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Billings Mustangs lefty Pat Maybach taming high-scoring Pioneer League

Pat Maybach Mustangs
Posted at 4:18 PM, Jun 18, 2024

BILLINGS — As the Billings Mustangs return home from a 12-game road swing, baseball doesn't get any easier Tuesday night when the Ponies open a six-game series against the league-leading Missoula Paddleheads (19-5).

Those paying attention to scores this season have seen some outrageously high numbers across the Pioneer League. But one Mustangs lefty is keeping teams in check. In four starts this early season Pat Maybach is 3-0.

“It’s when you get them distracted and on their toes and a little bit off timing where you can really take advantage of a bad swing and get the ground ball or get the strikeout when you really need it,” Maybach told MTN Sports prior to Tuesday's 6:35 p.m. game.

Maybach is barely allowing three earned runs a game (3.17) and just three weeks ago threw the Mustangs’ first shutout in almost a decade, hammering away at the Rocky Mountain Vibes 14-0.

“Your job is to make the pitch look good enough to swing at and I think Pat does a really good job,” said Mustangs manager Craig Maddox.

It's common right now for teams to score 14, 16 or 20 runs a game, which the Mustangs (13-11) just did in a 25-5 win at Ogden. The Rocky Mountain Vibes even scored 27 this season in drubbing of Pioneer League expanstion team Oakland three weeks ago.

Maybach and Maddox aren't blown away by seeing football scores on the Pioneer League baseball diamond.

“You know, it’s more about execution and anywhere — whether it’s this league or the big leagues — if you fall behind on hitters and you have to come into the zone with a fastball because you’re behind, it’s going to get hit,” Maddox said.

“It just happens in baseball," Maybach added. "Some days, a pitcher is just not going to have it or a defense isn’t on, and teams are good enough at this level to take advantage of that.”

Maybach’s next scheduled start is Wednesday and should be a strong test against the league-leading Paddleheads.

The Mustangs also announced prior to Tuesday's start that hard-hitting fan favorite Gabe Wurtz is back in a Mustangs uniform after opening the season with the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs. Wurtz will make his first start of the Pioneer League season as a designated hitter for Billings.