After finishing the last series in the 2022 season, the Missoula Paddleheads are looking forward to the Pioneer Baseball League playoffs which begin on Monday September 12th. They wrap up the regular season with a league-best record for the 2nd year in a row, and enter the history books as one of the best ever.

The Paddleheads push for the best 2nd half record ended on Saturday night despite winning 4 out of six games from the Boise Hawks. The Grand Junction Rockies of the South Division won their final 5 games of the season to finish the second half 4 games better than Missoula:

Credit: Pioneer Baseball League
Credit: Pioneer Baseball League

The Paddleheads had claimed three consecutive half-season championships dating back to the first half of the 2021 season, but Zootown's overall best record in the league is still impressive. The '21 squad also finished best in the PBL going 66-32 including the playoffs.

Accolades are also in order for Paddleheads manager Michael Schlact as well as Paddleheads operations staff, who have sheparded the team to two consecutive playoff appearances and one championship since the team and the Pioneer League lost its MiLB affiliateship in 2019.

The Paddleheads' Season Stats

Individual accomplishments as well as team stats tell the tale of the '22 season for the Paddleheads, who led the league in total home runs (136), runs batted in (730) runs scored (794) and slugging percentage (.527)

Missoula also finished in the top 4 or better in at-bats, hits, doubles, triples, on-base percentage, as well as recording the second least strikeouts for batters (704, 2nd best in the league)

On the pitching side, Missoula led the Pioneer League in strikeouts (828) and innings pitched (831.1)

Individually, there are accolades to be recognized. First basemen Jayson Newman led all PBL hitters in home runs and RBI (32 / 115). Newman's progression from hitting just 8 home runs in 2021 is astounding, and he played a big role in the Paddleheads' success this year. Infielder Nick Gatewood also finished with the 5th-most runs batted in the league this year with 96.

Credit: Missoula Paddleheads via Youtube
Credit: Missoula Paddleheads via Youtube

Paddleheads closer Sam Hellinger finished the '22 campaign with 32 saves, best in the league. Hellinger stuck out 74 batters and his 2.01 earned run average is better than 24 Major League closers this year.

The PBL 2022 Playoffs

The Pioneer Baseball League runs a standard 4-team playoff with no wild card slots, as it has only 10 teams since the MiLB reorganization after the 2019 season. The top 2 teams from each division (North and South) play each other in the Divisional round which is a best-of-three series, the winners of those series play in the PBL Championship.

Missoula's run to defend their Pioneer League Championship begins Monday night in Billings. The Mustangs finished 2nd in the North Division and will host Game 1, while the Paddleheads will host games 2 and 3.

Tickets are available for both the Paddleheads Divisional round games as well as potential PBL Championship games HERE

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