OGDEN — It has been a season of streaks for the Great Falls Voyagers. At one point the team lost nine straight games, but the Voyagers closed the second half of the year winning four of five to clinch a playoff spot and sweep Missoula in the first half of the Pioneer Divisional Championship Series.
“Coming into the season we started out hot, and then we hit a cold streak,” said outfielder Craig Dedelow. “But, you know what, our coaches really believed in us and we just believed in ourselves as a unit. And, you know, the cold streak just brought us closer together.”
“It’s a season, it’s a grind,” added manager Tim Esmay. “Thirty-two days in a row we’ve played games. We’ve all done that. (Winning) puts a little extra bounce back in your step.”
Thursday night the Voyagers begin the Pioneer League Championship Series against the Ogden Raptors in Utah. Great Falls took the season series 4-3 and earned home field advantage with Games 2 and 3 (if necessary) scheduled at Centene Stadium.
“The south is great,” said Tim Esmay. “We had a hard time with (Ogden), they’re a good club. We play the Dodgers a lot, they’re in our complex for spring training. We’ll know each other. It’ll be fun, and we’re looking forward to it.”
“Playing in front of our fans, especially for two games, we couldn’t ask for much more, especially in the situation we’re coming into,” said Dedelow. “We’re really excited about the opportunity in front of us.”
The sweep of Missoula led to an additional day of rest, which allowed the Voyagers to save some pitchers for the PLCS. The Voyagers will send Kyle Von Ruden (4-4) to the mound against the Raptors. Ogden will counter with Aldaberto Pena (0-3). First pitch is scheduled for 5 p.m. MST.