Helena had no trouble winning the opener of the best-of-3 Pioneer League semifinal series against Great Falls. While the degree of difficulty changed in the second game Tuesday, the performance of Michael Ratterree did not.
The Rookie-level Brewers fell behind early, 5-1, but stormed back to take the lead in the fifth inning and didn't relinquish it en route to sweeping the Voyagers with an 8-6 victory.
Ratterree, the star of Monday's 16-5 win with a three-hit, four-RBI performance, led the Brewers again on Tuesday. The Pioneer League MVP reached safely in all five trips to the plate, finishing 2-for-2 with a double, three walks, four runs scored and even an outfield assist at home plate that denied Great Falls a run.
"It was great to get on base for my team every at-bat and give my team a chance to score runs," he said. "We got down early but we were real confident in what our team can do, what our bats can do. We never get down when we're behind."
The Brewers clawed back from their early deficit with runs in the third and fourth, then plated three in the fifth and another in the sixth.
Ratterree led off the fifth with a walk and crossed the plate on Dustin Houle's single to tally the first run of the fifth. Then Taylor Brennan doubled in two runs to give Helena its first lead of the game.
"This is the way they played all year long, always with a never-say-die type of attitude," said Brewers manager Tony Diggs. "They continue to play for 27 outs and that's what we preached from Day 1. It didn't surprise me today what they did. That's their mentality as a team."
Designated hitter Jose Pena went 2-for-2 with three RBIs and two walks and Adam Giacalone added three hits, including a double, and an RBI.
The best-of-3 Pioneer League Championship Series will begin Saturday. With the postponement of the Idaho Falls-Grand Junction game Tuesday, those two teams were scheduled to play a doubleheader Wednesday, if necessary, to determine Helena's opponent. The Chukars won the series opener, 7-1.
Ratterree said his team will be ready for the challenge.
"We're real excited about the opportunity to play for a championship together. We've got a bunch of good guys on this team. We all like playing with each other and we want to keep playing, continue to win. We're having fun and we're pretty confident as a group," he said.