The Medicine Hat Mavericks put on a show in their home opener last night with a commanding 13-8 victory over the Saskatoon Berries in what can only be described as dominating via the long ball.

It started right as the game did for the Mavs with a quick 1, 2, 3 inning which included two strikeouts from starter Jack Novak making his first appearance as a starter for the team. 

The bats would be giving their shot in the bottom of 1, and boy did they take advantage of a slow start from Berries starter Cory Lawson who gave up a home run to Brody Gardner on only his 6th pitch of the game. Gardner only had one Home Run all of last season for Medicine Hat, so he’s off to a scorching hot start. 

The runs wouldn’t stop there as in the latter half of the inning Nick Thibodeau would muscle a shot over the wall to drive in 3 more runs. If you thought that would be it for Thibodeau you would be wrong, as he was able to tattoo yet another ball over the center field wall for a two-run jack.

The Mavs saw one more player find the grass beyond Athletic Park and that was Jordan Phillips who knocked in his second home run of the season to give the Mavs a commanding lead in the 7th Inning. 

Last year the Mavs struggled to hit the long ball with Brady Bean leading the team in homers with 6. They did however find success within stealing and piling on loads of hits. This year it seems that the crew is playing like Mashers rather than Mavericks. 

For the Berries, they managed to put up their highest run total of the season at 8, topping their previous total by 4 runs. A solo dart into right courtesy of Aaron Martinez kept the Berries in the game late, but couldn’t find a way to scramble back.

A recurring theme throughout the game for the Berries was leaving the bases loaded to end innings as they struggled to push runners across the plate when given the chance. They did have 3 players with 3 hits but the timing of the hits was often not ideal or led to a dead end. 

The Berries also had to use 4 pitchers in this game with Cory Lawson exiting after two tough innings none of their pitchers lasted more than two innings and each of them gave up 2 or more runs.

It didn’t help that the Berries defense was dormant most of the night with 3 errors and one uncharged error that went right through the five-hole of shortstop Gage Driskell. If the Berries want to get revenge on the Mavs in the second game of this series they will have to tighten up their play in the field. 

Overall the Mavericks seemed like they had the game under control most of the way, Saskatoon had their pushes, but the Mavs were able to keep the tide at bay and ultimately squish the Berries in their 2024 home opener.