Missoula, MT.- The Missoula PaddleHeads squared off with the Idaho Falls Chukars on Saturday evening in a one game playoff from the Garden City. Both teams knew what was on the line going in. A win would clinch a league championship berth, a loss would be the end of the
Missoula, MT.- The Missoula PaddleHeads squared off with the Idaho Falls Chukars on Saturday evening in a one game playoff from the Garden City. Both teams knew what was on the line going in. A win would clinch a league championship berth, a loss would be the end of the road. Missoula would jump out quickly in the first inning putting 3 runs on the board. The Chukars would keep things close for the next four innings as both offenses would be held in check. That trend would end in the fifth.
Alex Fishberg would retire the first two batters in the fifth inning in order before allowing Zach Almond to reach on a hit batter. That would signal the beginning of a two-out rally. After a walk to Jayson Newman, Dean Nevarez would hit a double down the right field line to drive in the first run of the inning. Brandon Riley would then hit a towering drive down the right field line plating 3 runs to make the score 7-0. It would be smooth sailing for the PaddleHeads from that point on as Missoula paved its way to the Pioneer League Championship Series in an 11-2 win over Idaho Falls. Riley would finish the night 2-for-3 with 3 driven in.
Idaho Falls came into Saturday’s game bosting fabulous offensive numbers leading the league in most offensive categories. The pitching staff for the PaddleHeads would be up to the task however in shutting them down. Chris Burica would be the first man out and would impress in 5 innings of work earning the win. The southpaw would not allow a single run in those frames striking out 4. Burica’s College teammate Matt Mogollon would then pick up right where he left off.
The former Lancer would retire all 6 batters he faced in a row over 2 innings of work striking out 4 in those frames. The Chukars would struggle to pick up Mogollon’s tough breaking ball through those innings keeping the dangerous Idaho Falls offense at-bay. The Chukars would not score a single run until the eighth inning and by that point the game was already well in hand.
Missoula would put the game on ice in the seventh bringing three runs home to make the score 11-0. Jayson Newman would deliver the big blow on a home run to straight away center field to get the rally started. Newman would finish 2-for-4.
After the final out was recorded, Missoula would celebrate the accomplishment of clinching a spot in the league championship series with many of the fans that were in attendance outside of the clubhouse. It would not be a lengthy celebration however as now this PaddleHeads club will turn their attention to this season’s final hurdle.
Sunday may be labeled as an ‘off day’ but when 6 p.m. rolls around, you will find the Missoula PaddleHeads hard at work at Allegiance Field in preparation for what will be a challenging series opposite their opponent the Boise Hawks.
After struggling for a sizable portion of the first half, Boise turned things around clinching the second half pennant in the south in the final days of the regular season. Behind a dramatic 12 inning victory over the Ogden Raptors in a one game playoff, the Hawks will come calling to the Garden City Monday with a large amount of confidence. Game 1 of the Pioneer League Championship Series will kick off at 7:05 p.m. on Monday night in Missoula. If you cannot make it out to the ballpark, hear all the action on ESPN Missoula 102.9 F.M.
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