OREM — The Orem Owlz bested visiting Helena 6-3 Tuesday in Game 1 of the best-of-three Pioneer League championship series.
First baseman Mark Trumbo and designated hitter Flint Wipke both went 2-for-3 with two runs and two RBIs to fuel the Orem offense.
Owlz starting pitcher Robert Mosebach pitched five strong innings to earn the win, and Kevin Lynch tossed two scoreless frames to notch the save.
The key moment of the game came in the bottom of the seventh when Trumbo stepped to the plate with two on, two out and Orem clinging to a 4-3 lead.
Facing Brewers reliever Dane Renkert, the right-handed hitting Trumbo went the other way and deposited a scorching, tailing liner at the foot of the wall in right-center for a triple that drove home Hainley Statia and Dallas Morris and made it 6-3.
"In that situation," Trumbo said, "I'm not looking to get a good pitch to hit because there's a base open. I took a slider down. I wasn't looking for anything in particular; I was just looking for something over the plate.
"Then he threw a fastball that caught some plate — not a bad pitch, it was down. I went with it to right-center, and the rest is history."
Lynch entered the game immediately thereafter and kept a potent Helena offense at bay for the final two innings.
In the early going, the two teams battled back-and-forth, exchanging the lead several times.
Brewers designated hitter Angel Salome led off the top of the second by slamming a line drive that cleared the right field fence and gave Helena a 1-0 lead.
The Owlz answered right back. Trumbo led off the home half of the second by drawing a walk, and Wipke followed Trumbo with a home run to right to put Orem up 2-1.
The Brewers tied the game at 2-2 with a run in their half of the third.
Helena catcher Bradley Willcutt legged out an infield single to open the inning, advanced to second on a fielder's choice, took third on a fly ball to right field and finally scored on shortstop Ryan Crew's two-out single.
Orem rallied in the home half of the fourth. Trumbo and Wipke got things started with consecutive singles. Catcher Brett Martinez sharply lined an opposite-field double over right fielder Stephen Chapman's head that scored Trumbo and advanced Wipke to third. Wipke scored three batters later on Stantrel Smith's sacrifice fly, making the score 4-2.
Helena cut the lead to 4-3 with a run in the top of the sixth. Second baseman Kenneth Holmberg singled and, with the aid of a passed ball by Martinez, came around to score on Mat Gamel's sacrifice fly.
NOTES: Games 2 and 3 (if necessary) will be in Helena Thursday and Friday, respectively . . . The Owlz will fly Game 2 starting pitcher Jose Arredondo up to Helena today ahead of the team bus so that he doesn't have to endure the 12-hour drive . . . If the series goes to three games, Nick Adenhart will start the finale for Orem.