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TRAPPERS GO UP 5-0 BUT LOSE TO GREAT FALLS

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Great Falls may not have the blue-chip all-star players it had the past two seasons when it won Pioneer League championships, but the 1990 rookie Dodgers at least know how to chip away.

"I'm a believer in them more and more, and they believe in themselves," said Manager Joe Vavra after the Dodgers, once down 5-0, came back to beat the Salt Lake Trappers 7-6 Tuesday night at Derks Field in the opener of a seven-game homestand. Another Dodger/Trapper game will be played tonight at 7.Vavra's Dodgers, much younger than those of the past two years, are nonetheless off to the same kind of start - 11-2. Including Tuesday's game, six of those games were one-run contests, and they won five of them.

"It's not easy to get down five runs and come back," said Vavra. "We're a chip-away type team; we start slow and don't quit. The opposition is never too sure of a victory."

The Trappers, 8-5, appeared on the way to a win after batting around in the second inning for five runs on six hits and two Dodger errors.

The Dodgers, meanwhile, were showing some of what got them this far with three infield hits and two bloop singles in the first four innings.

After changing pitchers, to reliever Ed Stryker in the third, they became more menacing with each inning.

They got a run on four hits in the fourth, then put together four runs on four hits and two John Urcioli errors in the fifth to tie the game and chase starting pitcher Willie Ambos.

"Ambos pitched a fine game," said Trapper Manager Nick Belmonte. "A couple of handle hits and not a lot of defensive help, and they get right back in the ballgame. That's all it takes."

Defense "is the only problem area," Belmonte said. He's mulling changes up the middle of the infield. "I'd better be," he said.

Urcioli has 12 errors in 12 games, and second baseman Ed Garczyk had four in nine games.

Belmonte moved Brian Biggers from second to short in the seventh, with Great Falls now leading 7-5, and Biggers immediately came up with a short-to-first double play that gave the Traps some hope. "It did, because we hadn't made a play like that in a couple of innings," said Belmonte.

That and 2 1/3 innings of two-hit relief pitching by Randy White stemmed Great Falls, but the Trappers couldn't find the one timely hit they needed to push over the tying run. They left men on second and third in the seventh after Rob Bargas scored on a walk, two singles and a groundout. They left men on third and first in the eighth and on second in the ninth.

"Their middle guy did a good job shutting us down at a key point of the game," said Belmonte, speaking of Stryker, who picked up the win with four innings of two-hit, no-run pitching.

"He kept them in check. We've had that one pitcher that's always done the holding," noted Vavra.

"That momentum creeps over," he added.

Great Falls finished with 17 hits to Salt Lake's 11 and made five errors to the Trappers' three, but only one Trapper run was unearned. Great Falls got good mileage out of the Trapper errors - four of its seven runs were unearned, including the game-winner in the sixth. After a bloop hit by Tim Griffin, Mike Busch grounded back to the pitcher, who threw into center field trying to get Griffin at second. Griffin scored on Ira Smith's double, and Busch scored the winner on a groundout.

TRAPPER NOTES - Salt Lake announced several roster changes Tuesday. They sent outfielder Dennis Kidd to the Miami Miracle and got center fielder Joe Burnett in return in a double option - each player still belongs to the other organization. Also, outfielder Jim Schifman retired and pitchers Joe Sawaia and Ron Gerstein were released. Burnett walked and singled and stole home as the new Trapper leadoff man and made two long-running catches in center. "That's his reputation," said Belmonte.