Despite playing sparingly behind the Pioneer League's MVP in his first professional season, MJ Sanchez has shown moments of the solid hitting ability that enticed the Kansas City Royals to select him in the 35th round of the 2016 draft.
Sanchez started at catcher and turned in his best performance with the bat in Wednesday's 10-6 Idaho Falls Chukars victory over the visiting Orem Owlz.
The win secured a winning season record and at least a tie for the South division's best overall mark for Idaho Falls, though they will not make the playoffs because they fell short in both halves of the season.
Sanchez, in possibly his last appearance of the campaign, singled and scored Idaho Falls' second run of the game in the second inning. He stepped up in the fourth and laced a double to left-center field, and in both the fifth and seventh frames he lined RBI singles as the Chukars scored four times in each frame.
In all, Idaho Falls put together 15 hits. Manny Olloque singled twice in addition to a two-run double, Nick Dini drove in two on a pair of hits and Jordan Ebert doubled and tripled for two more RBI.
The Chukars went up in the first but fell behind when Orem scored twice in both the third and fourth innings. A four-run fifth, powered by Olloque and Dini two-base hits, put Idaho Falls in front for good.
The hosts batted around for another four-spot in the seventh, thanks to four singles and Ebert's triple.
Jason Freeman worked three innings of relief, allowing just one earned run and striking out five, for his third win. Drew Milligan struck out three of the eight hitters he faced and got out of a bases-loaded jam in the ninth with a fielder's choice to end the game.
The Chukars close out the 2016 season Thursday night at 7:15. Season seat holders are invited to a special party from 5-6 p.m., and there will be a fireworks show after the game courtesy of Teton Toyota/Volkswagen. It's all presented by Riverbend Communications and KIDK TV-3.
If you can't come to the game, make sure to listen to John Balginy and Andrew Haynes on the call on ESPN 980 AM (and the TuneIn app), 105.1 FM and 94.5 FM.
For tickets and other information, call (208) 522-8363, follow the Chukars on Facebook or Twitter (@ifchukars) or visit www.ifchukars.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.