Missoula Paddleheads Make History, Work to be Done
A little late to the party on this one, but the Paddleheads deserve the love... YOUR MISSOULA PADDLEHEADS ARE 2023 FIRST-HALF NORTH DIVISION CHAMPIONS.
Throw up your moose antlers and celebrate a fifth straight Half Division Championship. It's just the second time in Pioneer Baseball League history, dating back to 1939, a team has conquered five straight half-season titles, according to the Paddleheads Twitter page. That's through its eras as a Minor League affiliate and as an indy league.
Paddleheads Manager Michael Schlact has been at the helm for this historic stretch. The head honcho is no stranger to success over his 19-year professional career, but he still relishes these positive moments.
"Never, ever, ever, ever, ever take these for granted," said Schlact to his team on winning the First Half Championship. "They are incredible, they are fun. You earned every bit of it."
"That's a testament to the group. I'm proud of you guys, I love you guys and I'm excited."
While Schlact emphasized the importance of soaking up the moment he didn't lose focus on the ultimate goal: Bringing another PBL Title to Missoula.
Since the club's inception in 1999, the Missoula Paddleheads, and Osprey, have won five titles. It's the 4th most championships in the PBL all-time and the most since the team's origin. That includes a postseason title in 2021.
Last year the Paddleheads dominated the regular season. The team won the Regular Season Championship but failed to close the season as champions as they lost the PBL Championship Series in two games to the Grand Junction Rockies. Schlact celebrated last week with his eyes on the main prize.
"But there's more ahead," teased Schlact.
In the meantime...
The second half is underway, and the Paddleheads keep on winning. Last night (7/18) Missoula won for the first extra innings "Knock Out" rule of the season. Instead of playing extra innings, each team sends a batter to the plate to receive five pitches. Whichever batter records the most home runs in those five pitches wins. Paddlehead Outfielder Keaton Greenwalt was the hero, winning it in extras against the PBL South First Half Champion Ogden Raptors.
Missoula is home through Sunday. The home stand includes, drumroll please, Harry Potter & Fireworks Night this Friday evening. Tickets are nearly sold out, so snag your seats now if you want to go rep House Slytherin.