Chris Untereiner of the Regina Red Sox slides into second base as Moose Jaw Miller Express second baseman Jon Cotter reaches down for the ball he dropped on the transfer in the second inning of Regina's 4-3 win on Saturday night. Scott Jones (left) and Lee Voth-Gaeddert of the Express watch the play. Times-Herald photo by Myles Fish
The seasons could not have begun more differently, but the 2011 campaign for the Moose Jaw Miller Express ended similarly to the one prior, with the Regina Red Sox celebrating a berth in the Western Major Baseball League (WMBL) final while the Express watched.
Ending the season losing three straight after sweeping a series themselves is perhaps fitting for the Express, who opened the regular season with five straight wins and had midseason streaks of five consecutive wins, but also six and seven straight setbacks.
The Express finished the regular season 17-24, winning fewer games than in 2010, but arguably gave Regina a better second round series in 2011 than when they lost in five games the year prior. This time, two of Regina’s wins were by way of the walkoff, games that could have went the other way “in a heartbeat.”
What hurt Moose Jaw at times in 2011 was sloppy fielding, as errors often did in the Express in winnable games. Express coach Michael Hunt said, for the team to advance past the second round in future years, consistency is a must-have.
But Hunt chose to characterize the season as one where his team showed a lot of adversity and heart.
“From day one in my first year I wanted to build the team around grit and drive and heart and we showed a lot of that this year, especially with the adversity we had with some guys getting sick — we had some position guys throw a few innings because of how thin our pitchers were — and having to send some guys home for various reasons,” said Hunt.
For more on this story, read Monday's Times-Herald.