By Lethbridge Herald on June 2, 2015.
Southern Alberta Newspapers
The reigning Western Major Baseball League champion Medicine Hat Mavericks returned to the diamond at Athletic Park Monday, but struggled to gather steam offensively in a 5-1 loss to the Lethbridge Bulls.
â€œIâ€™m a little disappointed with our start right now,â€ said Mavericks head coach Adam Shorsher, whose team fell to 0-3. â€œItâ€™s not an effort thing, itâ€™s not a desire thing, itâ€™s coming to the park ready to play at game time.â€
Mavericks starting pitcher Brady Moxham was lights out in his debut, striking out a pair and allowing one run on six hits through 7 2-3 innings. Unfortunately the Bulls beat up on Medicine Hatâ€™s bullpen in the ninth after Moxham left the rubber.
â€œThat was just an outstanding start for the young man. I hope we can keep him around for the length of the summer. He pitched brilliantly and gave us a chance to win, we just couldnâ€™t come up with any timely hits,â€ said Shorsher, adding the team will beef up its bullpen as college players return to the roster in the coming days. â€œThose guys have an outstanding bullpen so itâ€™s going to be difficult to score runs late on them, but it will be a different outcome hopefully in a couple of weeks.â€
Lethbridge picked up a 1-0 lead on an RBI infield single from Bretton Gouthro in the second inning, and carried it all the way to the ninth before riding a four-run rally and chasing Mavs relievers Bryce Feia and Cody Florkowski from the mound. The Mavericks finally managed to generate some offence in the bottom of the ninth, with Andy Scott driving in Medicine Hatâ€™s lone run of the game on a fielderâ€™s choice, but it wasnâ€™t enough to erase the deficit.
Moxham added, while frustrating, it was ultimately a positive start to his season as a Maverick, especially in front of 1,071 cheering fans at Athletic Park.
â€œIâ€™ve never been in an atmosphere with this big a crowd. The fans are awesome,â€ said Moxham. â€œI did my job and got a lot of ground balls. The guys helped me a lot defensively. Itâ€™s a great group of guys with a lot of talent. Weâ€™ll figure it out and turn things around right away.â€
Bulls starter Luke Hebert had an even stronger night on the mound, holding the Mavs without a hit for the first three innings and allowing only three total hits before leaving the mound through six.
â€œWe knew they were going to have a good crowd out here, so itâ€™s tough to win in this yard every single year. But the guys came out and gave us a chance to win at the end of the game, and Luke came out and had a very good start for us,â€ said Bulls head coach Ryan MacDonald, adding theyâ€™ll be expecting an even stiffer challenge against the Mavs tonight in Lethbridge. â€œTheyâ€™ve always got quality guys on the team, guys that can swing, theyâ€™ve got some good arms in the â€˜pen, so weâ€™re looking forward to another close game tomorrow.â€
Jared Bell will start on the mound for Medicine Hat tonight in Lethbridge as the Mavs look for revenge against the Bulls at 7:05 p.m. at Spitz Stadium.