Chukars fall to Osprey 5-1 in series finale

The Idaho Falls Chukars headed into their biggest series of the season with a disappointing 5-1 loss to the Missoula Osprey on Monday night at Ogren Field.


The Chukars managed just three hits before Corey Toups finally got I.F. on the board with a solo homer in the ninth.

Idaho Falls had no answers for Missoula starter Carlos Hernandez. The 5-foot-11, 170-pound right-hander was tough from the start, allowing just three singles and one walk while striking out five in 6.2 innings. I.F. didn’t have a baserunner until Ryan O’Hearn’s walk in the fourth and didn’t have a hit until Mike Hill’s single in the fifth.

Chukars starter Zach Lovvorn was the tough-luck loser Monday, allowing just one earned run on four hits while walking two and striking out five in 5.1 innings.

Idaho Falls begins a four-game series against Grand Junction tonight that will go a long way in deciding the Chukars’ playoff fate. Grand Junction lead the Pioneer League South Division second-half race by three games over I.F. entering the series.

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Leadoff homeruns give I.F. split at Missoula


Two fast starts led to just one victory for the Idaho Falls Chukars on Saturday night in Missoula, Mont.

Brandon Downes and Brawlun Gomez blasted home runs but managed just five other hits and fell to the Missoula Osprey 3-2 in the opening game of a doubleheader caused by Friday’s rainout.

The power surge continued in the nightcap, with Downes and Corey Toups leading off the game with back-to-back home runs. This time, Idaho Falls added two more runs each in the second and third innings and cruised to a 6-2 win over the Osprey in front of 3,037 fans at Ogren Field.

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Chukars-Osprey rained out, will play doubleheader today


A late-afternoon thunderstorm and the prospects of more bad weather forced the postponement of Friday’s scheduled game between the Idaho Falls Chukars and Missoula Osprey at Ogren Park.

The teams are scheduled to make up the game as part of a doubleheader today. The first of two seven-inning games will begin at 6 p.m.

It was the third rainout of the season for the Chukars, with the other washouts coming at Melaleuca Field.

This was Idaho Falls first trip to Missoula this season.

The Chukars (29-26, 9-8) and Osprey will play single games Sunday and Monday before Idaho Falls returns to Melaleuca Field to begin a four-game series against Pioneer League South Division leader Grand Junction on Tuesday.

Chukars’ bats come alive in 14-1 win over Brewers



The parks of the Pioneer League South Division have not been kind to Idaho Falls Chukars hitters this year.

The hitters got a little revenge Thursday night.

Idaho Falls collected 13 hits, including the team’s first home run in seven games, drew nine walks and cruised to a 14-1 win over the Helena Brewers at Kindrick Legion Field. It was I.F.’s highest run total in a North Division park this season.

The Chukars entered Thursday’s game averaging seven runs per game in South Division parks but just four a game in North Division stadiums. Idaho Falls nearly matched that four-run average in the first, getting a two-run double from Robert Pehl and an RBI single from Samir Duenez to take an early 3-0 lead.

Brawlun Gomez pushed the lead to 5-0 in the second when he connected on a two-run homer to left — the team’s first homer in seven games and just their 29th of the season, the lowest total in the league.

Idaho Falls broke things open late, scoring four runs on four hits and two wild pitches in the seventh and five more on two hits and five walks in the eighth.

Gomez led the onslaught, going 3 for 4 with two runs scored and three RBIs. He needed just a double to hit for the cycle.

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Brewers shut out Chukars 3-0


The Idaho Falls Chukars were the top defensive team in the Pioneer League over the first half of the season.

Those sure-handed gloves have lost their way in the second half.

Idaho Falls had another shoddy defensive performance, making three errors while offering up little offense as well in a 3-0 loss to the Helena Brewers in front of 854 fans Wednesday at Kindrick Legion Field.

Despite allowing just five hits, the Chukars never really threatened to win, thanks in large part to a defense that committed its 20th error in the past six games.

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Chukars capitalize on errors, beat Brewers 3-1


The Idaho Falls Chukars didn’t score a single earned run Tuesday night. But the Chukars still earned a win.

Idaho Falls took advantage of two errors from the Helena Brewers, overcame four errors of its own and got solid performances from three pitchers to earn a 3-1 win at Kindrick Legion Field to kick off a seven-game road trip to Montana.

The Chukars managed just seven hits, two of them coming from Wander Franco. But with the help of poor Helena defense, I.F. turned those hits into three runs.

Helena grabbed a 1-0 lead in the fourth when Sthervin Matos blasted his sixth home run of the season, one of the few hard-hit balls by the Brewers all night. Helena finished with seven hits, three of them infield singles.

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Sam Houston State’s O’Hearn, Toups excel as Chukars

Idaho Falls Chukars short stop Corey Toups hits a foul ball during the Aug. 4 game against the Helena Brewers at Melaleuca Field. Pat Sutphin /


Corey Toups sat on his sofa during the 15th round of the 2014 MLB draft, listening on his laptop as names other than his got called. Toups expected to be selected in the top 10 rounds, so he felt worried when he was still waiting. This prompted him to text his friend and teammate, Ryan O’Hearn.

“Hey, man, what should I do?” Toups texted to O’Hearn.

O’Hearn, who was drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the eighth round, suggested Toups text a Royals scout and express his interest in playing for the organization.

Toups sent the scout a text. Five minutes later, Toups heard his name called. He, too, was drafted by the Royals.

Toups was understandably excited to be drafted, but especially because he’d be in the same organization as O’Hearn. Extra fortune came to O’Hearn and Toups when they were sent to Idaho Falls to play for the Chukars.

Now, Toups and O’Hearn are key cogs in the Chukars’ lineup, and their off-field relationship might contribute to their on-field success.

O’Hearn and Toups met during their freshman orientation at Sam Houston State in Huntsville, Texas, and hung out frequently that year. The two roomed together as sophomores and haven’t lived in separate homes since.

“In three years, we’ve never really fought,” O’Hearn says. “Knock on wood.”

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Pehl continues hot streak, leads I.F. to 10-5 win over Osprey


As Robert Pehl goes, so go your Idaho Falls Chukars.

The Idaho Falls clean-up hitter went 2 for 5 for his fifth multi-hit game this month, leading the Chukars to a 10-5 win over Missoula on Saturday at Melaleuca Field.

Since the beginning of August, the Chukars are 6-2 and are sitting on a season-high four-game winning streak. In those six wins, Pehl is hitting .577 (15 of 26) with four doubles, 10 runs and nine RBIs.

In the losses, he’s 1 for 7. No runs. No ribbys. No shame in opening the month batting .485.

“My job in the middle of the lineup is to drive runs in, and I try to come in ready to do that every at bat,” Pehl said. “I’ve just been trying to stay with the same routine, keep it simple, get a good pitch to hit and square it up.”

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Chukars knock off Osprey 11-2, extend home streak to three


Mike Hill of the Idaho Falls Chukars slides into third base after hitting a two-run triple down the first-base line during Friday’s game against the Missoula Osprey at Melaleuca Field. Pat Sutphin /

The Idaho Falls Chukars celebrated the 50th game of the 2014 season with another solid win Friday, dispatching the Missoula Osprey 11-2 at Melaleuca Field.

The win gives Idaho Falls three straight wins, taking some of the sting out of a tough 1-3 road trip to Grand Junction.

“We are pitching better, our defense is OK, and our timely hitting has been big the last three game,” Idaho Falls manager Omar Ramirez said. “We ask the pitchers to keep the game close because we can score some runs, and you saw that tonight.”

Idaho Falls sent 11 batters to the plate in a six-run third, putting the hammer to Arizona Diamondbacks 2014 first-round pick Touki Toussaint.

Toussaint, a righty whose fastball gets as hot as 98, gave up seven earned runs in his Pioneer League debut before leaving with two outs in the third.

Staked to a 7-1 lead to start the fourth, Idaho Falls catcher Kyle Pollock started calling for fastballs.

And when Pollock wants heat, Pollock gets heat.

“When you’ve got a big lead like that you can attack more with the fastball,” he said. “Tonight they were helping us out, hitting pop-ups and swinging through pitches.”

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No drama necessary in 8-4 Chukars win


The ninth inning was still an adventure for the Idaho Falls Chukars. But this time, the Chukars didn’t need a walk-off to win for the first time in four games.

Building on a solid performance by starting pitcher Brooks Pounders, Idaho Falls surged to a 6-0 lead through four innings and held off a two-out rally in the bottom of the ninth Thursday to take an 8-4 win over the Helena Brewers before 2,123 fans at Melaleuca Field.

The Chukars (25-24, 5-6) took the series 3-1 over the Brewers (18-32, 5-7) to end a week of extra-inning games, late rallies, rainouts and rain delays.

“It’s been a crazy last couple of days,” said left fielder Robert Pehl, who went 3 for 4 with a double and two RBIs to lead the Chukars. “To come out and get runs and jump on them feels really good.”

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