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Owlz swoop back into Finals09/10/2007 1:59 AM ET
By Michael Blinn / Special to MLB.com
Robert Fish picked the right time for the best game of his career.
Fish recorded a career-high 13 strikeouts in eight innings Sunday as the Orem Owlz blanked the Idaho Falls Chukars, 3-0, to secure a berth in the Pioneer League Championship Series.
"I was very much in the zone," the 19-year-old left-hander said. "I really didn't change a thing, I just tried to slow it down, tried to breathe and relax. I just wanted to get ahead of everybody tonight. It was about a really good tempo and throwing strikes."
Fish fanned the side in the fourth and fifth and retired the last 13 batters he faced. He also gave credit to his defense.
"They had a fly ball to center [in the first] and Deandre Miller tracked it down for me," Fish said. "I got in a jam in the fourth and they turned a great double play for me."
The former sixth-round draft pick also used some off-the-field inspiration in the form of his daughter, Aubrey, who was born on Friday.
"I said a prayer and threw well for her tonight," Fish said.
Mason Tobin pitched around a hit in the ninth for his first save.
The Owlz head to the championship series for the sixth time in seven years, looking for their first title since 2005. They face the winner of the Helena-Great Falls series, starting Wednesday.
"We'll probably watch the game and then go take some BP," Fish said. "I'm bringing the same approach -- establish my fastball, just get out there and throw strikes. You know this is great, but you still have three more to go."
Hector Estrella walked and scored on Jay Brossman's single in the first and Andrew Romine plated Estrella with a triple and scored for Orem in the third.
"In that first inning, scoring a run, that loosens you up," Fish said. "I just wanted to get back out there and get back in [the dugout]."
Chukars starter Burke Baldwin (0-1) gave up three runs on three hits with four strikeouts and two walks over four frames.
Manni Juan singled twice and Mike Bionde had the other hit for Idaho Falls.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.