June 18th, 2024

Mavs drop season opener Saturday

By James Tubb on May 25, 2024.

NEWS PHOTO JAMES TUBB Medicine Hat Mavericks centre fielder Brody Gardner squares up a pitch in an at bat during the Mavs 14-8 loss Saturday at Moose Jaw to the Miller Express.

The Medicine Hat Mavericks chance at a perfect record was lost Saturday.

The Mavs lost the opening game of the 2024 WCBL season, falling 14-8 at Moose Jaw to the Miller Express.

Head coach Kevin Mitchell likes what he saw from his team despite the loss.

”We had 14 hits, I thought the aggressiveness was good, we had put some really quality at bats together,” Mitchell said. “Aside from that, we lined some balls into gloves and it didn’t go our way, I mean that’s baseball in a nutshell. So I feel really good about where we’re at and the guys, there was no panic obviously in this group.

”It’s one game and there’s a reason we play 56, I love the way this league is set up where pretty much every day we play tomorrow and that’s the case tomorrow. So I’m not going to read too much into this one. Moose Jaw is a good ball club and I think we’re going to battle back and forth with him all year long.”

Moose Jaw opened the scoring in the bottom of the second inning, led by a grand slam off the bat of Austin Gurney.

Medicine Hat answered back with four runs in the top of the third.

A two-RBI double from centre fielder Brody Gardner was supplemented with an RBI single from first baseman Jordan Phillips. Shortstop Blake Dale drove in the fourth run with a bases loaded, sacrifice hit in the infield.

Mitchell was encouraged by the Mavs bounce back fourth inning.

”It’s great to see, it’s been a weird start to the summer with the weather we’ve had over the last week and shake a little bit of the rust off,” Mitchell said. “They go up and put up a five spot and for the guys to come back, lock in and get it back to a one-run ballgame is huge. If we do that consistently all summer long, we’re going to be in really good shape.”

Moose Jaw picked up their offence, scoring nine runs in three innings for a 14-4 lead through six frames.

Medicine Hat starter John Walsh was lifted in the bottom of the fourth, allowing six earned runs with five strikeouts in 3.1 innings of work. Jack Novak took over on the bump and had three punch outs with six earned runs in 1.2 innings.

Ryan Dexter worked two clean innings, recording four strikeouts.

The Mavs chipped away in the seventh and eighth.

Nick Thibodeau scored on a wild pitch in the seventh and Micah Dvorak crossed the plate on an error by the Moose Jaw shortstop. An RBI single from Marshall Burke drove in the third run off the frame.

Gardner scored on a wild pitch in the eighth to make it a 14-8 game, the final score.

Lane McEachern worked the eighth inning on the mound for the Mavs, with two strikeouts.

Medicine Hat outhit Moose Jaw 14-12 and had four errors to the Miller Express’ one.

The Mavs are back in action Sunday at Moose Jaw with a 7:05 p.m. first pitch.

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