Trapper Manager Barry Moss had some friendly advice for Dodger Manager Tim Johnson prior to Monday's game. "I told him, `Get out of town,' " Moss said.
It didn't work.Johnson and his Great Falls team stayed around long enough to hang one more loss on Salt Lake at Derks Field, 10-1, before getting out of town.
Billings comes in for games tonight, Wednesday and Thursday.
It was Great Falls' seventh straight win over the Trappers in the past week - a sweep of the season series - and it continued a Trapper franchise record for consecutive downfalls. The Dodgers, 41-14, have won 11 straight and 14 of 15.
Moss had more advice for the Los Angeles Dodger organization about this Great Falls bunch. "They'd do well in a double-A league right now," Moss said. "In my days, I've seen many double-A teams that can't match them."
Trouble is, says Johnson, all Dodger farm teams are at or near the top in their leagues. But Johnson said of the three Dodger rookie teams: "It seems I've got the better one right now."
The Dodgers, who had their best draft in years this year, aren't pushing the Great Falls kids. "They're not going to rush anybody," said Johnson.
And that includes 18-year-old Dominican shortstop Jose Offerman, who speaks little English but had Salt Lakers talking about him all week. He is flawlessly rangy in the field, hitting .347 and has stolen 44 bases - one Monday - with a good shot at the Pioneer League record of 51.
"He's the best one in the league by far, and he just improves each game," said Dodger catcher Brett Magnussen.
Magnussen's not bad, either. Monday he hit his second monster home run in two games. Both times, Trapper outfielders just stood and watched Magnussen's shots sail high over the fence. Monday's was good for three seventh-inning runs to make the score a genuine wipeout. Teammate Jerry Brooks had homered with none on earlier in the inning to make it 7-0.
Angry Trapper Greg Ehmig provided their only run with a seventh-inning homer. That gave him three hits - also a single and double - as he sent Moss a message. Moss had benched Ehmig for the past three games. "I think it shook him up a little bit," Moss said. "He's not talking to me, really - I like that."
For the sixth straight game, according to Moss, the Trappers played about as well as they have all season in earning a record of 33-23.
The problem was, Great Falls "didn't make any mistakes all week," Moss said. "We're a team that takes advantage of mistakes, and we didn't get any opportunity to do that."
"We just have an outstanding ballclub," said Johnson. "Excellent pitching, excellent defense, and this club can get runs as quick as any club I've been around, even in the big leagues. They just explode.
"They're aggressive, they play hard, have fun and win. What else can a manager ask?" Johnson said. "A lot of times, by the sixth or seventh inning, you're done managing."
Moss was done managing about that time Monday, leaving late-inning third-base coaching to Coach Darren Garrick. Moss said it was to give him experience in case Moss is ejected in the future.
Great Falls jumped up 4-0 in the second with a walk, error and passed ball opening the door and three singles and a run-scoring groundout shutting it in the Traps' faces. Salt Lake had its best chance in the second when Mando Verdugo singled and Marty Peralta walked ahead of a Jeff Allison single, but Moss sent Verdugo home, where he was thrown out. "I thought he was coming faster than he was. My mistake," Moss said, adding that he, too, is overanxious to win again.
Ehmig followed with a single, but Peralta was tagged out at home after a wild pitch turned to good luck for the Dodgers. Great Falls added single runs in the third and fourth for a 6-0 lead.
"We're just playing good," said Magnussen, who rates the Traps a good bet for the playoffs, though they're second now in the South. "I still think they're a very good team; they're just in a state of bad luck."
Moss also looks toward the playoffs. He likens the situation to 1985, when Great Falls was 54-16 and the 46-24 Trappers beat them for the league title, 3-1.