By MICHAEL MCQUAIN
IDAHO FALLS - It was ‘Bull Durham’ meets ‘Groundhog Day.’
Terrible pitching, stranded base runners, an unending stream of batters, and that was just the top of the first-inning.
Idaho Falls fell to Helena, 6-5 Sunday afternoon in a 3 ½ hour marathon that felt more like a double-header. The loss plunges the Chukars to 7-14 in the Pioneer League second half.
Helena wasted no time jumping on starter Daniel Gutierrez. After giving-up two singles and a walk to open the game, Gutierrez saw Brewers clean-up hitter Chris Errecart slap a bases-loaded chopper to third, scoring Chuckie Caufield. Catcher Andy Bouchie then followed his grand slam from Saturday with a two-run single to left, as the Brewers grabbed a 3-0 lead before a single out had been recorded.
But the Chukars hitters rallied behind Gutierrez in the bottom of the first.
After O.D. Gonzalez led-off with an infield single, Jase Turner crushed a Chris Jean pitch over the wall in right, his sixth home run of the summer, to make it a 3-2 ballgame.
“I was trying to wait for a pitch up in the zone after swinging at a lot of balls in the dirt, trying to have patience,” said Turner of his first homer against a team other than
But in the second, Caufield ripped a shot to the gap in right centerfield which he stretched into a triple. Then, when a Gutierrez pitch got past catcher Matt Morizio, Caufield raced home, making it 4-2 Brewers.
Once again, the Chukars batters came to the rescue.
Left fielder Alvi Morel slapped a 2 RBI single into center, scoring Marc Maddox and Morizio to level the score at 4-4.
“I’ve been hurt for two weeks, but now that I’m back on the field it feels good to get my groove back” said Morel.
In the Idaho Falls 5th, after spotting Helena two more runs, infielder Kurt Mertins drove Morel home with a single to left, but that was as close as the Chukars would get, eventually stranding nine base runners enroute to the 6-5 final score.