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Mustangs to the Championship – OurSports Central

September 15, 2023 – Pioneer League (PL) – Billings Mustangs News Release

The Mustangs defeat the Missoula Paddleheads by a score of 8-7 in 12 innings to head to the Pioneer Baseball League Championship.

The Mustangs received some fantastic pitching performances this evening.

Luke Trueman pitched five innings giving up just a pair of runs to Missoula with three strikeouts and four hits and two walks.

When he exited, Trueman was in line for the win up 6-2 over the Paddleheads.

The Mustangs took a 1-0 lead for the first time in the series in the first inning.

Dondrei Hubbard answered with a solo homer in the first to tie it at 1.

Blake Evans picked up a solo bomb for the Mustangs in the bottom of the second to go up 2-1.

The Paddleheads tied it again in the third on a sac fly by Josh Elvir after Cam Thompson led off the inning with a single.

The Mustangs jumped ahead again in the fourth, with Brendan Ryan singling, advanced on a sac bunt, and Mitch Moralez brought him home to make it a 3-2 game.

The Mustangs piled on with a three-run homer by Alejandro Figueredo to go up 6-2 in the top of the fifth.

The Paddleheads faced Keagan McGinnis in the sixth and jumped on him during that peanut inning. Withthree singles in a row, Navarro’s scored Hubbard to make it a 6-3 game. Jake Guenther reached on a fielder’s choice to avoid a double play which scored another run to make it 6-4. While Keaton Greenwalt brought home Navarro to make it 6-5. McLain Harris stopped the bleeding with a ground ball induced to Austin Bernard to retire the side.

Harris would toss two scoreless innings giving up just a hit.

In the eighth, the Mustangs had a chance to add on with Ryan reaching on a leadoff walk. Ryan stole second and third, but Luke Fennelly struck out, along with Bryce Donovan and Blake Evans and they left Ryan at third.

Trevor Jackson tossed one and a third giving up a run in the bottom of the ninth to tie it.

With Austin Bernard leading off the ninth, he doubled down the right field line. Gabe Wurtz picked up the ball in foul territory towards the corner as Bernard tried to stretch it into three bags. Wurtz hit his cutoff man Blake Evans, who fired it to Moralez in time for one out with the lead in-tact.

Jackson surrendered a four pitch walk to McLain O’Connor, and Cam Thompson brought him home on a RBI double, but Thompson also tried to stretch it into three bags and got caught in a pickle to kill the momentum. Ryan Cash followed with a single, but Hubbard lined out to Gabe Wurtz to send it to extras.

Moralez came through with an RBI double down the right field line in the top of the 10th to score pinch runner Alex Canty, who came in for Alejandro Figuredo who walked to start the inning, and that gave the Mustangs a 7-6 lead.

The Paddleheads answered with a two-out RBI single by Keaton Greenwalt to tie it up. Hunter Schilperoort dealt the next out and sent it to 11 innings.

Monday night’s starter Alfredo Villa came into the game in the 11th for the Paddleheads and he came through with three up and three down. While Schilperoort responded with big strikeouts on Cam Thompson and Ryan Cash for a three-up-three-down inning himself.

Top of the 12th, Figueredo drew a walk, and Canty again pinch ran for him, while Brendan Ryan picked up his fourth hit of the night. Luke Fennelly avoided an inning ending double play beating the relay throw, which brought Moralez back up to the plate.

He came through with a ground ball that took a wild hop off the fringe of the grass to score Canty to give the Mustangs an 8-7 lead.

The Mustangs put the ball in Nate Jenkins hand in the bottom of the 12th to face Hubbard, who came through with a leadoff single. Jenkins struck out JAred Akins after he failed to move Hubbard into scoring position, but Hubbard advanced on a wild pitch with Navarro at the dish.

Navarro took a two-strike pitch and put it into right field. Missoula manager Michael Schlacht sent him home, while Gabe Wurtz tossed it into Fennelly, who fired it to John Michael Faile at home to apply the tag in time on Hubbard for two outs and a runners t first.

The Mustangs asked lefty Ethan McRae to get the final out, and on a 1-1 count, Keaton Greenwalt grounded into soft ball to first and Figueredo collected it to send the Mustangs to the championship.

The Mustangs take on the Ogden Raptors for a best of three championship round starting Saturday. Playoff tickets can be found when you go to billingsmustangs.com, or you can call the Dehler Park office at 406-252-1241. Mustangs will host Ogden for game two Monday and game three Tuesday if necessary.

Coverage starts for game one at 6:45 p.m. with first pitch at 7:05 p.m. Saturday on ESPN910/105.5 KBLG or ESPN910.com.

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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.

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