Have you been to a Missoula PaddleHeads' game this season? These guys are killing it right now! After a win last night, the team has a 12-2 record, they're in first place, they've scored double-digit runs 8 times, scored in the teens 5 times, and had two games where they've scored more than 20 runs. That's some serious video game statistics right there!

After a break of over 600 days because of COVID, baseball made its return to Missoula last month - and we finally got to see the PaddleHeads in action for the first time after the big switch to retire the Osprey name. The new name, look, logos, and mascot, and lack of MLB affiliation wasn't the only change for Missoula baseball this year. The Pioneer League, of which the Missoula PaddleHeads are a member, adopted new rules of play this season when it comes to games that are tied after 9 innings. Instead of extra innings the games are decided by a home run derby.

We went to the game last night and I forgot all about the rule change. I was rooting for a PaddleHead run in the bottom of the 8th inning to lock up another win. But I changed my tune and started rooting for outs when the announcer at Ogren Park reminded fans about the home run derby that would be coming up if the game ended in a tie. Sure enough, a 6-1 deficit for the PaddleHeads saw them come back and tie it at 6-6 after 9 innings, and send the game to the tie-breaker.

It was a little bit of history as it was the first time Missoula participated in a game with the new "Knock Out" rules. And it all came down to the last swing! You can watch how it all ended in the Facebook video above.

Here's how the PaddleHeads' website described the finish:

"Two batters from both clubs stepped into the box looking to give their team a win. Christian Funk of the Hawks had the first shot at it, and failed to get a ball out of the park setting it up for outfielder Jared Akins of Missoula. After using four of his allowed five swings, Akins would come through launching a towing drive over the right field wall to give the PaddleHeads the victory."

I have to say - I know that baseball purists don't love the way that leagues are altering the rules for games that would normally go into extra innings - but it was a pretty fun way to end the game. Both the players and fans seemed to enjoy it. Of course, you always enjoy it a little more when your team wins. Maybe I wouldn't be so high on the new method of deciding games if the PaddleHeads had lost. But for one night, and the first "Knock Out" night, I have to say I'm kind of a fan. Plus, it's a minor league game.....it's not like we're talking game 7 of the World Series.

If you haven't been to a game yet - keep listening - we'll have tickets to give away throughout the season.....and we just might have a couple fun nights in store at the ballpark this year!

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