Missoula Mavericks coach Brent Hathaway said his team works hard all season to make it look easy this time of year when the wins get important.
It was exceedingly easy for the Mavs Sunday in a Western AA Legion baseball sweep of the Great Falls Electrics at Lindborg-Cregg Field. The Mavs won the opener of the conference doubleheader 15-0 and took the second game 6-2 behind finely tuned pitching, hitting and fielding.
Missoula must be working hard in practice because the Mavs looked like Mozart playing "Chopsticks" in the first game. Chad Hines turned in a brilliant performance on the mound, allowing just one hit in the complete-game shutout to earn his 20th career victory for the Mavs at the AA level. Hines gave up his only hit in the first inning to Beau Hiskey.
"Chad threw extremely well and didn't have too much of a workload because he was so efficient," Hathaway said. "Only seven or eight guys have won 20 games for the AA and he still has the rest of the season to win a few more. It's a real accomplishment."
While Hines (10-1) was facing only one batter more than the minimum, Missoula's offense piled up runs. The Mavs pounded out 12 hits, highlighted by Amos Templer's 2-for-2 performance.
Templer, who finished the day 5-for-6, walked in his first at-bat of the day before crushing a solo home run to left field and then scoring another run in Missoula's seven-run fourth inning.
"Amos is a ferocious competitor who works hard all the time and he hit the ball really hard today," Hathaway said.
In the second game, Missoula got another outstanding pitching performance from Paul Boyd. Boyd mowed down the Great Falls' batters in every inning except the fourth, where he allowed his only two hits and two runs but ended up striking out three batters.
Missoula did most of its damage in the third inning, scoring four runs on three hits, highlighted by a two-run single by B.J. Welker. Boyd (9-2) didn't need much help beyond that as he struck out nine in the complete game.
The wins moved the Mavs to 9-1 in conference and 37-7 overall. Missoula begins play at the Richland, Wash., tournament on Wednesday. Hathaway said the Mavs will likely face the toughest competition they will see all season.
"Some of the best teams in the Northwest are there and we'll see just how good we are," Hathaway said.
Great Falls 000 00 - 0 1 3
Missoula 305 7x - 15 12 0
Jeremy Daul, Jon Caldwell (3), Beau Nemitz (4) and Warren Rains. Chad Hines and Amos Templer. W - Hines (10-1). L - Daul.
GREAT FALLS - Nemitz 0-2, Jesse Decker 0-2, Beau Hiskey 1-2, Brad Gilcrest 0-2, Ben Wingerter 0-2, Rains 0-2, Daul 0-1, Levi Korst 0-1, Bryan Romsa 0-1.
MISSOULA - Tanner Kahler 1-3, Kris Welker 2-3, B.J. Welker 3-4, Will Thompson 0-1, Brad Bjorklund 1-2, Brian Moser 2-4, Brad Kerr 1-3, Templer 2-2, Ryan Andrews 0-2.
2B - Kahler. 3B - Bjorklund. HR - Templer. RBIs - Missoula: Moser 3, Kahler 2, K. Welker 2, Bjorklund 2, Thompson.
Great Falls 000 200 0 - 2 2 2
Missoula 104 100 x - 6 7 0
Tyson Hendrickson, Decker (4) and Gilcrest. Paul Boyd and Charlie Duval. W - Boyd (9-2). L - Hendrickson.
GREAT FALLS - Ryan Cunhiff 0-3, Nemitz 1-3, Hiskey 0-2, Gilcrest 0-1, Wingerter 1-3, Rains 0-3, Decker 0-3, Korst 0-3, Romsa 0-1, Hendrickson 0-1.
MISSOULA - Kahler 2-4, K. Welker 1-2, B.J. Welker 1-3, Thompson 0-2, Bjorklund 0-2, Moser 0-3, Hines 1-3, Templer 2-3, Duval 1-3.
2B - Wingerter. 3B - Kahler. RBIs - Great Falls: Wingerter 2. Missoula: B.J. Welker 2, Templer.
Monday - 6/28/99