Mavs complete six-run comeback for 10th inning walkoff win ...

16 Jun 2024

By James Tubb on June 15, 2024.

NEWS PHOTO JAMES TUBB Medicine Hat Mavericks shortstop Jonny Vulcano sprints through the outfield celebrating his walk-off sacrifice fly in the 10th inning of the Mavs' 13-12 comeback win Saturday at Athletic Park over the Moose Jaw Miller Express.

Mavs - Figure 1
Photo Medicine Hat News

The Medicine Hat Mavericks have been looking for the middle ground between the highs and lows they’ve experience this season. They’ve been on both sides of blowouts and big innings and are trying to get to what had coach Kevin Mitchell describes as a level of homeostasis. Saturday night at Athletic Park started at a low before resiliency brought the Mavs to their highest point. A sacrifice fly to centre field from Johnny Vulcano in the 10th inning capped off a six-run comeback for the Mavs, beating the Moose Jaw Miller Express. “I’m kind of speechless right now, that was a lot of fun,” Mitchell said postgame. “I’m really proud of our guys, the way they battled and the way they adjusted throughout the game. Moose Jaw has some guys who are really good and they showed that early on and kind of punched us in the mouth. We kept our composure and  I mentioned those adjustments, guys understanding that we can’t get it all back at once. They took what was available to them. And when you do that, it can lead to big innings and that’s what happened.” It was a win for the Mavs that provided a bounce back after allowing seven runs in the eighth inning the night prior, a 9-2 loss at Regina to the Red Sox. “Having a win like that, coming back from six runs, it’s just a testament of this team,” Vulcano said. “We just never really give up, no matter what the situation is. Once we were down six, it seemed like everyone’s approach at the plate changed. Everyone was just going up there trying to get on, get a guy over and  that was the key for us to coming back and winning the game.” The Mavs also received shutdown pitching out of the bullpen. Starter Braeden Davis was lifted in the fourth inning, allowing seven runs on nine hits, two walks with three strikeouts, Brett Getz worked 3.1 frames allowing three runs (two earned) on three hits, two walks and two strikeouts. Dylan Runge took over in the seventh and Moose Jaw grabbed two runs then but were held scoreless for three frames. Runge allowed only three hits and two walks, recording three strikeouts. He didn’t surrender a hit in the last three innings after Medicine Hat tied it up, which included stranding the extra inning runner at third base to give the Mavs the walk-off opportunity. “With a guy like Dylan Runge  shutting it down for four innings, just so massive for us,” Vulcano said. “We don’t come out on top if Dylan doesn’t go out there and shove.” Moose Jaw opened the scoring with two runs in the first inning. They added another in the top of the third that was matched by an RBI double from Brody Gardner to make it a 3-1 game. The Miller Express added another four runs in the top of the fourth, again matched by a pair of Mavs’ runs in the bottom of the frame on a two-run home run from Nick Thibodeau. After a single tally from Moose Jaw in the fifth, Medicine Hat notched three runs on an RBI single from Brady Bean and a two-RBI single from Thibodeau to make it a 8-6 game. Moose Jaw jumped ahead with four runs in the seventh that started with controversy. The second Miller Express batter hit a ball to Vulcano who threw it to Evan Morrison at first, pulling him off the bag. The Medicine Hat product applied what looked to be a tag and the runner was called out by the first base umpire. After a petition by the Moose Jaw coaches, first base umpire Brian Stehr and home plate umpire Matt Benn met and the latter called the runner safe. Mitchell offered his own petition but was not entertained by Benn as his counterpart had been. The explanation given to Mitchell was that Benn took over the call and never saw a tag. “His explanation was that it was his call and that he did not tag him, at least by his view,” Mitchell said. The Miller Express took advantage of the frustration around Athletic Park and notched four runs in the frame for a 12-6 lead. The Mavs chipped away with six runs to tie the game up at 12-12. Micah Dvorak drew a bases-loaded walk, Marshall Burke knocked in two runs with a single and Gardner drove in another with a double of his own. A sacrifice hit in the infield by Bean and an RBI single from Jordan Phillips evened the game up and set up the dramatics. Medicine Hat pushed in the eighth with runners on first and second but couldn’t score. Neither team managed momentum in the ninth and after Runge continued his excellence on the mound in the top of the 10th, the stage was set for the Mavs’ to play hero. Morrison led the inning off and forced an error with a single to the second baseman, moving the pinch runner Jayden Babiuk from second to third. After seeing a first pitch strike, Vulcano called game with the deep-fly to centre field for the sacrifice game winning run. “I got an at bat in the eighth and I ended up striking out on it and I was pretty upset, I was just thinking if I got a chance later in the game, if I had a chance to win the game, I was going to come through,” Vulcano said. “With Evan getting on and getting the guy over it helped out big time. “I was just thinking, if I get anything up in the zone, I’m just gonna try to hit a fly ball and let that guy score and lucky enough, that’s what happened.” The Mavs (10-6) host the Miller Express for a rematch on Sunday at Athletic Park. Mitchell says he’d be okay with a less dramatic win but more so, he wants his team to keep playing simple. “Fill up the zone, our pitchers need to trust their stuff, they’re good enough to get these guys out when they execute,” Mitchell said. “Play sound defence, and have a good approach at the plate. If you do that, that’s what we can control, that’s our part of it. I we do those things, I’ll be happy.”

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