July 31, 2011 - Pioneer League (PL) - Great Falls Voyagers
GREAT FALLS Mont.--Mark Haddow's walk-off home run to right field capped off a two-run ninth inning as the Voyagers won the rubber match of the three-game series with the Missoula Osprey, and start the second half of the season with a 3-2 win.
After throwing two fastballs at 95 miles per hour by Haddow to get ahead of the count a ball and two strikes, Frank Santana (0-3) left a slider belt high to the Voyagers right fielder, as he drove the ball over the right field wall. Of Haddow's team-leading six home runs this season, five of them have been to the opposite field.
The Voyagers trailed by one when the inning began with leadoff hitter Qualon Millender lining out to shallow left-center field, hitting the ball right into the unique shift Osprey manager Hector De La Cruz had orchestrated all series long. Then, Kyle Eveland double to left field and when Tyler Linton's relay throw to the infield got away from him and bounced away from cutoff man, Stephen Cardullo, Eveland advanced to third.
With one out and the tying run at third base, the team's RBI leader, Joe De Pinto hit a sacrifice fly to center field, driving home his 30th run of the season, evening the score at 3-3, setting the table for his roommate, Haddow, to deliver his heroics.
While Haddow's effort earns him the spotlight, Joe Dvorsky (2-0) also played a huge role in the win. With the Voyagers down 3-2 in the top of the seventh, Dvorsky came on with the bases loaded and two outs, getting Ryan Court to fly out, keeping the deficit at one. Dvorsky, the righty from Texas who was been one of the team's best relievers all season, followed that huge out up with two more scoreless innings, giving up just one base runner on a De Pinto error.
David Herbek's single in the bottom of the sixth inning underneath the dive of third baseman, Court, scored Haddow and gave the Voyagers their first lead of the game, 2-1.
The lead did not last long, though, as Jamaal Hollis struggled in relief of starting pitcher, Jarrett Casey. Lasting just 0.2 innings, Hollis gave walked three and gave up two hits, including Eric Groff's two-run, two-out double to put the Osprey on top.
Casey went six innings, giving up just one run on six hits. He walked a season-high three--the first time he walked more than one in an outing--but struck out seven. With the Voyagers run in the sixth, Casey was eligible to pick up his fifth win of the season, which would have tied him with teammate Blair Walters (5-0) and Ogden's Brandon Martinez (5-3) for the league lead in that category.
The Voyagers turned three double-plays, although just one of those were turned conventionally. Twice the batter of Casey and catcher, Jimmy Jacquot delivered "strike 'em out-throw 'em out" double plays.
Taylor Siemens, the starter for the Osprey, carried a no-hitter into the fourth inning before Jacquot's opposite field flare dropped for a single. Martin Medina follow with a double and then later in the inning Randall Thorpe singled Jacquot home. It was the only run the lefty would allow in five innings in which he struck out three and walked three.
The Voyagers almost tied the score in the eighth off of reliever, Dexter Price. With runners on second and third and just one out, Thorpe was robbed of a game-tying hit by Stephen Cardullo as, with the infield drawn in, the shortstop made a diving shoestring grab towards the middle. Andrew Douglas followed with a strikeout, which completed Price's effective, albeit shaky outing. The righty, in his first inning of work, utilized a double play to get out of a bases loaded, one out jam. He finishes by going three innings, allowing just one unearned run.
The Osprey, the best defensive team in league both by fielding percentage and quantity of errors, committed four, matching a season-high, including two costly errors by Linton.
The Voyagers have played ten games this season against teams that, at the time of the matchup, possessed the league's best record (seven versus Ogden; three versus Missoula) and they have a 6-4 record in those games.
The walk-off victory defied the odds today, as the Voyagers were 0-19 in games when they were trailing after eight innings before the Haddow blast and its just their second win in 23 chances when trailing after seven frames. The walk-off win is their second of the season, both on Sunday's against Missoula, with the first coming on June 26 as Martin Medina hit a walk-off single.
The Voyagers begin a five-game series with the Helena Brewers. The first of two home games begins tomorrow night at 7 p.m. with the pre-game starting at 12:35 on 560 KMON.