Great Falls, MT-The Voyagers defense turned three double plays and the offense homered twice on their way to a 7-4 victory over the Missoula Osprey to begin the 2017 Pioneer League playoffs Sunday night at Centene Stadium.
Great Falls (1-0) survived a shaky start to the game after Missoula scored two 1st inning runs. The Osprey (0-1) led off the game with a single to left-center from Gabriel Maciel. Eduardo Diaz followed with a double up the left field line. Keshawn Lynch singled home Maciel for the game's first run. Missoula made it 2-0 when a run scored on a double play groundout by Andy Yerzy.
The Voyagers matched the Osprey with a two-spot in the bottom of the 1st. Logan Taylor reached base with a one-out single to left. Anthony Villa then tied it with a two-run home run that cleared the wall in left-center. It was Villa's 17th big fly of the season.
Great Falls claimed the lead for good with another two-run home run in the 2nd. Tate Blackman led off the frame with a triple lined into the right field corner. The very next batter, Nate Nolan, crushed a home run deep to left for a 4-2 advantage. It was Nolan's eighth dinger of the season.
The Voyagers plated single runs in the 4th and 5th innings each for a 6-2 cushion. Tate Blackman doubled to right-center with one out in the 4th. David Cronin drove in Blackman with a two-out single to left. In the 5th, Nolan Brown led off with a single. Craig Dedelow reached on a fielder's choice. Dedelow moved from first to third on an errant pickoff throw, and he scored on a Logan Taylor double up the left field line.
The game's final runs came in the 6th. For Missoula, Andy Yerzy trimmed the lead to 6-4 with a two-run home run high and deep to right for his 14th of the season. Great Falls grabbed one back in the bottom of the inning. J.J. Muno led off with a base hit. After a fielder's choice put Tate Blackman on base, he advanced to second with a wild pitch. Blackman came home on a Nate Nolan RBI single to right for a three-run lead.
The Voyagers outhit the Osprey 10-to-9. Nate Nolan collected two hits and drove in three. Tate Blackman had two hits and scored three times. Logan Taylor went 2-for-4 with one RBI and one run. For Missoula, Andy Yerzy posted two hits with two RBIs. Keshawn Lynch had two hits with one RBI and a run.
Chris Comito picked up the win on the mound. Comito (1-0) went five-and-a-third and gave up four earned runs on eight hits with two strikeouts and one walk. Cole Stapler suffered the loss. Stapler (0-1) allowed six runs (five earned) on eight hits with two strikeouts and no walks. Jhoan Quijada notched the save with one strikeout in a clean 9th inning.
Great Falls plays game 2 of the Division Series at Missoula Monday night. First pitch at Ogren Park is scheduled for 7:05. For more Voyagers 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.