The first game of the Pioneer League Championship Series featured a championship caliber pitching performance from each side. Jonathan Dziedzic and a trio of Idaho Falls relievers out dueled Anthony Banda and Tristan Archer as the Chukars beat the Brewers 2-1 on Saturday to take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series.
Dzidezic picked up the win after limiting the Brewers to just two runs in six innings. He struck out eight and walked one.
Josiel Martinez allowed an unearned run in the seventh and Glenn Sparkman relived him in the eighth and struck out three in 1.2 innings.
Kyle Bartsch faced just one batter, pinch hitter Jalen Harris, and struck him out to close out the game and earn the save.
Banda (above) kept the Brewers in the game as he allowed two runs on five hits in six innings. Archer allowed no runs in two frames.
Although Banda and Archer were impressive, the effort was not enough on the night as the Brewer bats were limited to just four hits on the evening.
The Chukars scored their only runs in the third inning. Humberto Arteaga would lead off the inning with a single. Idaho Falls would then put on the hit and run play as Elier Hernandez hit a single to center. When Dionis Hinojosa bobbled the ball, Arteaga came around to score the game's first run.
Hunter Dozier would then pull a bullet down the left field line for a RBI double as Hernandez scored to make it 2-0.
The Brewers would load the bases with no outs in the top of the seventh thanks to a pair of errors and a bunt single by Adam Giacalone, but they could only manage one run as Jose Pena grounded into a 5-4-3 double play.
That would be the last scoring chance for Helena as the team only had one base runner the rest of the way, a two-out single by Michael Ratterree in the ninth, before Bartsch struck out Harris to end it.
The teams will play Game Two of the series on Monday night at Kindrick Legion Field. Helena will need a win to continue its season while Idaho Falls will look to clinch its third Pioneer League title.