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Pair of late runs the difference as Moose Jaw opens WCBL season with win over Weyburn

Soto, Houston put together solid games at the plate as Miller Express take 5-3 win over Beavers in Weyburn
Miller Express shortstop Thomas Soto had a solid game to open the 2024 Western Canadian Baseball League season in Weyburn on Friday night.

MOOSEJAWTODAY.COM -- Some timely late-game hitting from a pair of Moose Jaw Miller Express returning veterans proved to be the difference in their Western Canadian Baseball League season opener on Friday night.

A triple off the bat of Thomas Soto in the top of the seventh inning plated Nathan Houston with the eventual game-winning run, and the Miller Express would go on to a 5-3 victory over the Weyburn Beavers at Tom Laing Park in Weyburn.

The Beavers looked as if they would get out of the seventh without much damage, as starter Ryan Myers had just recorded a double play when Houston came up to bat. Houston’s two-out single would set the stage for Soto, who laced a triple to centre field for his second extra-base hit of the game.

Houston then factored into a key insurance run in the ninth, sending a shot to shortstop that would allow Garrett Dennis to score from second on an error for the 5-3 lead.

That was more than enough for closer Takeo Cookson, who was perfect in his first appearance as a member of the Express and retired the side on nine pitches.

Houston capped his night with a 3-for-4 showing, while Soto was 2-for-3 and also had a double in the second inning.

The Miller Express pitching staff held Weyburn to only four hits, with second-year veteran Ryan Muizelaar going 1-for-4 with a double and run batted in.

Both starters were plenty effective.

Bo Jacob Garza made his first-ever appearance for Moose Jaw and allowed two runs on two hits over four innings of work, striking out six and walking one. Tristan Eberle had a scoreless inning of relief before Express second-year veteran Matt Vasquez surrendered a single run on two hits over the next three innings.

On the other side of the diamond, Meyer was outstanding but was victimized by untimely errors. Only one of the four runs he allowed over seven innings was earned, and he’d scatter seven hits while striking out six. Owen McConnell pitched a scoreless eighth and Joe Hart allowed the one run in the ninth.

Other scores on opening day saw Fort McMurray take a 13-3 win over the Edmonton Prospects and the defending champion Okotoks Dawgs rolling to an 11-0 win over the Brooks Bombers.

The Miller Express are back in action for their home opener on Saturday night when they host the Medicine Hat Mavericks for the first of two weekend games at Ross Wells Park. First pitch Saturday and Sunday is 7:05 p.m.

The Beavers are back in action with a home-and-home with Swift Current, hosting the 57’s on Saturday and travelling to Mitchell Field on Sunday.

Be sure to keep an eye on for all the updated scores and standings.

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