Pitching, Defense Wins Thriller for VoyagersJuly 1, 2012 - Pioneer League (PL) Great Falls Voyagers
The pitching matchup featured JC Casey (2-1) for the Voyagers and Eric Semmelhack (0-2) for the Brewers and both pitchers were at the top of their game. Both hurlers took a no-hitter to the fourth inning as the only base runner to reach for either team was Voyager Abe Ruiz on an error in the second. It was the Voyagers who finally broke the deadlock in the fourth. With Micah Johnson on first base and one out, Kyle Robinson hit a twisting fly ball into the corner in right for his fifth double of the season to give the Voyagers a 1-0 lead. The RBI was Robinson's tenth of the season, tying Brent Tanner for the team lead. Robinson scored on a wild pitch two batters later and the Voyagers took a 2-0 lead to the fifth.
Casey got help protecting the lead in the sixth on the first of two sterling outfield defensive plays. With two outs and two in scoring position, Brewer DH Mike Nemeth hit a shallow fly into right center field that threatened to tie the game. Centerfielder Adam Heisler raced into the gap and gave a full extension dive to make the catch and preserve the 2-0 lead. The play allowed Casey to leave the game with a superb starting line with six shutout innings on three hits and three strikeouts.
The Brewers proceeded to threaten in each inning for the rest of the game. Helena stranded multiple runners on base in every inning after the fourth and finished with twelve left on in the game. Chris Beck escaped a jam with a strikeout in the seventh and Brett Merkely allowed just one run after Helena loaded the bases with no outs in the eighth and the Voyagers took a 2-1 lead to the ninth. Helena again threatened in the ninth and put runners on first and second with one out and Mike Reed at the plate. Reed lined a single to right field, but Kyle Robinson fielded the ball quickly and threw a one-hop strike to home plate to gun down Raul Mondesi Jr's tying run. Merkley then got a weak fly ball to center field to end the game and earn his second save.
The Voyagers play Helena again Sunday afternoon at Centene stadium before going to Helena for the final two games against the Brewers in the first half. Sunday's game is Great Falls Tribune Pepsi Family Day, and fans can get four tickets, four Pepsi drinks, and four hot dogs for just $18. It is also Noodle Express Nine Innings of Winning and fans will be able to cheer for the Voyagers with a chance to win giveaways, gift certificates, and coupons from Noodle Express during every inning. The game starts at 1 PM.
Pioneer League Stories from July 1, 2012
- Osprey Trip Billings, 6-2 - Missoula Osprey
- Owlz 3-Hit Rockies in 12-2 Victory - Orem Owlz
- Ferguson Leads Chukars to 9-4 Win - Idaho Falls Chukars
- Voyagers Win Wild One, Sweep Helena - Great Falls Voyagers
- Hinkle Homers in 9-6 Loss - Orem Owlz
- Raptors Run to 10-5 Win over Chukars - Idaho Falls Chukars
- Pitching, Defense Wins Thriller for Voyagers - Great Falls Voyagers
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