The Ogden Raptors' defense of their first Pioneer League title got off to a good start, but in the end the first game of the 2018 season went the way of the host Idaho Falls Chukars, 4-2.
Ogden struck first in the game, with the top two hitters in the order, Jacob Amaya and Kevin Aponte, both singling to center to kick the night off. After a double steal and a pair of strikeouts, Felix Osorio lined a base hit up the middle to plate both runners.
After that, the Raptors were flummoxed by lefties JC Cloney and Robert Garcia. Only two batters reached base the rest of the game; a two-out single in the fifth and one-out infield knock in the ninth.
Ogden starter Jose Chacin had a quick first but ran into trouble in the second. A pair of one-out singles were followed by a booming double off the right field wall. Thanks to a baserunning error, however, the Raptors were able to throw out the lead runner at the plate to keep Idaho Falls off the board.
The Chukars broke through in the fourth with three singles sandwiched around an error. When the dust settled, the game was tied at two apiece.
The tie held until the seventh, when Devin Hemmerich, who had retired the first eight batters he faced, allowed a double off the left-field wall and then a single to bring in the go-ahead run. The hosts added a run in the bottom of the eighth for the final tally.
With just the six combined runs, along with one error and one walk, in the ballgame, the contest was completed in two hours and 17 minutes. That time is one minute quicker than the quickest Ogden played in 2017, and two hours shorter than the 2017 season opener at Orem.
The four-game set to open the season continues Saturday night at 7:15 from Melaleuca Field.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.