Missoula, MT-The Voyagers batted around in a six-run 4th that propelled them to an 8-5 Pioneer League Division Series-clinching victory over the Missoula Osprey Monday night at Ogren Park-Allegiance Field.
Great Falls (2-0) completed a two-game series sweep of Missoula (0-2) to earn their first trip to the league championship series since 2011. The Voyagers will face the Ogden Raptors in game 1 Thursday night at Lindquist Field in Utah.
The Osprey scored first for a second straight night with a three-run bottom of the 3rd. Joel Novas led off the inning with a hit-by-pitch. Gabriel Maciel then walked. A wild pitch moved both runners up to second and third. With one out, Keshawn Lynch opened the scoring with a sacrifice line out into center that scored Novas tagging from third. A two-out, two-run home run deep to straightaway center by Andy Yerzy made it 3-0. It was Yerzy's second of the playoffs.
A rapid response by the Voyagers in the 4th gave them a lead that would stand for the remainder of the game. Three consecutive singles from Justin Yurchak, J.J. Muno, and Tate Blackman loaded the bases. A fielder's choice from Nate Nolan plated the first run. David Cronin doubled up the right field side to drive in a run. Nolan Brown then tied it with a single into left. Great Falls took its first lead of the night with a three-run home run clubbed high and deep to right by Craig Dedelow for a 6-3 cushion. It was Dedelow's first homer of the postseason.
After Missoula closed the gap to 6-4 with a run in the bottom of the 4th, the Voyagers added two runs in the 5th for an 8-4 lead. J.J. Muno reached base with a one-out hit-by-pitch. With two outs, Nate Nolan smashed a two-run home run deep to left for his second in as many nights and it was 8-4 Great Falls. The Osprey scored the game's final run in the bottom of the 5th.
The Voyagers outhit Missoula 12-to-10. Craig Dedelow finished 3-for-5 with three RBIs and one run scored. Nate Nolan collected two hits with three RBIs and two runs scored. For Missoula, Andy Yerzy had two hits with two RBIs and a run. Eduardo Diaz homered and posted two hits.
Adam Panayotovich picked up the win in relief. Panayotovich (1-0) worked two-and-two-thirds and gave up one earned run on four hits with one strikeout and no walks. Elvis Luciano suffered the loss. Luciano lasted three-and-a-third and allowed five earned runs on seven hits with one strikeout and one walk. Will Kincanon notched the save with one walk in the 9th. Sean Renzi pitched two clean innings in relief as well with one strikeout.
Great Falls plays game 1 in the best-of-three championship series Thursday night at Ogden. First pitch at Lindquist Field is scheduled for 6:30. Game 2 of the series is slated for Saturday night at Centene Stadium in Great Falls. If necessary, game 3 will be played Sunday night at 6 o'clock. For ticketing and promotional information, call 406-452-5311 or visit www.gfvoyagers.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.