The Helena Brewers have been struggling of late, entering Saturday night’s contest as losers of six of their last eight games. They were hoping that Harold Chirino would have the answers to get them back into the win column, but he would not survive the first as the Idaho Falls Chukars went onto victory ,11-4. Freddy Fermin drove in four in the contest and a five-run sixth put this game away.
Idaho Falls would jump out in front with three-runs in the top of the first. With one down, Amalani Fukofuka grounded a single into left, but he was thrown out trying to stretch his hit into a double. It looked like Chirino would roll through the first, but he then lost the plate, walking three straight to load the bases. Freddy Fermin followed with a lined single into right that scored two and the Chukars led 2-0. Rodrigo Benoit came on for Chirino and retired the final batter of the inning, but not before giving up a base hit that scored one more to make it 3-0.
In the top of the second, Idaho Falls added another run. Once again, the two out rally reared its ugly head. Benoit retired the first two batters of the inning and a ground ball looked like it would end the inning, but an error by the Brewers second baseman allowed Fukofuka to reach. He then stole second and moved to third on a wild throw by the catcher. Robby Rinn followed with a double that scored the runner and the Chukars lead was four.
Helena got on the board in the bottom of the third. Nick Roscetti singled with one down and Dallas Carroll reached on a walk to put two on. Two batters later KJ Harrison singled into left, driving Roscetti home to make it 4-1.
In the fifth, Idaho Falls extended their lead back to four. Travis Jones doubled with two down and moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on a wild throw to make it 5-1.
In the sixth, the Chukars put this game away. Chris Hudgins singled with one down and moved to second on a bloop single by Cristhian Vasquez. Parker Bean took over for Benoit, but he could not stop the bleeding. Offerman Collado walked to load the bases with one down, and a single by Fukofuka scored Hudgins to make it 6-1. Rinn walked to drive home the second run of the inning and Jones reached on a fielder’s choice to score Collado. A walk to Straub brought home Fukofuka and Rinn came home when Fermin was hit by a pitch. That made it 10-1.
Helena got one of those runs back in the bottom half of the inning. Franly Mallen and Jose Gomez delivered back-to-back singles with one down. David McKay came out and was relieved by Michael Silva, who threw a wild pitch that moved both runners into scoring position. Nic Pierre singled to score Mallen, but the inning ended when Silva induced a double-play.
Idaho Falls plated one more run in the eighth. Jones doubled to start the inning and moved to third on a ground out. He scored on a sacrifice fly by Fermin to make it 11-2.
The Brewers looked to rally in the ninth. Andrew Beckwith came on for Silva and walked Gabriel Garcia and Harrison to start the frame. A base hit by Brent Diaz brought Garcia home and moved Harrison to third, but Diaz was thrown out trying to stretch his single into a double. A ground out brought Harrison home to make it 11-4, but Helena would get no closer.
David McKay (2-3) earned the victory, going 5.2-innings, allowing 6-hits and 2-runs. He struck out 8. Freddy Fermin was 2-3 with 4-RBI and Travis Jones finished 2-4 with 3-runs scored and an RBI. Robby Rinn scored 2-runs and drove in 2. Nic Pierre led the Helena offense, going 2-4 with an RBI.
The final game of this four-game set is set for Sunday. Nick Hernandez (4-0, 3.94) goes for Helena. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05.
By Robert Pannier