It was a clean sweep for Estevan Minor Baseball’s AA teams on Sunday as both the bantam Sherritt Coal Haulers and peewee TS&M Tornados won both games of their doubleheaders at home.
The Haulers took on the Moose Jaw Mallards in their home opener and had no trouble with the visiting club, winning the first game 7-2 and thumping them 12-1 in a second game that required only five innings.
“I think we got a chance to have our guys see enough at-bats today to get them into a rhythm. Now that we’ve had a few at-bats, I think this is a good indicator of what we’ll see this year,” said Haulers head coach Kent Phillips.
In the first game, both teams started off slow, with the Haulers breaking the ice in the third inning when Bailey Lonsberry singled, stole second and went home on an error at third base.
The Mallards took the lead in the top of the fifth, scoring a pair of runs on a passed ball and a wild pitch.
But the Haulers responded in the bottom of the inning as Mitchell Clark and Kyler Phillips scored on a combination of a Ty Brown single and an error at second base.
Estevan then broke the game open in the sixth with four runs.
Carson Perkins scored on a passed ball, Brandon Hutt came in on a wild pitch, and then Mac Fichter and Damon Hutt were each walked and came in to score.
“We started off a little bit slow, as to be expected; it’s our first game this year,” said Phillips. “But as the pitchers wore in and we saw a few more at-bats and guys got a little more comfortable — we got some guys with some butterflies who have never played AA ball before — they got a little more comfortable as we went along too.”
The Haulers continued where they left off to start the second game, knocking in five runs in the first inning.
Preston Hutt hit a leadoff single, stole second, and scored on consecutive singles by Clark and Colton Gingras, who both also scored. Phillips singled, stole second and came in on an error at shortstop, followed by Lonsberry scoring on an error by the catcher.
Moose Jaw got on the board in the second when one of their players accomplished a rare steal of home.
The Haulers were then held scoreless for three innings before exploding for seven runs in the fifth.
Leadoff batter Perkins was hit by a pitch, stole second and crossed the plate on a passed ball. Cole Piche reached on an error and also scored on a passed ball.
Two forceouts later, the Haulers went on to score five runs with two outs.
Preston Hutt reached on a fielder’s choice, got to third on a pair of passed balls and was then walked home.
Clark and Gingras also came in to score, and then Brandon Hutt came in on a passed ball after stealing third.
Phillips was plated on a single by Lonsberry to end the scoring for the Haulers.
The game was called after the fifth inning.
Phillips said he felt Brandon Hutt, Lonsberry, Phillips, Perkins and Gingras were among the standouts on the day. Hutt was playing with a broken finger.
“The pitchers did very well,” he added. “I knew we had some good pitching coming in, but I was even pleasantly surprised because Brandon Hutt can’t throw yet because of the broken finger and Jesse Mack, our regular catcher and our closer, was sick. If we can do this well without our two top pitchers, then we did quite well behind them.”
Phillips said the team’s fielding was a positive on Saturday and he expects that to continue.
“I think that’s going to come down to be a real asset for us this year. Our infield is going to be very tight and I think we’ve got some guys who can track the ball in the outfield and read the ball very well off the bat.”
The Haulers were supposed to visit the Regina White Sox for a doubleheader on Saturday, but it was postponed because the Sox didn’t have enough players. The game has been rescheduled for June 24.
The Haulers are playing at the Legasse tournament in Regina this weekend.