It was wild. It was entertaining. It had a playoff atmosphere. It began innocently as Osprey RF Jesus Munoz' inside the park homerun in the 7th got the Osprey offense some life tying the game at 1-1. It then became a critical situation as Osprey SS Brandon Leyton's 2-run homerun in the bottom of the 10th got the Osprey renewed life as he tied the game as Missoula was down to their last strike. It then came to a crescendo resulting in Osprey 3B Buddy Kennedy's line drive single in the bottom of the 11th to give Missoula the come from behind victory in one of the most entertaining and wild games of the season. The end result was a 6-5 Osprey win over the Billings Mustangs Wednesday night at Ogren Park Allegiance Field. The win pulls the Osprey within 2 ½ games of the 1st place Mustangs with 8 games remaining. The two teams meet two more times in this series in Missoula on Thursday and Friday.
Billings scored first to break a scoreless tie in the 3rd. SS Carlos Rivero doubled and then later scored on C Jay Schuyler's RBI single. The game remained that way until the 7 th as the two starting pitchers, Ricky Salinas of Billings and Erin Baldwin of Missoula, held both offenses at bay. Down 1-0 in the 7 th , Osprey RF Jesus Munoz' line drive single to center skpped past Billings CF Mariel Bautista and allowed Munoz to burn around the bases. With the crowd in a frenzy, the relay throw was just barely late and Munoz scored an inside the park homerun to tie the game. The electric play sparked the Osprey as The Osprey then got the game tied in the 7th as Munoz led off with the inside the park homerun. Later in the inning after CF Alek Thomas singled and advanced to third on a throwing error, 1B Zac Almond singled home Thomas to put Missoula up for the first time in the night 2-1. However, it was short lived as 2B Dylan Harris' sac fly tied the game at 2 in the top of the 8th .
The game then went to extra innings. Billings scored twice in the top of the 10 th and looked to be heading to the win. Missoula got down to their last strike with Leyton at the plate as the potential tying run. Leyton then put a charge into the ball and drove it to the left center field gap. The Mustangs Bautista leaped and got his glove on it, but the ball got dislodged as he hit the fence and fell to the ground on the other side of the wall for a game tying 2-run homerun. Onto the 11th we went. Billings scrapped a run across on a sac fly. Missoula again battled back. Thomas' RBI double tied it setting up Kennedy's game winning single. What a game!
The Osprey and Mustangs continue the 4-game series on Wednesday night at Ogren Park Allegiance Field with first pitch at 7:05pm. Thursday Night is Osprey We Win You Win Night. If the Osprey beats Billings, everyone who stays for the entire game will get a free ticket to the final homestand of the season next week versus Helena. Tickets are on sale now at the MSO Hub in downtown Missoula or by visiting the Osprey at www.missoulaosprey.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.