facing either the Mavericks or Regina Red Sox depending on how things finish between those teams.