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Ratterree, Brewers even Pioneer Finals

Circuit MVP helps Helena force Game 3 for the championship
September 16, 2013

The Helena Brewers didn't waste any time returning to form Monday.

"To come out and score six in the first inning really set the tone," said Pioneer League MVP Michael Ratterree.

Ratterree was a key part of the opening-frame rally and he finished the game 2-for-3 with a walk, two RBIs and a run scored to help the Rookie-level Brewers beat the Idaho Falls Chukars, 7-5, at Helena's Kindrick Legion Field. The victory evened the best-of-3 Finals.

In the No. 3 hitter's first at-bat, he faced Patrick Conroy, who was 6-2 with a 3.30 ERA during the regular season. The Brewers had runners on first and second.

"I was thinking, 'Drive the ball into the outfield. Hit a line drive,'" Ratterree said.

He got a second consecutive changeup from Conroy on a 1-1 count.

"This one was kind of high and I was able to connect and send it over the left fielder's head."

Ratterree, this year's 10th-round pick by the Brewers, came around to score on Clint Coulter's groundout. Two batters later, Angel Ortega doubled in two more runs and Nathan Orf singled in Ortega.

Helena scored 24 runs over two games in its semifinals sweep of Great Falls, but the Brewers had only four hits in Saturday's 2-1 series-opening loss at Idaho Falls.

"I thought [scoring early] was really important," Ratterree said. "[In Game 1], we didn't hit the ball well at all."

The Brewers held a 7-1 lead headed into the eighth inning when the Chukars rebounded for four runs -- three of them coming on a Cody Stubbs home run that sailed over Ratterree's head in right field. He didn't have much of a chance to catch it.

"I went after it like I could," he said, "but it was a pretty far one."

The Rice University product admitted Idaho Falls had the Helena team nervous late in the game.

"They're a great team. We knew they're not going to go down easy. They can hit," he said. "Fortunately, we were able to buckle down and finish the game."

Brewers starter Taylor Williams improved to 2-0 in the playoffs by limiting Idaho Falls to one run on six hits and a walk while striking out four over six innings. Andy Hillis snuffed out the Chukars' rally in the eighth and worked around a ninth-inning single to earn the save.

No. 7 Royals prospect Hunter Dozier was 3-for-4 with a double, an RBI and a run scored for Idaho Falls.

The Brewers host the decisive third game of the series at 9:05 p.m. ET on Tuesday. Ratterree and his teammates hadn't yet talked much about a gameplan.

"Not right at this moment, but once we get home and have a good rest tonight, we'll have our heads ready for tomorrow," he said. 

Josh Jackson is a contributor to