Luis Paz crushed two home runs to drive in three of Ogden's runs, and Raptor All-Star DJ Peters had four hits, but it wasn't enough as the Owlz took game one of a best-of-three series in extra innings, 6-5. Ogden defensive miscues, including a disastrous eighth inning, helped the Owlz score four unearned runs in front of a knowledgable and energetic crowd of 2,050 on a picturesque late-summer evening at Lindquist Field.
The Raptors got on the board quickly in the first. Keibert Ruiz, the Raptor rally starter, singled and was later driven in by Brandon Montgomery. Ruiz has now hit safely in 16 straight games.
Ogden starter Willian Soto hadn't pitched since August 28, but he was sharp, and his defense provided support early on. In the first inning with two runners on, Montgomery nearly started a triple play, but the runner beat the relay throw to first. Ogden also turned a double play in the fourth. Shortstop Gavin Lux, a top Dodger prospect, made two pretty plays behind second base to help keep Orem off the board.
Sven Schuller, the German Robot, replaced Soto with the bases loaded in the fifth to face Pioneer League All-Star Zach Gibbons. Gibbons hit a slow come-backer to Schuller, who tried to go home for the force out but appeared to bobble the ball, allowing the runner to score. Schuller still had time to get Gibbons at first, but Perez failed to cover, and runners were safe all around with no outs. Still, Schuller escaped, only giving up one more run in the inning. Ogden trailed, 2-1.
Ogden tied the game in the fifth, taking advantage of an Orem miscue. Perez reached on an error by shorstop Keith Grieshaber, and later scored on a slow roller to third by DJ Peters, who narrowly beat the throw to first.
The Raptors' defense fell apart in the eighth, when they made three throwing errors and a wild pitch, giving up two runs without a hit. A bad throw by Lux allowed Jack Kruger to reach safely. Schuller fielded a sacrifice bunt by John Schuknecht and overthrew the Paz at first base, the ball rolling into the Owlz bullpen. Orem pitchers scattered in all directions as DJ Peters and Moises Perez converged into the bullpen to retrieve the errant ball. Peters held both hands up to signal an unplayable ball, while first base umpire Will Glienke saw the ball and signaled it was playable. Perez snatched it and made an errant throw home trying to get Kruger, who had come all the way from first to score.
Raptor skipper Shaun Larkin approached the umpires about the play, presumably pleading for a dead ball call, which would have prevented the runner from scoring. The four umpires assembled to discuss the call, and upheld the play. Pioneer League games usually have two umpires, but use a four-man crew in the playoffs.
Schuknecht, who ended up on third base in the madness, then scored on a wild pitch from Schuller. And that is how to give up two runs on no hits.
Luiz Paz tied it up in the home eighth, smacking a two-run homer to right. Ogden put two runners in scoring position with one out when Montgomery walked, and Cody Thomas doubled down the right field line. But a pop out and strikeout ended the threat.
In the ninth, Ruiz hit a deep drive to Raptor Ridge, the tall fence in right-center field, but the ball fell into L.J. Kalawaia's glove on the warning track. Many fans still thought it had left the field and cheered until they realized it was an out.
With one on in the road 10th, Grieshaber hit a similar drive to Raptor Ridge that fell short, but Cody Thomas misplayed the difficult fly, the error resulting in two runners in scoring position. Keinner Pina drove them in on the next at-bat, putting Orem up, 6-4.
Luiz Paz led off the bottom of the 10th by crushing a home run to straight-away center field off Orem closer Tyler Warmoth. But Warmoth was able to get the next three batters out for the 6-5 win.
The teams resume the series tomorrow afternoon in Orem. Game time is 1:05 at Brent Brown Ballpark, or the Home of the Owlz. You can catch the action with the inimitable A.P. Harreld, who, along with the Raptors' Big Three, is also ready to be called up. It may be your last chance to hear him call a Raptors game. To listen, just download the free TuneIn app and go to the Ogden Raptors Network.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.