By every conceivable metric, Moose Jaw Miller Express outfielder Nate Mensik has had an impressive start to his Western Canadian Baseball League career.
On Tuesday night at Ross Wells Park, he wrote another chapter in what has already become a storybook season not only for the Doane University product but the Express in general.
With his team trailing the Swift Current 57’s 4-3 with two out in the bottom of the ninth, Mensik hit a two-run home run to give Moose Jaw a 5-4 walk-off victory, touching off a raucous celebration at home plate as the Millers took solid control of first place in the WCBL’s East Division.
“We grinded the whole game, we grind it out and keep playing our ball, keep doing us and we’re unstoppable,” Mensik told Joe Gunnis with the Miller Express after the game. “We’re a good team, I love these guys”
The Express improved to 17-7 on the season and are now four games up on Swift Current for top spot in the East Division. Their 8-2 record in their last 10 contests is also best in the WCBL.
A two-run home-run off the bat of Matthew Ward gave the 57’s a 3-1 lead in the fourth inning, and Swift Current took their 4-3 lead in the seventh, leading to the dramatic finale.
57’s reliever Tejean Smith had allowed a single hit and a single run in eight appearances for Swift Current leading up to the ninth inning, and it looked as if things wouldn’t be a whole lot different this time around, as he quickly got a fly-out and strikeout to get Moose Jaw to their last swings of the bat.
The Express have had a quick-strike offence throughout the season, though, and when things happened, they happened quickly -- Zach Campbell singled on 2-2 offering from Smith, and Mensik finished things off with his sixth home-run of the season on batter later for the walk-off win.
Mensik now has a league-best six home runs and sits fourth in the WCBL with 22 runs batted in to go along with his .347 average.
Cameron Dunn made his first appearance of the season on the mound for Moose Jaw and turned in a solid showing, allowing three runs on six hits in five innings of work and striking out three.
Triston Setiz tossed 1 ⅔ innings of relief and allowed a single run before giving way to eventual winning pitcher Nick Hill, who gave Moose Jaw the chance for the comeback with 2 ⅓ innings of relief, allowing two hits and striking out a pair.
The Express once again cracked double digits in hits, with Campbell, Parker Dorrance and Bryan Reyes each finishing with 2-for-4 and a run scored. Hunter Barrett also had a pair of hits and knocked in a run.
The Miller Express are back in action tonight when they travel to Regina to face the Red Sox.
Extra innings… Fans looking for a fun night at the ballpark on Canada Day will be able to get an early start to the festivities against the Weyburn Beavers… the Miller Express are hosting a special Tailgate Party from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., including a beer gardens with Beer Batter prices (two for $8)... Tickets are for the party and the game and are $5 for students (through university age), two for $15.50 or $10 each for adults. Youngsters under 12 years are admitted to the game for free… the event will include a special auction of the Canada Day Miller Express jerseys as well as plenty of giveaways throughout the night.