PROVO The last time the Bob Wilson Trophy made its home in Utah, the Salt Lake Trappers were Pioneer League champions in 1991.
Bob is back.
After four years of chasing the Pioneer League championship and coming a game or two away, the Provo Angels dethroned defending champ Billings Mustangs with a 4-2 victory Monday night to capture their first title in front of a near-capacity crowd at Miller Field.
With no outs and a runner on base in the bottom of the eighth inning, J.R. Renz gave the Angels their first lead of the game with a two-run home run shot over the left field wall, and Mitch Arnold struck out the side in the top of the ninth to close out the Mustangs.
"I've never won anything in my life," Renz said before being slammed in the face with a celebratory pie. "We had to win this one tonight. They're too tough to beat twice."
Renz, who has been a clutch hitter for the Angels down the stretch, said he was planning on bunting in his final at-bat but got the right pitch to hit.
"It's ironic," said Provo manager Tom Kotchman of Renz's heroics. "Renz bunted about a week ago to win a ball game, and I told him I'm giving him one pitch to hit and then he might bunt. He got the pitch to hit and hit it out."
Billings took an early 1-0 lead in the first inning with a bases-loaded grounder from Philip Gentry to first base, bringing in Drew Anderson from third.
Alexis Casilla put the Angels on the board soon after with a lead-off single in the bottom of the first. Casilla moved around the diamond on three passed balls to tie the game 1-1.
The Mustangs grabbed a free run of their own when Drew Phillips came home after Tim Duff couldn't stop a Fernando Rodriquez pitch to regain the lead, 2-1.
Duff got the crowd and the Angels back into the game bottom of the sixth inning with a one-out double deep into left field that hit the top of the fence and bounced back into fair play. Cliff Remole looped an RBI single into left field on the next at-bat to score Duff and tie the game at 2-2.
Provo looked to extend its lead in the inning when Billings' Bobby Gentry dropped fly ball in foul territory to keep Renz's at-bat alive and draw his third walk of the evening, but he was stranded as Mike Perdomo and Richard Giannotti went down swinging.
Provo threatened again in the seventh with the top of the order at-bat. Casilla singled up the middle but was caught stealing second base. Nate Sutton followed with a stand-up double into right field that would have scored Casilla. Sean Rodriquez landed on first base via a walk, but both were left on base after a pair of Angels flyouts.
Rodriquez allowed four hits and struck out four for the Angels, while Billings' starter Tyler Pelland gave up three hits and struck out six.
Arnold and middle reliever Bill Edwards finished off the game, allowing only one hit in four innings.
Kotchman was displeased with the amount of runners left on base the first half of the game, but praised his pitchers for doing their jobs.
"We didn't do the fundamentals of the game, but our pitching was good," he said.