July 16th, 2024

Mavs shake Sunday Scaries with 6-1 win Sunday

By James Tubb on June 16, 2024.

NEWS PHOTO JAMES TUBB Medicine Hat Mavericks' centre fielder Jordan Phillips signals himself self after scoring on wild pitch in the Mavs' 6-1 win Sunday at Athletic Park over the Moose Jaw Miller Express.

The Medicine Hat Mavericks shook off their Sunday woes.

The Mavs were in the drivers seat with a 6-1 win over the Moose Jaw Miller Express at Athletic Park, collecting their first win in an afternoon game.

“It was a good win right there, a Sunday win, we haven’t been good on the Sundays,” centre fielder Jordan Phillips said. “It’s nice to come out and play a clean game, have a good start out of Aiden (Lenzen) and swing it pretty well. It’s just good to break the Sunday streak, so the jitters are gone there.”

The Mavs had dropped their two previous Sunday afternoon games, both at Athletic Park. Medicine Hat came into the game Sunday off a dramatic, multi-comeback 13-2 walkoff win Saturday night over the Miller Express.

The theatrics continued into Sunday’s Father’s Day contest with an early showing of the Ump Show.

After a quick three outs in the top of the first inning, the Mavs got a runner on base with a single from Marshall Burke, extending his hit streak to 17 games. He moved up to second base on a wild pitch and appeared to score on a single from Brody Gardner.

Burke was called out at the plate by umpire Marcel Rossetto who then quickly ejected head coach Kevin Mitchell, without an obvious warning, when he questioned the call. The ejection was Mitchell’s first as a coach in the WCBL.

The 1,136 Mavs’ faithful in attendance share their distain for the new character of the ball game but were quickly satisfied with the Mavs bounce back.

Moose Jaw opened the scoring with their lone run of the game, notching a run in the second inning on a sacrifice fly to centre field.

Medicine Hat answered back in the bottom of the frame when Phillips scored on a wild pitch.

They took the lead in the third inning with a bases-loaded double play ball off the bat of Brady Bean, bringing in a run. Phillips plated a run with an infield single, beating out the throw from the Moose Jaw second baseman.

Phillips liked how the Mavs handled the early adversity and didn’t let the umpires distract the focus.

“It’s good to not be able to get down from it and to start blaming the umpires because of how we’re performing after that,” Phillips said. “It’s better that we came up from that and didn’t let it get on us and we just almost bounced back from it. We let it give us energy, not so much put us down. We get did a good job of doing that.”

The Mavs added another two runs in the fifth inning with Phillips scoring on a second wild pitch in the afternoon and Nick Thibodeau hitting an RBI double for the 5-1 lead.

As the offence rolled, Moose Jaw was held at bay by starter Aidan Lenzen. He worked five innings allowing the lone run and only one hit, surrendering three walks and striking out four batters. Lenzen stranded an one-out, bases-loaded jam in the fourth inning with a strikeout and a fly out to preserve the then 3-1 lead. He says he battled through some ailments early and credited his defence for the success.

“My arm was pretty sore from last week still and the mud affected me a little early on my shoes,” Lenzen said. “But once the sun came out and dried up,  it was much easier to get going. None of that would have been possible without the amazing defence we had behind us today, especially (Bean) in right field.”

Evan Gant took over on the mound in the sixth and continued the shutdown effort, allowing only two hits and two walks with two strikeouts in three innings of work.

The Mavs rounded out the offence with an RBI single from Thibodeau in the seventh, for his team leading 25th RBI and the final 6-1 lead.

Jon Shields worked the ninth inning and allowed two base runners on two walks but closed the door with a strikeout to preserve the win.

Assistant coach Tory Nelson, who took over the head coach duties and is credited with his first win as a coach, described the win as an all-around effort.

“The guys showed up, everyone was in a great mood and we went out and found that balance of fun and focus,” Nelson said. “It was a great team win from every side of the ball, our pitchers held them to three hits which helped us out a lot. We had 13 hits  and we had some really crazy plays on defence.”

Mitchell’s ejection allowed Nelson to work as a third base coach and injured infielder Tyler Vanneste to take over the first base coaching duties. Nelson was all smiles when talking about notching his first coach win and he enjoyed working with Vanneste on the bases.

“It was a lot of fun, I was enjoying it, throwing signs on and everything was good,” Nelson said.

“We were talking, (Vanneste) and I are probably the best looking first and third base coach in the league.”

The Mavs (11-6) are off Monday before they head back on the road for three straight games, opening up a six-game stretch. They’re at Weyburn on Tuesday to face the Beavers before they head to Moose Jaw for a two-game set against the Miller Express.

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