BY JAMES TUBB ON AUGUST 2, 2022.
The Medicine Hat Mavericks got beat Tuesday night.
The Mavericks were almost doubled up as they fell 9-5 to the Lethbridge Bulls at Athletic Park. Medicine Hat entered the contest on the heels of a 6-2 loss in Swift Current Monday against the 57’s.
Mavericks head coach Tyler Jeske said they have to tip their caps to the Bulls for their approach.
“I thought they put together extremely competitive, tough at bats, and they were making us earn every out,” Jeske said. “Garrett Nicholson’s pitch count got up there pretty quickly where it was like foul ball, foul ball, foul ball, and they’re battling with two and they, they didn’t give in. When we go back to it and talk about the difference, to me it’s a couple of critical strikeouts with runners in scoring position we didn’t take advantage of. We didn’t take advantage of all our opportunities with runners in scoring position and at the end of the day, you look at it and go, that’s where it starts.”
Mavericks starter Garrett Nicholson pitched three innings with four strikeouts but could not make it through the fourth inning due to multiple extended at bats that raised his pitch count. Zac Robinson took over on the mound and there threw innings himself with a strikeout.
Lethbridge struck first in the third inning as they plated two runs for the lead. The Mavericks answered back with a two RBI double from centre fielder Braden DeSonia, who had three hits in the loss. He said the Mavs need to clean some stuff up as they head into the playoffs.
“We’re just trying to clean some stuff up before we get into the playoffs and just focus on nine innings, playing some good baseball and we’re getting there slowly but surely,” DeSonia said.
The Bulls re-took the lead in the fourth as they scored two more runs to jump ahead 4-2.
The fourth inning also brought some concern for the Mavericks as catcher Andrew Savage was on the opposite end of some awkward contact at the plate and had to be removed from the game. Zach Stark, who started the game in right field, came in to catch and Josh Stark took over in right.
Jeske did not have an update after the game on his status but said he was impressed with how Stark performed after coming off the bench.
“Josh Stark was the highlight of the night,” Jeske said. “He’s been seeing increased playing time over the past month and he’d been out the last couple days and unavailable, so for him to bounce back like that, go right into a couple of diving catches, a double, that’s what it’s all about. It was Lou Gehrig who got into a game on someone else’s day off and seized the moment. Playing time is valuable, every time you have an opportunity to get in there it’s an opportunity to seize it and cement yourself in the lineup the next night. Josh Stark was outstanding tonight.”
Lethbridge scored two more runs in the fifth and seventh to jump ahead 8-2. Medicine Hat showed a little life as they scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh as first basemen Hunter Boylan crossed the plate on a wild pitch and second basemen Tory Nelson scored on a sacrifice fly.
The Bulls added another run in the eighth and the Mavericks answered with a run in the bottom of the ninth but it was too little as they ultimately fell 9-5.
The Mavericks(17-36) are off Wednesday before they host the Weyburn Beavers on Thursday at Athletic Park. Weyburn is the Mavericks for the final playoff spot in the WCBL’s East division by four wins. The Beavers also lost Tuesday, falling 9-1 to the Regina Red Sox.