June 20th, 2024

Mavericks split opening weekend in Moose Jaw

By JAMES TUBB on May 28, 2024.

NEWS PHOTO JAMES TUBB Medicine Hat Mavericks shortstop Blake Dale celebrates his fourth inning, two-run home run in the Mavs' 7-4 win Sunday at Moose Jaw over the Miller Express.

jtubb@medicinehatnews.com@ReporterTubb

The Medicine Hat Mavericks shook off the rust and picked up a win in their first weekend of action.

After dropping their first game of the season, losing 14-8 Saturday on the road to the Moose Jaw Miller Express, the Mavs bounced back with a 7-4 victory Sunday over Moose Jaw.

The Miller Express had two five-run innings in the win Saturday, leading 14-4 after six innings. The Mavs clawed back with four runs for the closer score.

In Sunday’s win, a pair of two-run home runs from Jordan Phillips and Blake Dale led the offence and the Mavs’ pitchers combined for nine strikeouts to hold Moose Jaw at bay.

Head coach Kevin Mitchell expects they’ll have a back-and-forth matchup with Moose Jaw all season and he was happy they were able to get their first win out of the way.

“The first two days in Moose Jaw against a really good ball club, to split it feels good,” Mitchell said. “I told the guys, the team we are now and the team will be at the end of July are a night and day difference. That means this group growing together and learning each other and how we do things. So I’m excited for that, I think the group we have is really strong and it’s going to be a fun summer.”

As a team the Mavs come out of the opening weekend with a .273 batting average, drawing 11 walks and 15 runs scored. They sit fifth in league average and drew the sixth most walks.

The team average is led by returning centrefielder Brody Gardner, whose hitting .625 after two games with five hits. Phillips is right behind with three knocks of his own, sporting a .444 average.

The Mavs were off Monday for FanFest and have Tuesday off as well before their home opener at Athletic Park on Wednesday and their first look at the WCBLs expansion franchise, the Saskatoon Berries.

Having seen the success of last season and what the atmosphere can be like at Athletic Park, Mitchell is already looking forward to that first game back at AP.

“I really can’t wait,” Mitchell said. “I think it’s going to be a great crowd all summer long and there’s no place like home.”

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