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Brossman delivers walk-off win09/09/2007 4:05 AM ET
By Michael Avallone / Special to MLB.com
Jay Brossman wasn't on the Orem Owlz last year when the Idaho Falls Chukars denied them a shot at a third straight Pioneer League championship. But he was aware of the history, and he and his teammates were ready to exact some revenge.
Brossman stroked a walk-off single in the ninth inning as Orem rallied past Idaho Falls, 6-5, in Game 1 of their first-round series.
Anel De Los Santos started the ninth with a single off Chukars reliever Greg Holland (0-1) and took second on a wild pitch. Following a failed sacrifice attempt, pinch-hitter Christopher Garcia walked and was replaced by pinch-runner Rian Kiniry. Andrew Romine followed with a grounder to shortstop Mike Moustakas, who got the out at second, but Kiniry's hard slide prevented second baseman Zach Evangelho from turning an inning-ending double play. That left runners at the corners for Brossman.
"Going up there, first and third and with two outs, I just wanted to put the ball in play," said the University of Utah product, who had a sacrifice fly in the third. "I took a good swing at an 0-1 fastball and then on the 1-2 pitch, he [Holland] left another fastball up and away. I was just trying to put it in play and hopefully get the guy home from third whether, it was on an error or a hit. Once I connected, I was just praying that the right fielder wouldn't get to it."
Julio Perez ripped a two-run double in the second for the Owlz, who erased a 5-3 deficit on De Los Santos' RBI single in the seventh and Gordie Gronkowski's solo homer in the eighth.
"We knew our bullpen would keep us in the game and they did, which sparked us," said Brossman. "We as hitters know what we can do. We just had to keep chipping away. You can't get all the runs back at once, but we put ourselves in a position to get the win, and that's what we did."
Jordan Towns (1-0) pitched a perfect inning to record the win, which followed three scoreless frames by Brian Chambers. Starter Jordan Walden, who led the club with a 3.08 ERA in the regular season, allowed five runs on six hits and three walks with five strikeouts over five frames.
Following consecutive league titles in 2004 and 2005 and a 45-31 record in 2006, the Owlz were forced to battle down to the wire in 2007 just to secure a playoff berth.
"Idaho Falls is a solid team," Brossman said. "But we also knew that we could play with them. We played a few tough, extra-inning affairs against them early in the season and we swept them at home to clinch our postseason berth, which was obviously big. It was a tough year, but we have confidence that we can beat them. Hopefully, it will continue."
O.D. Gonzalez ripped a pair of two-run homers in the third and fifth and Evangelho added an RBI single for Idaho Falls.
Starter Chris Chavez pitched five solid frames, allowing three runs -- two earned -- on four hits and a walk with four strikeouts for the Chukars. Joseph Hughes, Matt Jensen and Holland combined to allow three runs on eight hits and a walk over the final 2 2/3 innings.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.