Missoula Osprey Claim Pioneer League Championship
Feb 18, 2014; Dunedin, FL, USA; An osprey flies overhead with a fish while the Blue Jays workout at Bobby Mattick Training Center. Mandatory Credit: David Manning-USA TODAY Sports
Another Minor League affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks won a championship last night. The Missoula Osprey claimed the Pioneer League title by defeating the Idaho Falls Chukars 8-1 in the third and deciding game. It marks the fourth championship victory for Missoula who last won the crown in 2012. That team featured current D-backs Jake Lamb and Socrates Brito as well as Evan Marzilli, who played in last year’s Arizona Fall League.
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The Chuckars, a Kansas City Royals affiliate, hosted Game 1 which saw the Osprey put on a hitting clinic on the way to a 17-9 victory. Third baseman Kal Simmons went 4 for 5 with six RBI’s, including a three-run homer. Shortstop Isan Diaz, the 2015 Pioneer League MVP, drove in four runs and added a three-run shot of his own. Monday was a travel day and it was on to Ogren Park Allegiance Field for the next two games. Idaho Falls took advantage of fifth inning errors by Simmons and Diaz, leading to four runs and an eventual 5-3 win to force a third game. Missoula turned to Bo Takahashi to bring home the crown. Unfortunately, the right-hander didn’t have his best stuff as he left with the bases loaded and two outs in the fourth inning. Reliever Scott Schultz got the final out, fielding a hard hit ball cleanly to end the inning. Missoula’s bats then came alive by scoring three runs in the bottom of the frame, one in the fifth and four in the sixth to seal the deal. First baseman Austin Byler went 3 for 4 for the victors while center fielder Joey Armstrong was 2 for 4.
In the regular season, Missoula finished with a mark of 42-33, one-half game behind the Ogden Raptors for the best overall league record. They finished the first half with the best record in the North Division at 23-14 and placed second in the other half of the season at 19-19. Congratulations to manager Joe Mather and the rest of the Osprey on a Championship season!