IDAHO FALLS, Idaho — Game 3 of the Pioneer League North Divisional Series spanned three days to complete. It was worth the wait to Clay Dungan and the Idaho Falls Chukars.
Dungan hit a tie-breaking three-run home run in the bottom of the seventh inning, and the Chukars won the decisive game of the series by beating the Billings Mustangs 6-4 Thursday afternoon at Melaleuca Field.
The Chukars advanced to the league championship series against South Division winner Ogden. Game 1 of the best-of-three series is Friday in Idaho Falls.
The Mustangs, who won the North Division’s second-half title to reach the playoffs, finished their season 40-39 overall.
Isaiah Henry continued his strong series against the Mustangs by going 2 for 3 with three runs scored and an RBI. He doubled twice, giving him three doubles and a home run in the series after batting .232 during the regular season. Derrick Adams, the third of five Idaho Falls pitchers, was awarded the win. Adams (1-0) allowed one run on four hits in 3 2/3 innings.
James Free and Leonardo Seminati hit home runs for the Mustangs. Free tied the score 2-2 with his solo homer in the third, and Seminati’s solo shot evened the score at 3-3 in the sixth.
In the bottom of the seventh, Mustangs reliever Johnny Schneider (0-1) hit Henry to open the inning. Stephan Vidal sacrificed Henry to second and Tyler Tolbert lined to left for the second out. After Jose Marquez walked, Dungan took Schneider’s second pitch deep to right center field for the three-run lead.
Billings closed within 6-4 on doubles from Reniel Ozuna and Quin Cotton, but Brady Cox struck out TJ Hopkins and got Free to pop out in foul territory to end the game and the season for the Mustangs.
Idaho Falls opened the series in Billings on Sunday with a 2-0 win. The Mustangs bounced back Monday with a 4-3 victory, and led 1-0 in the second inning Tuesday when Game 3 was halted due to rain.
The game was supposed to resume Wednesday, but more rain prevented that, and things eventually got back underway Thursday at 1 p.m.