Great Falls, MT.- A tightly contested affair between the Missoula PaddleHeads, and Great Falls Voyagers came down to the wire. Both teams led at one point with the largest lead being only 3. Trailing by that margin in the top of the ninth, the PaddleHeads would load the bases bringing
Great Falls, MT.- A tightly contested affair between the Missoula PaddleHeads, and Great Falls Voyagers came down to the wire. Both teams led at one point with the largest lead being only 3. Trailing by that margin in the top of the ninth, the PaddleHeads would load the bases bringing the lead run into the box. The clutch moment would evade Missoula on this night however as the Voyagers would hang on for a 7-4 win.
With the game tied at 4 going into the bottom of the eighth, Great Falls would put an inning together to take a lead they would never give up. Kyle Crowl would get the party started with a double and would score the go-ahead run on a triple from Michael Deeb one batter later. Nick Emmanuel would also come through with a 2-out double to drive in another run to give the Voyagers a 3-run advantage.
Missoula would do all the damage in the game offensively with the home run ball in a loosing effort. Jared Akins would give Missoula an early 1-0 lead in the top of the second on a solo blast to right center. The lead would not last long however as the Voyagers offense would kick into gear an inning later. Akins would finish the game 2-for-5.
Great Falls would take their first lead behind a 4-run rally in the third to jump out to a 4-1 advantage. Jason Mathews delivered the big blow in the frame with a 3-run blast to left give the Voyagers the lead. That would be the only blip on the map for Domingo Pena who pitched well keeping Missoula within striking distance.
Pena would allow only the 4 runs over 6 innings of work while striking out 10. The 10 punchouts for Pena tied a season high for the team. It also marked the second time this week a PaddleHeads starter recorded 10 strikeouts in a single outing.
Missoula fought back into the game offensively in the fifth, and sixth inning with a pair of home runs. Cameron Thompson cut the deficit to 2 on a towering blast to right in the fifth. Another big swing would come an inning later.
After a leadoff single from Zach Almond, Nick Gatewood would tie the game at 4 with a 2-run shot of his own. That would be the final time the PaddleHeads would get on the scoreboard however as Great Falls would hold the PaddleHeads offense in check down the stretch. Almond finished 2-for-5 and Gatewood was 2-for-4.
The loss for Missoula (60-31) (25-18) also helped the Billings Mustangs (42-49) (24-19) who remained just a game off the pace in the second half race in the Northern Division after a lop-sided loss to the Idaho Falls Chukars with 5 games remaining in the regular season.
The PaddleHeads will look to get back on track Sunday afternoon in game 2 of the series opposite the Voyagers at Centene Stadium. Action begins at 4:00 p.m. on ESPN Missoula 102.9 F.M.
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