Bottom of the ninth, score tied 2-2, Trapper Max Tripodi on second with a double and the Billings infield pulled in hoping to choke off the only run that would really mean anything in Sunday afternoon's game at Derks Field.
Trapper shortstop Ray Karczewski, the No. 8 batter in the order, squared away, waving his bat menacingly, offering to bunt Tripodi to third.The pitch came in from Mustang starter Tim Pugh, Karczewski pulled the bat back and instead won the game with one swipe, hitting a ground-ball double over first base, just out of reach of the pulled-in infield.
The Trappers bounced back from Saturday night's 12-5 drubbing with a clean 3-2 win.
"I think these players were very upset with their performance (Saturday) night, and that's why you saw some good concentration," said Trapper Manager Barry Moss.
"Maybe this will get us on a roll, to win a game like this," said Karczewski, recalling how the Trappers had used ninth-inning rallies to take the lead in the Pioneer South early in the season. They're in second place now, scratching for every half-game advancement while trying to catch Butte.
The Trappers continue their homestand as Helena settles into Derks for four games beginning tonight.
"I'm pretty sure he thought I was going to bunt," said Karczewski, who feared he might have retracted the bunt stance a little too soon.
"I felt comfortable trying to pull the ball. I was on him (Pugh) all day," Karczewski added, saying Moss gave him the option of sacrificing or pulling the ball to the right side of the infield.
They were tied twice, but the Trappers never trailed in Sunday's game, with second baseman J.D. Ramirez driving in Gerard Giustino with a double in the fourth inning for a 1-0 lead and singling Mike Grace home in the sixth for a 2-1 lead.
Billings' run came after Scott Pose had doubled on a ball - the third in two games - that caromed off the pitcher's glove into a hit. Danny Perozo singled Pose across. It could have been worse, but Trapper catcher Phil Evans and third baseman Mike Grace had already picked off Trevor Hoffman straying too far from the base just ahead of Perozo's hit.
A Karczewski error in the eighth following a balk gave Trapper starting pitcher Mike Ashworth a pass to the bench, and Scott Bray relieved, striking out the last batter in the eighth and first in the ninth. "Bray made that one guy look basically pretty sick," said Karczewski.
Then Harry Henderson smacked a Bray pitch into the outfield for his third hit, and pinch runner Mark Cerny scored the tying run when Brian Nichols doubled to right-center. "That brings you down a bit," Karczewski allowed.
"I was thinking," said Moss, "I've got to stay with Bray. He's the man I want in there. I was hoping they wouldn't get another hit and put us behind."
Bray slammed the door with a strikeout and got a fly ball to right for Billings' last out, leaving things to the Trapper batting order. "He did a real good job," said Moss.
Ashworth, too, did what was asked of him, giving up seven hits and one run in 7 2/3 innings.