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Almond Delivers in 'Knock Out' to Even Series

June 20, 2021 - Pioneer League (PL) - Missoula PaddleHeads News Release

Idaho Falls, ID. - Stellar pitching on both sides highlighted play in regulation as the offenses of the Chukars, and PaddleHeads were held in check through most of the game. Mark Simon walked off the mound in the bottom of the ninth inning after recording the final out with the game tied at two runs apiece. In the Pioneer League games ending in regulation with a tie score only means one thing. For the third time this season, the PaddleHeads found themselves in a 'Knock Out.'

Jared Akins, and Nick Gatewood both came up short in the first two rounds of the knockout which set it up for Zach Almond. Almond has been the most productive batter in the lineup for Missoula throughout the season but had never appeared in a knock-out round. After using four of his allotted five swings, Almond launched a home run over the wall to give Missoula a 1-0 lead in the knockout. Brady West would have one last chance for the Chukars in an attempt to keep the game alive. On his fifth and final swing, West sent a deep drive to right field that looked to have chance to clear the wall. Luckily for the PaddleHeads, the ball would hit off the very top of the wall to give Missoula the victory in the knockout round.

Prior the chaos in the knockout, Missoula stayed in the game with fabulous work on the mound. Mason Schwellenbach was outstanding in his professional debut in six innings. The Michigan native would not allow a single earned run over those innings while striking out three. Schwellenbach did well pitching through a bases loaded jam in the third enducing a double-play to keep the Chukars off the board.

Mark Simon entered the game in the seventh inning in relief of Schwellenbach and did not budge on the mound. The Houston native was sensational in three shutout innings out of the bullpen. Simon would retire the side in each of the innings he pitched while striking out three.

With the victory, Missoula (20-6) extended its lead to five games over the Idaho Falls Chukars (15-11) in the Northern Division standings. The rubber match of the series on Monday evening will be the final time these two teams square off in the regular season. Looking to help Missoula to a series victory will be Domingo Pena who has picked up a win in each of his last four starts. First pitch is scheduled for 7:15 p.m. On ESPN Missoula 102.9.

With the PaddleHeads season now underway, our 'Adopt A PaddleHead' host family program is still in need of families that would potentially be in interested in housing a player or coach for the 2021 season. Families are encouraged to contact the front office at (406) 543- 3300 with any questions. To apply for our host family program please email

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