Express lose to Cardinals

Katie Brickman
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Team back in town Thursday for a three-game home stand

Losing focus came back to hurt the Moose Jaw Miller Express.

Todd Leavitt of the Moose Jaw Miller Express throws from the mound at Ross Wells Park earlier this season. Times-Herald photo by Katie Brickman

A five-run eighth inning by the Yorkton Cardinals broke open the game and sunk the Express 6-3 in Western Major Baseball League action.

“We played error-free baseball up until that point and in the eighth inning, it wasn’t that,” said Michael Hunt, head coach of the Express. “I think we just lost concentration for about 10 minutes.”

Todd Leavitt pitched a gem into the sixth inning, before the Cardinals broke up his no-hit bid.

He threw 114 pitched in 7 1-3 innings, giving up four runs on six hits, walked one and struck out six.

“He was just getting loose. I know his pitch count was up, but he had plenty of tank and we rolled the dice,” stated Hunt.

Josh Janzen came in as relief and pitched two-thirds of an inning, giving up two runs on two hits, but the damage had already been done.

Almost every batter had a hit on Tuesday, but the Express left 11 runners on base, including eight in the middle to late innings.

“We had guys in scoring position,” said Hunt.

As good as Leavitt was, the Cardinals challenged with lefty Clay Rideout and he was strong in his 6 2-3 innings.

“The guy they threw was really effective and he was an off-balance pitcher and he kept us off-balance,” said Hunt. “He did his job well.”

Rideout allowed just two runs on 10 hits, walked one and struck out four.

Although the loss stung and stopped a two-game winning streak for the Express, it worked for a good lesson.

“It makes us vulnerable. It makes us human. These guys can do all they want at the plate, but it has to be a complete game all the way around,” said Hunt. “It is a little punch in the gut and we will see how we come back. We will see what we can do to revive ourselves on Thursday.”

The Express will return to the diamond on Thursday when the Saskatoon Yellow Jackets come to Moose Jaw (7 p.m., Ross Well Park).

“We’ve had some success against that,” said Hunt. “That doesn’t mean we will again, but we will certainly have a bitter taste in our mouth from today. That is a little extra motivation, if we needed any.”

Austin Russell went 2-for-5 with a double and RBI. Miles Hunter and Frank Pluskota also had RBI.

Follow Katie on Twitter @katiebrickman.

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