DENVER -- It has been a trying season for the Milwaukee Brewers, but a great one for their little brothers in Helena, Mont.
The rookie Pioneer League's Helena Brewers clinched a postseason spot with a Great Falls loss on Thursday, then clinched the league's North Division first-half title with a 9-7 win over Billings on Friday. Helena, 21-14 with the victory, is one of only two Milwaukee affiliates with a winning record this season.
"In the second half, we're going to focus on consistency, playing the game the way it's supposed to be played," said manager Tony Diggs, who began his pro career in Helena in 1989. "We want to see the players improve. That's how it is in player development -- you don't want to see anybody breaking down walls. What you want to see is guys improving every day, and you want to see the improvement they make over the course of the season."
The baby Brewers hit five home runs in their clinching victory, including two by infielder Renaldo Jenkins, a 19th-round Draft pick in 2011. Michael Ratterree (10th-round pick this year) singled twice and scored twice to extend his hitting streak to 16 games, and Adam Giacalone (16th round in 2012) was 2-for-4 with a two-run homer to raise his average to .465.
"But it is really special for me to be back here," said Diggs, the Brewers' sixth-round pick in 1989. "I've seen a lot of new faces, and I've seen a lot of old faces."