By PAUL LAMBERT
In the duel between the unstoppable force and the immovable object, force scored a big win Tuesday night at Melaleuca Field.
The force that is the Idaho Falls hitting machine won out in a 15-8 win over the visiting Helena Brewers, pounding out 17 hits against the Pioneer League’s best pitching staff.
Helena entered the game as the immovable object, bringing its league-low 3.82 earned run average into the series opener.
The Chukars came in hitting at a league-best .304 clip through 24 games, and with the wind blowing out to center field at 15 mph, the deck was considerably stacked for the home team.
Speaking of stacked, such was the stat line of Idaho Falls first baseman reigning Pioneer League Player of the Week Reed Rohlman.
Rohlman finished a double shy of the cycle with a 3-run homer, a 3-run triple and seven RBIs.
Add to that the fact the Chukars were starting former Arizona Wildcats pitching standout J.C. Cloney.
Cloney, a lefty fireballer, has proven to be the ace of the pitching staff thus far in 2018, and entered Tuesday’s game with a tidy 1.05 ERA.
Cloney was put to the test early, however, giving up a solo shot to Helena’s Nick Egnatuk in the second.
Things nearly fell apart for Cloney in the third as the southpaw put two runners in scoring position with no outs, but slipped free of the noose with a pop-up, a strikeout and a groundout.
On the other side of the ledger, Idaho Falls was pounding Helena starter Justin Bullock, posting eight runs over the first four innings to take an early 8-2 lead.
Batting out of the five hole, Rohlman opened the scoring with his homer, bringing the home crowd of 2,278 to its feet with a bomb to right center in the first.
Not to be outdone, Idaho Falls second baseman and Chukars’ clean-up hitter Nathan Eaton finished 4-for-4 with three runs, pushing his team-best batting average to .409.
Angel Medina and Kyle Isbell also had multiple hit games for the Chukars, combining to score six runs.
Tuesday night’s game was the first of seven straight home games for the Chukars (15-10), including tonight’s game against Helena (13-12). First pitch is scheduled for 7:15 p.m.
Idaho Falls kept pace with Pioneer League South Division leading Ogden, and enter tonight’s game one game back of the Raptors in the first-half standings.