It was harder than expected, but ultimately the Estevan Sherritt Coal Haulers survived their first game of the Baseball Regina bantam AAA playoffs.
A walk-off home run by lead-off hitter Brandon Hutt in the bottom of the seventh inning gave the Haulers a 6-5 victory over the eighth-place Moose Jaw Mallards in the quarter-finals on July 10 at Cactus Park.
That sent the Haulers to a semifinal game last night against the second-place Regina Pacers (14-5).
Haulers head coach Kent Phillips said his squad faced a much better Moose Jaw club than the team they handled easily at the start of the season.
"They got a lot better from what we saw at the start of the year. Their pitcher threw very well and their hitting was much improved. Boy, they've really worked to get themselves better."
Looking ahead to the semifinal matchup, Phillips said the Pacers would be a tough opponent, but that the
Haulers wouldn't use up too much of their pitching reserves with the AA provincials coming up this weekend in Estevan.
"The Pacers are always very good. We'll have to do as much as we can, but with provincials coming up the following weekend, if we lose the game, so be it," said Phillips.
The Haulers also attended a tournament in Melville on the weekend.