Express pick up first win

For a guy who hasn’t played competitive baseball in almost a year and half, Ben Dalke is sure having an impact in his first week with the Moose Jaw Miller Express.
The Castle Rock, Colorado product put together a 3-for-3 performance and knocked in four runs to lead the Express to their first victory of the season on Saturday, a 10-8 win over the Regina Red Sox.
The win improved the Express’ record to 1-2 after an 8-6 loss to Weyburn one night earlier.
Dalke is 6-for-8 with a home run and eight RBI in his first three games, with his .750 average leading the Western Major Baseball League and eight RBI placing him second.
“It was good, we had good offence finally for the first four innings, which is a new thing for us this year,” Dalke said of Saturday’s win. “We just need to clean it up defensively, pretty much. We keep having a few issues out there, but it’ll get straightened out. It’s coming a long and we’re going to get it soon, get this thing rolling.”
Dalke’s start to the season is made all the more impressive by the fact he sat out last season at Central Missouri with a torn ACL. As a result, his at bats against Swift Current were his first of the season.
“It was a long time coming and it felt good out there, hopefully everyone can expect to see that all season,” Dalke said.
Against Regina, the Express stormed out to a 7-l lead through the first two innings, scoring three in first and added four more in the second.
That looked like it would be more than enough run support for starter Hunter Kloke, who went four innings and gave up three runs on six hits. It was the third straight solid start for the Express pitching staff, after Bo Sheridan’s outing against Swift Current in the season opener and Mitchell Robinson’s quality start in the home opener on Friday.
Things haven’t been quite as solid in the field — the Express committed four errors against Weyburn and another two against Regina after a perfect showing defensively against Swift Current — and their bullpen has given up too many runs for comfort.
That’s all part of the early season feeling out process, said coach Michael Hunt.
“We’re still trying to run through our bullpen and see what we’re going to have,” he said. “We had a couple guys throw tonight who we hadn’t seen yet and we’re still trying to figure out what the pecking order is and it’s getting real clear.”
Seeing the offence pick things up with 13 hits against the Red Sox was also a positive sign, especially with how things went in the middle of the order — in addition to Dalke’s showing, catcher Zach Fascia was 3-for-4 with three runs scored and third baseman Adam Cook went 2-for-4 with an RBI.
“I’m really happy with the heart of our order right now and everyone else, at their schools they’re all guys who are counted on so it will be nice to have that at the bottom of the order, too,” Hunt said.
The Express return to action tonight in Regina before hosting the Melville Millionaires on Wednesday (7:05 p.m., Ross Wells).