BILLINGS — The Billings Mustangs are riding a 14-game Pioneer League winning streak after picking up yet another victory Monday at Dehler Park over Great Falls, 14-5. According to the team, it's the Mustangs' longest winning streak since they won 15 in a row in 1994.
Now 14 victories in a row is pretty eye-popping, but it’s the way they’ve gone about it that’s absolutely staggering.
“We've known the whole season we've had the talent. We've added some of the right pieces at the right time, and the cohesiveness of the lineup and everyone firing on all cylinders — having the lineup go through and everyone contribute has really made a difference," pitcher Keagan McGinnis said.
“How many runs did we score this week? Ninety-three runs in six games?" pitcher and outfielder Luke Trueman said before Monday's game. "Our hitting coach Craig Maddox showed us a video that he used with the (San Francisco) Giants. It just talked about not being passive, not having auto-takes and really hunting your pitching, getting a fastball and driving it."
The bats have been hot for Billings, scoring double-digit runs in eight of the 14 victories, including consecutive games with 20-plus runs. The guys on the mound have been able to back up the offense, too, giving up less than 5.5 runs per game.
“Knowing that there's going to be a lot of runs put up kind of takes pressure off you. You can kind of just throw strikes and compete. Even if you don't have your best stuff, just throw strikes and see what happens," Trueman said.
“Just going out there trying to throw strikes and making the hitters earn their at bats," McGinnis said. "The easiest thing to do is just go in there and keep the defense active. That starts with throwing strike one. Getting ahead of hitters and forcing them to swing the bat has really helped out."
Billings has built a massive amount of confidence and momentum in the past couple weeks and led the second-half standings in the Pioneer League's North division by a half game over Missoula entering Monday. The Mustangs hope to keep it rolling towards a deep postseason run.
“It's hard to see the end. Again, with the way we're playing it's consistent," McGinnis said. "It's everyone doing it, not just one guy contributing everything. When you've got a team playing as well as we are on all fronts, it's hard to see an end to it."
Just five games remain in the regular season with the Pioneer League playoffs on the horizon.