As part of one of the more entertaining games of the season, the Helena Brewers (28-48, 13-25) finished out the 2017 Pioneer League season with a 12-11 win over the Billings Mustangs (36-39, 18-20) on Saturday night at Dehler Park.
Leading by three going to the ninth inning, the Brewers had to hold on for the victory. Billings scored two runs on a pair of walks, three wild pitches and a ground out, moving within a run at 12-11. Alejo Lopez bunted his way on and Leandro Santana walked, ending the night for Parker Bean. Reliever Cody Martin picked up his first save of the season, inducing a fly out and ending the game with a strikeout of Jake Turnbull.
Helena overcame a pair of three run deficits in the game, going ahead for good with a five-run seventh inning. Trailing 8-7, Chad McClanahan reached on a throwing error by Mustangs shortstop Nadir Ljatifi. Payton Henry attempted to sacrifice McClanahan over, but Ljatifi dropped the throw at second base, putting two men on for the Brewers. Catcher Alex Guenette successfully sacrificed the runners into scoring position and McClanahan raced in to score on a wild pitch after a strikeout of Nick Roscetti. Jose Gomez walked to load the bases and Nicolas Pierre gave the Brewers the lead with a two RBI single to right. Franly Mallen tagged on an extra run with a single and Jay Feliciano finished off the frame with another run scoring single, putting the Brewers in front 12-8.
The Brewers jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning on three consecutive hits from Pierre, Mallen and Gabriel Garcia along with a wild pitch. Billings responded with two home runs in the bottom of the frame, a two-run homer by J.D. Salome-Williams, his fourth of the season, to tie the game 2-2. The Mustangs went ahead on a three-run homer by Pabel Manzanero, his third of the season, staking Billings to a 5-2 lead.
In the top of the fifth, the Brewers RBI leader pulled them back into the game. Mallen walked with one out before Antonio Pinero, hitting in place of Garcia, singled to left. Jay Feliciano stepped to the plate and destroyed a 3-1 pitch over the left wall, his thirteenth home run of the season, tying the game at 5-5. Feliciano finished the night 2-for-6 with a home run, four RBI and a run scored. For the season, Feliciano led the Brewers in RBI with 51, the most by a Brewer since Michael Ratterree had 58 in the 2013 season.
Billings retook the lead in the bottom of the fifth on an RBI single by Lopez and a two-run homer by Santana, his eleventh of the season, pushing the Mustangs back in front by three at 8-5. Helena would cut the lead to just one with two runs in the top of the sixth on a double by Gomez and a wild pitch that allowed the Brewers outfielder to score.
The Helena Brewers return to action in June of 2018. The team schedule, tickets and merchandise will all be available at helenabrewers.net.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.