3 stars: Missoula bullpen - 5.1 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 SO
2 stars: Jamie Westbrook, Visalia - 4-for-5, two R, DBL. RBI
1 star: Austin Byler, Missoula - 3-for-4, two R, DBL, RBI
0 stars: The umpires in the Visalia game
High-A Visalia 5, Giants 6 (11). The Rawhide battled back from 5-2 down in the middle of the sixth to force extra innings, only to lose the game in questionable fashion. In his second inning of work, Zac Curtis allowed a lead-off home-run in the 11th which, according to Donny Baarns, "was quite clearly foul." We saw the reverse with the D-backs a little while ago, but unfortunately, there's no reply in the minors, so the call stood and was decisive providing what Baarns called an "Awful end to a fantastic season." Visalia fell behind early, the Giants scoring three in the first two innings off Ryan Doran, but pulled back within one on a two-run homer from DH Gerson Montilla in the fourth.
San Jose restored their lead with a two-run inning of their own in the sixth, but Visalia chipped away with single tallies in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings, tying things up on a double from 2B Jamie Westbrook. C Tyler Baker also had a home-run in the seventh. Myles Smith tossed a pair of scoreless innings in relief to take the game into extras, and Curtis faced the minimum in the tenth before the highly-contentious finish to the season. Westbrook finished the season with a four-hit game, and Montilla had two hits, while 1B Daniel Palka drew a pair of walks, but struck out his other three times at the plate! Doran went five innings, allowing three runs on five hits and two walks,with seven K's.
Rookie Missoula 8, Idaho Falls 1. The Chukars actually scored first, breaking the deadlock in the top of the fourth and chasing Osprey starter Bo Takahashi after 3.2 innings. That was the only run he allowed, on four hits and three walks, with three strikeouts, and the bullpen worked 5.1 scoreless innings, from five different relievers. Scott Schultz goit the W, but Gabriel Moya was perhaps the most impressive, striking out two of the three batters faced. Missoula wasted no time in coming back, scoring three in the bottom of the fourth, on a passed ball, RBI single by 1B Austin Byler and a sacrifice fly from 3B Kal Simmons.
They were just getting started. Another sacrifice fly from 2B Raymel Flores, made the score 4-1 after five, and Missoula then blew the doors open with a four-run sixth inning, keyed by a two-run double from CF Joey Armstrong. Byler finished with three hits and there were two-hit nights for Simmons, Armstrong, LF Matt McPhearson and RF Jason Morozowski. Even an 18-minute power outage couldn't derail the relentless Missoula progress, and Keegan Long got the final out with a flyball to Armstrong, as Missoula clinched their fourth Pioneer League championship, having last won it in 2012. Congratulations to them and manager Joe Mather.