Mustangs rained out; postseason hopes could be determined on final road trip

2014-08-23T15:29:00Z 2014-08-26T14:39:27Z Mustangs rained out; postseason hopes could be determined on final road tripBy MIKE SCHERTING The Billings Gazette

Rain wiped out Saturday night's Pioneer League game between the Billings Mustangs and the Missoula Osprey, giving the teams a day's breather as they prepare for a last-ditch chase for the North division's final playoff spot.

The Mustangs begin an eight-day, three-city road trip — their last of the regular season — with a game against the Brewers in Helena on Sunday. After two games there, it's two more in Great Falls before the trip wraps up with four games in Missoula.

Saturday's rained out game will have to be made up with a doubleheader in Missoula. Billings will be the home team in one of those games.

The Mustangs lead the North Division by three games over Missoula with 13 to play; Great Falls, the division's first-half winner, is 4 1/2 games out and Helena trails by 5 1/2. Billings hasn't reached the postseason since 2008.

After Friday night's doubleheader split with the Osprey at Dehler Park, Mustangs manager Dick Schofield said the road trip will likely determine his team's fate.

"When you're playing within your division, where there's only four teams, there's always somebody who isn't going away," he said. "Somebody's always winning, and even though someone is three, four games back with 12 or 13 to go, it can still turn. You get hot for six or seven games and that's pretty much the season."

The Mustangs are a 6-5 road team the second half of the season, the only team in the division with a winning record away from home. Billings concludes the regular season with a four-game homestand starting Sept. 1.

"We've been playing well, so hopefully we take this ... into the next road trip and see what happens when we get back on Sept. 1," Schofield said. "Then, it'll pretty much be over. We'll have a pretty good idea where we'll be when we get home."

For the Mustangs and their fans, the hope is they'll be in the Pioneer League playoffs.

Copyright 2014 The Billings Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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