BY JAMES TUBB ON AUGUST 9, 2022.
The Medicine Hat Mavericks are moving on to the East finals.
The Mavericks swept their East semi-finals series Tuesday night with a 3-2 win in Game 2 against the Regina Red Sox. Medicine Hat entered the contest after beating the Red Sox 11-7 Monday night in Regina to take the lead in their best-of-3 series.
Tuesday’s contest marked the first WCBL playoff action in Medicine Hat and at Athletic Park since 2019. Mavericks head coach Tyler Jeske said the game and the fans in attendance gave him a night he will remember for a long time. He said while the win Tuesday is a great feeling, he is already looking towards the next round.
“Tip your cap to Regina, they’re a very quality team, that was a battle, it was an absolute battle, that game was a grind,” Jeske said. “(I’m) not shocked that it came down to one run. Yeah, we won the series, but Moose Jaw is gonna be just as tough. That one is going to be a grind, they can swing it, they can pitch and play sound defence. That’s going to be a battle as well.”
The Mavericks will meet the Moose Jaw Miller Express in the East finals after they swept the Swift Current 57’s in their East semi-finals matchup.
Regina got on the board first with a run in the first inning before the Mavericks answered back, scoring a combined three runs in the second and third innings to take a 3-1 lead.
Catcher Zach Stark, down two strikes, hit a two RBI single in the second inning to give the Mavericks their lead. They added to the lead in the third with a RBI single from designated hitter Hunter Cooper who knocked in Braden DeSonia from third base after the centre fielder stole both second and third base.
Stark pointed to the crowd of 1,302 fans in attendance Tuesday night after the Mavericks sealed the win. He said the gesture was him saying to the fans, that the Mavericks want to win for them.
“They’ve had our back all season,” Stark said. “They’re still out here after we’ve been through a lot as a team, and they’re still sticking around. They were the loudest I’ve ever heard them. That shows a lot to us and we want to win for them.”
Isaiah Bartels started the game for the Mavericks and he pitched four innings with three strikeouts while only allowing three hits and one run to score. Zac Robinson took over in the fifth and worked three innings of his own with two strikeouts and was credited with the win.
He was lifted in the top of the eighth with runners on the corners and no one out for Mathew Krall. The Texan got out of the inning while only allowing one run as the Mavericks lead was cut to 3-2.
Krall was back out on the mound for the top of the ninth and after allowing two Red Sox to get on base with a single and a hit by pitch, Krall shut the door to seal the Mavericks 3-2 win. While eating his postgame popcorn, Krall described the atmosphere of the moment as, “electric.”
“Playoff baseball is electric, all the fans showing up it was very fun going up there, last out, everyone clapping their hands, it was very electric,” Krall said.
The Mavericks get are off Wednesday and Thursday before they head to Moose Jaw on Friday to begin the East finals. Game 2 of that best-of-3 series will return to Athletic Park on Saturday with the potential tie-breaker set for Sunday back in Moose Jaw.