07/04/2013 12:22 AM -
July 3, 2013
It hadn't been the greatest night at the plate for Jon Cotter on Wednesday night, but he came through when he needed to, hitting a walk-off single in the 11th inning. That gave the Moose Jaw Miller Express a 2-1 win over the Edmonton Prospects in Western Major Baseball League action at Ross Wells Park.
The win ends a three-game losing skid for the Millers and get their confidence back after a tough Alberta road trip.
“It felt great, I hadn't been finding the barrel very much, not only tonight, but the last couple of games, so to find the barrel and come up clutch it feels great,” said Cotter, who finished 1-for-5 on the night.
“We've been in some situations like that before where we hadn't come through before, so it was great to come through with one and it's great for Jon Cotter,” said head coach Michael Hunt. “He's Mister Moose Jaw for a reason, so it's great to see him come through for the fans.”
The Millers played the 11th inning about as perfect as you can. After Hunter Johnson grounded out to lead off the inning, Matt Benn walked, Matt Kirk moved him over with a single and Cotter stroked the first pitch he saw to left field for the win.
“Matt Kirk did a great job today finding the gaps and finding the holes, and when we get guys on base and not so much for myself, but for the middle of the line-up, that's when we really get going,” said Cotter.
“We knew the bats would wake up a little bit, they still didn't really wake up, but they had enough life to get us the win and we just never gave up to be honest, that's how we play.”
The game was big for Moose Jaw coming off their 1-3 road trip to Alberta that included an 8-7 loss to Edmonton last Saturday. The team returned to a big crowd at Ross Wells and they sent them home happy.
“Back at home and winning was big after being on the road in Edmonton and Medicine Hat and not having a great road trip, but coming back to Ross Wells Park, playing in front of the fans, it's just great to get on the winning streak,” said Cotter.
“(The atmosphere) was awesome, seemed like it was pretty much filled up, they were into it, they were awesome.”
The game was well played on both sides with the two pitchers duelling it out for the first nine innings. Marshall Dean went nine innings, giving only one run on ten hits as he was able to get key ground balls with runners in scoring position to get out of innings. The Millers turned three double plays behind him and Kirk threw out three runners trying to steal.
On the other side, Michael Nelson was able to keep the Millers off balance throughout the game, finishing nine innings with one run against on five hits. He did walk four.
“That was just a classic pitchers duel,” said Hunt. “Their guy kept us off balance, threw a lot of strikes and we made a lot of contact, but it just didn't get very good contact, so I take nothing away from him, he threw really well. Marshall threw well, and it's unfortunate that those two starters ended up getting no decisions in the end, but it was just a great ball game.”
This was the third straight start that Dean has lasted through eight innings, and he's went at least seven innings in five of his six starts this season. “It's a bullpen saver because we know that we're going to get deep into the ball game and not have to piece together four, or five, innings of bullpen relief, so it's fantastic,” stated Hunt on Dean.
Jason Renner pitched two no-hit innings of relief to pick up the win. He gave up two walks, but they didn't cost him. Jordan Geiger took the loss for Edmonton.
The two teams will meet again on Thursday night at Ross Wells Park. First pitch is at 7:05pm.