A young Moose Jaw Devons team got a lot of experience in their season opening game.
The Moose Jaw AAA midget baseball team squandered two big leads over nine long innings in Saskatchewan Premier Baseball League action Wednesday night. The Devons lost 15-14 on the road to the Swift Current Indians.
“It was a little bit of everything last night,” said Devons head coach Don Anderson. “I don’t think it was a game either coach was too impressed with, but it was our first game of the year.
“I was especially happy with our pitchers. The scoreboard might not indicate it, but I was. Out pitchers were pitching to contact. The defence wasn’t quite what we need it to be yet. We were getting ground balls and fly balls. Two or three weeks from now we’ll be turning double plays and making those routine outs.”
The newly re-christened midget ball club got off to a great start as they roared out to a 9-0 lead after three innings. The Devons took advantage of some Indians errors and benefitted from a great start by pitcher Payton Hillsdon.
“Payton Hillsdon was locked in for the first couple of innings. I don’t think they hit a ball out of the infield in the first two innings,” said Anderson.
The Devons used some timely hits combined with some walks and errors to pull ahead.
“We were capitalizing on everything they were giving us, but by the same token we were putting the pressure on them too. We were hitting and running and opening some holes up,” said Anderson. “The kids had some good ABs. They took an aggressive approach and didn’t get behind in too many counts.”
The team had Hillsdon on a strict pitch count and he began to run out of steam in the fourth inning. He left the bases loaded with two out in the fourth when he made way for Dalton Kaake. The first batter he faced tripled in three runs as the Indians tied the game 9-9.
Incredibly it stayed that way for four more innings.
The Devons finally found a breakthrough and went ahead 14-9 and felt they had things well in hand once again. Instead the wheels fell off in the bottom of the inning as the Indians rallied to score six to win the game.
The Devons will host the Saskatoon Cubs (1 p.m., Ross Wells Park) Sunday in their home opener.