The Top 3 Games of 2012 – No. 3

The votes are in and have been counted, and we have our Top 3 Games of 2012. While the highlights will be uploaded to the website at MissoulaOsprey.com later tonight and tomorrow, we figured we’d at least let most of the cat out of the bag, so to speak.

The games that were voted on that did not make the grade:
4. June 25 (Mondesi-gate … the night Raul Mondesi Jr. missed home plate on what would have been a game-tying two-run home run in Helena, giving the Osprey a 2-1 win in 10 innings)
5. June 22 (Home opener, tied in extra innings on a Jake Lamb RBI triple, and won in the 13th on a walk-off double by Lamb)
6. June 27 (The 20-0 win over Helena in which Danny Pulfer hit for the cycle and Michael PErez came close to doing the same)
7. August 30 (The rally from 6-0 down to win 9-6 in Billings)

And now … for No. 3 on our list …
August 11, 2012 – Rally from 9-0 down against Billings, win 11-10 on triple play. Game story/MiLB.com story/Crooked numbers piece on game
This may not have won the Game of the Year award in our own fan vote, but it should have been nominated for a MiLBY. Where else can you get down 9-0 and find a way to win a game, plus walk off with the win at home after pulling off a triple play?

That’s what we thought.

This game was destined for Doomsday from the beginning. The Mustangs came in after winning the Friday night game, and both teams managed to jump off to strong starts for the second half. At that point, the Mustangs held a two game lead in the North Division.

And it looked like it would become three, after the Mustangs jumped out to a 9-0 lead. By the third inning, though, you had a feeling this wasn’t your typical 9-0 deficit. Why?
– For one, the Osprey were fired up. It was clear that Michael Perez had been intentionally thrown at, and the occasional animosity that had developed during the season between Billings manager Pat Kelly and Osprey manager Andy Green (and the rest of the coaching staff, apparently) hit a boiling point, as Green and Kelly managed to get into a shouting match after Perez took first (incident free, by the way).
– The straw that really started stirring the drink came in the third inning, when Chris Pack hit Jesse Winker on an 0-2 pitch. Pack was immediately ejected (without a warning from the umpires) and the Mustangs responded by scoring four runs in the top of the third off of emergency reliever Patrick Smith. Suddenly, the 2-0 lead had grown to 6-0.

The ejection of Pack, in hindsight, was the turnaround the Osprey needed in the second half. Why? For one, it allowed Chris Thomas to become a starting pitcher – and we know how that turned out. Second, it gave the Osprey a rallying cry. Seeing the players after the game as united as ever, all knowing that they had that moment which brought the team together.

– After the Mustangs tagged three more runs on the board in the top of the fifth inning, the Osprey began their comeback. Oddly enough, they scored three runs on just one hit – a theme for the night – and suddenly were down just 9-3. The fans were not really out of the game – in part because they were still a little jacked up thanks to the shenanigans of the third inning. And well, you know what inning is next …
– The sixth produced a Peanut Inning like no other, not from runs – the Osprey scored twice to pull within 9-5 – but from the fans.
– The least talked-about fact from this game – Tyler Bream’s 3-run homer actually landed in the Clark Fork River.
– Another fact not shared, other than on the End-Of-Game Interviews – Beal Amaral, who hit into the triple play that ended the game, actually tripped over his own bat. If you look at the video, you see him toss the bat down, and it didn’t bounce as planned, ending up right in the baseline just outside of the batter’s box.

We’ll have the other two games in the days to come. Look for an announcement on each on MissoulaOsprey.com. Radio highlights will be up by Friday on Game #3 on the list.

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