McNabb's quick adjustment pays off

Matthew
Matthew Gourlie
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Express puts together strong team game in 9-2 win

Terry McNabb wasn't going to let his pride stand in the way of him being effective.

Terry McNabb pitches against the Saskatoon Yellow Jackets Thursday at Ross Wells Park.

After a slow start, the Moose Jaw Miller Express ace pitcher quickly changed his approach.

The results changed just as quickly.

McNabb gave up eight hits over eight innings, but only allowed two runs and struck out eight batters.

in a 9-2 Express win over the Saskatoon Yellow Jackets Thursday night in Western Major Baseball League action.

"Our guys came out and hit the ball well tonight. They got nine runs and when you can count on that — and they didn't make any errors — that's a good team effort," said McNabb who improved his record to 7-1 on the season.

There are still two weeks left in the regular season, but it was a huge divisional win for the Express. Their 19-16 record puts them 3.5 games behind Swift Current for the Central Division lead, but they're 5.5 games ahead of Saskatoon in the race for the final playoff spot in the division. It was the last meeting between the teams this season.

"We still have a little work to catch Swift Current, but this is huge," said McNabb. "Winning this game put us in a better position."

McNabb got off to a rough start as he hit a batter and then gave up consecutive singles. It was already 1-0 and McNabb had only thrown five pitches and hadn't recorded an out.

"It was a little tough. They were sitting dead-red fastball and my velocity was down," explained McNabb "Once I started mixing in the breaking balls and off-speed they were a little ahead on it. That's when you get the little roll-over ground balls and some strike outs and I started settling in."

Express head coach Michael Hunt gave McNabb credit for having the maturity to make the quick adjustment.

"He's kind of had to reinvent himself a little bit, which is what senior pitchers can do," said Hunt. "We all saw Terry three or four years ago and there wouldn't be (that maturity). It would be more 'might is right' and then downward spiral from there."

McNabb leads the WMBL with 62 innings pitched so far this season. Instead of trying to throw harder and challenge batters, he accepted that he didn't have his top velocity and decided to adapt.

"It a lot of the mental game. If they're sitting fastball then you know their approach at the plate too," said McNabb.

"It's frustrating, but I know I'm up there in inning coming off the spring and I'm getting up there for the summer. So your arm is going to be a little lagging. Once you can mix in your off-speed and accept that you should be all right. It's important that you can trust your off-speed and get it over for strikes."

McNabb's defence backed him up. They didn't commit any errors and rolled a couple of double-plays to keep the runs down.

"Defensively we played great behind him. He got us ground balls when we needed them. He got us fly balls when we needed them and we put a solid effort in behind him," said Hunt.

The Express tied the game in the bottom of the second inning and took the lead thanks to a Drew Danzeisen two-run single in the fourth. Dylan Hanson had a two-run single in the seventh to put the Express ahead 7-2 and Ben Douglas drove in his second run of the game with his second hit of the night.

"We maximized our opportunities to score," said Hunt.

Aidan Stinnett was 3-for-4 with three runs scored for the Express.

Jorge Pantoja pitched the ninth inning for Moose Jaw.

The Express will host Yorkton tonight at Ross Wells Park.

 

Organizations: Western Major Baseball League, Moose Jaw Miller Express

Geographic location: Swift Current, Saskatoon, Moose Jaw Yorkton

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