10 July 2010

Cellar Dwellers Battle for Third Place


The Missoula Osprey and the Billings Mustangs, now gradually improving from a fairly disastrous start, were tied for 3rd and 4th place—each having 7 wins and 11 losses—in the northern division of the Pioneer League. Last night the Mustangs managed to break out with a rash of extra-base hits and found a starting pitcher who could keep the opponents down, to win convincingly 10-2.

By my count they had 15 hits and 10 runs in 7 innings of play—they were up 10-1 after the 7th so I went home—and of those 15, three were triples and five were doubles. The fences were rattling and the bases were crowded. They might have had a few more but Missoula managed to throw out a couple of guys at the plate. It's fun to watch them take chances and routinely go from 1st to 3rd on a single. Even the big slow guys have to learn how to run the bases.

Clayton Shunick looked sharp, no-hitting the Osprey until the 6th inning when he allowed a home run and a single. Since he only threw about 60 pitches in those six innings he came back in the 7th after watching his team bat around in the bottom of the inning and got two outs in the 7th before finally being lifted for Ryan Smith. Not surprisingly, Shunick got a standing ovation as he left for a well-earned shower.

Here are some pictures of some of the loyal fans found at Dehler Park most every night. They seem to draw 3-4000 each home game. For a low minor league game that is pretty good, heck that's good for some AAA games. The Mustangs host the league-leading Helena Brewers for the next three nights. See you at the ball game. What are those guys looking for below?

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