Chukars, Brewers end series with tight battle

Chukars’ catcher Chase Vallot spins to tag Helena’s David Fry during Friday night’s game at Melaleuca Field. The throw from the outfield was a little too late and Fry scored on the play. Monte LaOrange / mlaorange@postregister.com

By PAUL LAMBERT
prsports@postregister.com

The luck was with the road team on Friday the 13th at Melaleuca Field as the Helena Brewers took an early lead into the late innings.

At Post Register deadline, the Helena Brewers were leading the Idaho Falls Chukars 8-7 in the top of the ninth inning.

Despite committing four errors and giving up 13 hits to Idaho Falls through eight innings, Helena was in position to get out of town with the victory thanks to 16 hits and a four-run fourth.

A Helena win would earn the Brewers a split in the four-game series, wrapping up the set in front of 2,798 fans Friday.

Chukars’ pitcher Conner Mayes releases a pitch during Friday night’s game at Melaleuca Field. Monte LaOrange / mlaorange@postregister.com

The Chukars got on the board in the third inning putting together a two-out, two-run rally, flipping a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 lead. Idaho Falls got RBIs from Jose Caraballo and Brady Cox in the inning.

The Brewers stacked back-to-back-to-back singles to open the fourth, starting an inning that proved particularly unlucky for the Chukars and starting pitcher Connor Mayes.

By the time it was over, Helena had four runs on four hits and a 5-2 lead.

Andres Martin got one back to open the bottom of the fourth, popping a solo shot over the left field wall. The homer was the first in Martin’s four-year professional career, a drought spanning 545 plate appearances.

Kyle Isbell brought the crowd to its feet three batters later, lacing a triple deep into the right field corner with two outs, then scoring on the play on a Helena throwing error.

Helena got to Mayes for two more in the fifth, chasing the hard-throwing righty after scoring seven on 12 hits.

Helena slugger Chad McClanahan opened the scoring in the first, driving a towering sky shot to right, to take the Pioneer League lead with six home runs.

Idaho Falls (16-11) will keep the home fires burning tonight, hosting Missoula in the first of a three-game series against the Osprey.

The Chukars will also host Missoula on Sunday and Monday before hitting the road for a seven-game set in Montana.

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