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AMBOS TAKES BLAME AS COPPER KINGS RALLY TO UPEND TRAPPERS

SHARE AMBOS TAKES BLAME AS COPPER KINGS RALLY TO UPEND TRAPPERS

They need a new nickname for Trapper Willie Ambos. Instead of "Bull" it should be "No Bull" because he flat-out took the blame for what happened in the ninth inning at Derks Monday night.

Butte had a couple of stolen bases that may not have been Ambos' fault and a double that was misplayed into a triple and drove in the winning run, but Ambos insisted."I accept the responsibility," he said after a three-run Butte ninth broke a 6-6 tie and gave the Copper Kings a 9-6 win over Salt Lake and put them one-half game ahead of the Trappers for the Pioneer South lead with 10 games left.

"I couldn't stop the bleeding. They earned their money, and I didn't earn mine," Ambos said.

"Who can you fault? He got beat," said Trapper Manager Nick Belmonte. "They came up with the hits. That's going to happen. We've won our share just like that," said Belmonte.

Ambos entered for his first relief appearance of the season in the fifth, taking over for league strikeout leader Gene Mirabella. The Trappers wanted two strong pitchers available for long duty in this critical game; Mirabella received the start, and Ambos went to the bullpen.

Ambos gave up two hits in the fifth but got out of it with a first-to-short-to-home-to-third-to-pitcher double play and then threw three strong innings.

"He was working really fast and got himself in a groove that first inning, and we were trying to slow him down," said Butte's Todd Guggiana, a .346 hitter who drove in the winning run with his line drive off the right-field wall that ended up as a triple.

Guggiana scored when Rusty Greer, hitting .332, picked up his third hit and third RBI, and Greer scored the last run on Marty Posey's single.

Jon Shave's single through the infield started the winning rally in the ninth. "As soon as they got that leadoff hit," said Ambos, "you could almost feel momentum going to their dugout."

Ambos had the feeling that whomever scored first would win, "and they broke me before I broke them."

Salt Lake had poured it on in the second inning, scoring five runs on four hits, two walks and a hit batsman to give Mirabella a 5-1 lead.

"We knew we had to score as quick as we can," said Guggiana. "In the past, they've blown us out," he said, referring to 20-2, 18-9 and 14-1 Salt Lake wins earlier. Butte also beat the Trappers 21-7, 8-1 and 15-2.

"We were a little down," admitted Greer, "but with our offense, we don't have to worry about those five runs. We've been behind like that against several teams and just chipped away. That's all we had to do."

Butte's team batting average? .317.

A Posey single, Melvin Matos triple and sacrifice fly chipped in two runs in the fourth to make it 5-3, and the Copper Kings took a 6-5 lead in the fifth. A single, error and two-run Greer double brought on Ambos. Brian Mouton's double scored the third run of the inning.

Salt Lake tied it 6-6 in the seventh with a walk, bunt and Steve Keighley single, but that was the Traps' last hit of the game.

It wasn't their last stand. Belmonte's sure of that. "The league wasn't decided tonight. It's still in our hands," he said.

Butte, 3-6 against Idaho Falls with five left against the Braves, plays there tonight and tomorrow before returning home to wind up the series with Salt Lake Thursday and Friday. The Trappers, 5-5 vs. Idaho Falls, have four games left against the Braves and four with Gate City starting in Pocatello tonight and Wednesday. The Traps are 6-6 vs. Butte, 9-1 against Gate City. Salt Lake has four home and six road games remaining.