Missoula PaddleHeads

Billings Lands First Blow in Game 1 Win over Missoula

September 12, 2023 - Pioneer League (PL)
Missoula PaddleHeads News Release

BILLINGS, MT- The Missoula PaddleHeads began play in the Pioneer League postseason on Monday in game 1 of the Northern Division Series. For the 2nd consecutive season the venue of game 1 of this best of 3 series would be Dehler Park in action opposite the Billings Mustangs.

The PaddleHeads would get off to a good start scoring in each of the first 2 frames to grab the lead. This would not intimidate the Mustangs however as their offense would wake up in innings 2 through 4. The effort from the attack of Billings would also prove to be enough to get the underdog Mustangs off to a good start in the series on their home field.

Billings would put 6 unsewered runs on the board in a 3 inning stretch from 2nd through the 4th to erase an early deficit to grab the momentum. The PaddleHeads would keep things close after this sequence thanks to a pair of home runs in the 5th, and 6th innings. This would not be enough to get the PaddleHeads over the hump as Missoula would be held in check in the final 3 frames. The end result would be an 8-5 game 1 victory for the Mustangs to take an advantage in this best 2 out of 3. Billings is now just one win away from the Pioneer League Championship Series with action shifting to Missoula in this postseason series.

The PaddleHeads would draw first blood in the opening innings of play scoring in the first 2 frames to hold an advantage. Luis Navarro would get Missoula out the gates in the first inning, bringing home a run with an RBI single through the right side to make the score 1-0. In the 2nd, Keaton Greenwalt knocked in a run with a sacrifice fly as part of a 2-run rally to make the score 3-0.

Later with 2 outs in the 2nd, Dondei Hubbard would bring the Missoula advantage to 3 with a single up the middle. Billings would make sure this would not be a continued trend after this sequence however, getting their offense going in the bottom of the inning. Navarro, and Hubbard would both conclude the night finishing 1-for-4.

A 2-run single in the bottom of the 2nd from Luke Fennelly would get the Mustangs right back into the game after a scoreless first to make the score 3-2. This would begin a run of 4 consecutive innings in which the Mustangs would find the scoreboard to bring Billings to the lead. Fennelly would wrap up his offensive night finishing 2-for-5.

The Mustangs would tally 2 apiece in both the 3rd, and 4th innings to get out to a 3 run lead after trailing by that margin in the early innings. A triple from rookie Alejandro Figuredo would knot things up at 3 in the 3rd. Mitch Morales would then bring in Figuredo on a sacrifice fly to give the Mustangs their first lead of the game. Figurerdo would be productive throughout finishing 3-for-4. Moralez would also chip in finishing 1-for-3.

2nd year Mustang Gabe Wurtz would get in on the act in the 4th knocking in a run with a double as part of yet another 2-run rally to give Billings a 6-3 advantage. Wurtz would tally a game high 4 hits in the win for the Mustangs finishing 4-for-5 with a pair of RBIs and a run scored. A pair of home runs would keep Missoula within striking distance in the middle innings but would never find the lead after this stretch of offense from Billings.

Home run in the 5th, and 6th would keep Billings' lead at just 2 runs entering the stretch run. Josh Elvir would strike with a solo home run in the 5h to give Missoula their 4th run of the night.

Austin Bernard would strike one inning later, hitting a towering home run to the left of the scoreboard in right center field to cut the lead to 7-5. This would be the last time Missoula would score on this night however, allowing Billings to come away with the game 1 win.

The PaddleHeads will look for their fortunes to shift in their favor in game 2 of this best of 3 set on Wednesday evening. This series opposite the Mustangs will also now shift to the Garden City for the remainder of the series. Action from Allegiance Field is scheduled to begin at 7:05 p.m. If you cannot make it to the field for this postseason affair, listen to all the action on ESPN Missoula 102.9 F.M.

• Discuss this story on the Pioneer League message board...

Pioneer League Stories from September 12, 2023

The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

OurSports Central