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Owlz snatch another Pioneer League crown09/02/2008 1:49 AM ET
By Steve Conley / Special to MLB.com
The Orem Owlz once have again established themselves as the class of the Pioneer League.
Orem clinched the league's second-half South Division title with a 13-4 win over the Ogden Raptors at Lindquist Field.
The Owlz (25-8) have reached the Pioneer League playoffs for the eighth consecutive season and will be attempting to win their fourth title in five years. They were crowned league champs last season, as well as in 2004 and '05.
"Things have really come together," interim manager Brent Del Chiaro said. "We got quality starts from all of our starters, and the bullpen has been electric and dynamic and just shut the door. We've gotten key hits and played good defense and taken care of the baseball."
After winning the first-half title, the Owlz clinched the second half with four games to go in the regular season -- thanks to a 22-6 record in August, including 14 straight wins from Aug. 3-17.
"A 14-game winning streak helps, but most importantly, these guys have gone about their business the right way," said Del Chiaro, the hitting coach serving as skipper with manager Tom Kotchman away on family business. "They're always into the game, they watch everything that happens and let the rest take care of business."
Jon Townsend homered and drove in four runs and league batting leader Roberto Lopez raised his average to .402 by going 3-for-5 and falling a double shy of the cycle. Townsend, who had three hits and scored three times, broke open a one-run game in the seventh with a two-run blast, his first of the season. Lopez hit a solo homer in the second and tripled and scored during a six-run eighth.
Luis Jimenez went 2-for-4 with a pair of RBIs and two runs scored and Dwayne Bailey added two hits and two RBIs as the Owlz collected 18 hits.
Despite having won the first half, the club seemed just as hungry in the second half. Nothing less than a second straight title will do.
"They're not satisfied, they talk about it all the time," Del Chiaro said. "It doesn't matter if we won the halves if we don't win the title. Our work isn't done."
That hunger is a reflection of the coaching staff.
"We as coaches won't allow them to be complacent," Del Chiaro said. "That's what they always hear. We've told them if they go out and have fun and prepare, they'll be fine. We expect more success in the playoffs."
Reyes Dorado (2-0) recorded five outs for the win, allowing one hit and one walk with two strikeouts. Owlz starter Jayson Miller yielded three runs on three hits while striking out three over 4 1/3 innings.
Ogden starter Eduardo Perez (0-1) was tagged with four runs on six hits and nine walks while striking out four over 3 1/3 innings.
Brian Ruggiano cranked a two-run homer and scored twice and Anthony Delmonico hit a solo blast for the Raptors (21-12).
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.