Three unearned runs in the top of the fourth and a shutdown performance by three Idaho Falls Chukars pitchers proved too much to overcome for the Helena Brewers Tuesday night, as they fell 6-0 in the decisive third game of the Pioneer League Championship Series at Helena, Mont.
Jake Junis pitched five innings of shutout ball for the Chukars, who won their first PL title since 2000. Frank Schwindel delivered the big blow for Idaho Falls when he hit a three-run homer in the top of the fourth off Barrett Astin (0-1), an inning that was set up by an error by shortstop Angel Ortega, a passed ball by catcher Michael Turay and a walk by Astin.
Kyle Bartsch pitched three innings of one-hit relief for the Chukars, striking out six, and Glenn Sparkman got the final three outs for the Kansas City Royals’ affiliate.
Astin allowed five hits and the three unearned runs over five innings, walking two and striking out two. Chris Razo allowed three runs, two earned, on two hits over 1.2 innings. Tanner Poppe allowed two hits and a walk, but was unscored upon in his 1.1 innings and Sean Albury pitched a scoreless ninth.
Turay was the only Brewer with more than one hit. He was 2-for-4 and had a double for Helena’s lone extra-base hit. The Baby Brewers struck out 16 times, including three each by Adam Giacalone and Nathan Orf.
Giacalone was philosophical when he took to Twitter after the loss.
It was a great season. Tons of ups and tons of downs. But I still love the game. Can't wait to get better this offseason.
Helena was the only Milwaukee Brewers’ affiliate to post a winning record this year and came within a game of winning a league title. Michael Ratterree was named the Pioneer League’s Most Valuable Player and Tony Diggs was named the league’s Manager of the Year.
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