The Ogden Raptors clinched a playoff birth when Mitchell Hansen caught Taylor Snyder's deep fly to left, a hit that nearly won it for Grand Junction had it been a few feet farther. The Raptors fought back from deficits of 2-6 and 8-12 to win a wild one in extra innings, 14-13.
Ogden will face Orem in the first round of the Pioneer League playoffs. Game one will be in Ogden at Lindquist Field this Friday, September 10th, at 6:30 PM. Tickets are $5 and will be on sale Thursday morning at 9:45 AM. Games two and three, if necessary, will be in Orem. Orem is in the playoffs by virtue of winning the South Division in the first half of the season.
With the Raptors down 12-13 in the top of the ninth inning and down to their final out, Brandon Montgomery hit a solo home run (7) to tie the game, 13-13. In the top of the 10th, Moises Perez doubled and Keibert Ruiz singled him home for the eventual winning score. Ruiz extended his hitting streak to 15 games.
Ogden entered this four-game series needing three wins in Grand Junction to make the playoffs, and won the first three games. The two teams will finish the regular season with nothing on the line tomorrow night.
The Raptors used seven pitchers to get through the game. Nolan Long and Conor Costello combined to give up 12 runs in the first four innings. But the final five pitchers - Misja Harcksen, Jorge Gonzalez, Brian Bass, Austin French, and Vinny Santarsiero - gave up just one run, allowing the Raptors to nibble away at the lead. French (1-2) got the win and Santarsiero got his second save.
Both teams scored six runs in the crazy fourth inning. The Raptors attacked after the Rockies pulled their starting pitcher, fourth overall pick Riley Pint, with the bases loaded and two out. Luiz Paz hit a three-run double and Cody Thomas hit a three-run homer. The homer moved him into a tie for the league lead with 16. Ogden has had the Pioneer League leader in home runs in five out of the last eight seasons, if Thomas remains in first.
Grand Junction responded with six runs in the bottom of the fourth, to put the Rockies up 12-8, but the Raptors outscored the Rockies 6-1 the rest of the way.
The game featured 27 runs, 38 hits, 11 pitchers, five home runs, and one sprinkler episode: they came on in the 10th, when the game was nearly four hours old. Only one starter did not have a hit in the game. Mitchell Hansen led both teams with four hits and raised his batting average to .307.
Ogden was 9-23 on the road before starting its current four-game road winning streak, its longest of the season. Ogden has taken five in a row against Grand Junction overall, and five out of the seven they've played in Grand Junction this season.
This is the seventh time in the last nine seasons that the Raptors have made the playoffs. Ogden has advanced to the league finals four times, including three in a row from 2010-2012, but has never won the Pioneer League title. The Great Falls Voyagers are the prohibitive favorites to win it this year, as they had by far the best record in the league and just finished up a 15-game winning streak.
The Raptors are now 38-37 on the season, the first time they've been over .500 this year. They finish up the regular season tomorrow before heading back to Ogden for Friday's playoff game.