Osprey pounce on Chukars, 11-1

The Missoula Osprey stymied the Idaho Falls Chukars on Saturday, handing them a 11-1 loss in game one of a four-game series in Missoula.

The Osprey outhit the Chukars 20-4, getting five extra base hits, and led 4-0 through four innings. Missoula stretched the lead to 7-1 after the fifth inning, getting an RBI single from Brandon Leyton, an RBI single from Jesus Munzo and an RBI single by Eddie Hernandez, and added four runs over the next four frames. Julio Gonzalez scored the lone run for the Chukars in the top of the fifth.

Every Missoula batter recorded at least one hit in the win, including five batters who each had three hits.

Chase Vallot went 2 for 2, Offerman Collado went 1 for 5 with an RBI and Nathan Eaton went 1 for 5 with a double for the Chukars. Jonathan Bowlan took the loss on the mound, allowing seven runs (earned) on 12 hits while walking one and striking out two in five innings pitched.

The Chukars (19-16) remain four games back of Pioneer League South Division leader Ogden (23-12), which lost 8-0 Saturday to Helena.

Game two of the four-game series between the Chukars and Osprey is today at 5:05 p.m. in Missoula.

Chukars’ notebook: Q+A with Chukars GM Kevin Greene

By LUKE O’ROARK | Loroark@postregister.com
@LukeORoark

In sports, consistency is a key ingredient to success.

Kevin Greene

The Chukars haven’t always been successful, sure, but every summer you’re going to see a consistent face walking around Melaleuca Field: Chukars general manager Kevin Greene.

The Post Register sat down with the Chukars’ GM earlier this summer to ask about Greene’s background, his management style, why he became involved with the Chukars and what the future holds for the Kansas City Royals’ affiliate. Some components of the interview, questions and answers have been cut for brevity.

Post Register: Kevin, what is the status of (the Idaho Falls Chukars) and, in terms of yourself, where you’re at personally?

Kevin Greene: “You know, this is my 35th year in baseball but I’m only 56. I started as intern back in 1984 for the Rochester Red Wings (minor league affiliate for the Minnesota Twins in Rochester, New York). Sometimes the grind gets to me a little bit. But I think I see myself not getting out of the game anytime in the next 5-to-10 years. I do see myself adjusting my schedule. I spent all morning and most of the early afternoon on a bucket lift 35 feet in the air and people look at me, like, ‘Why do you do that? You’re the general manager.’ Um, I like to do that, but, I won’t be doing that 10 years from now. I might be still working here as a GM but I might be saying, ‘Hey, I need two guys to go up on that lift’ or I might be hiring a company to go upon that lift. I won’t be doing it myself anymore.”

PR: What’s made you stay (with the Chukars) … I know you’re originally from New York.

KG: When I moved out here, I thought I was on a three-year plan to do a little bit of resume building, like a lot of people that come out here, but then you find out: not only is it a really good town to raise your family in — and you like all the atmosphere of the Jackson Hole, Yellowstone, rivers, mountains, all that — but you also find out, you know, if you find somebody that you connect with that you work for. Having that special relationship with your boss. That’s made this a special job for me. My boss, Dave Elmore, who’s owned this team since 1986, he comes out a few times a year. He lets us do our thing. I send him the reports and as long everything is to his satisfaction, he lets us run the team. And that is so important. When I worked in Rochester, we were micromanaged in Rochester. And it was tough, it was very tough. … Here, having one boss, who knows the business and knows how to manage, he allows us to take the reins and run with it.

PR: I’ve seen inside the office and I certainly understand, what it seems like, that “laissez-faire” kind of approach.

KG: It is. I’m not going to ask someone to go out and clean a bathroom right now if I’m not willing to do it myself. I went out and raked the warning track for a couple of hours. It’s what we do.

PR: Where does that management style stem from? Where does it come from?

KG: When I worked in Rochester, even though we had board oversight, when they were letting us do our thing, the staff all worked like the way we do here. I felt like we all worked on the same level and it was communicative and we all had each other’s back. And if an intern asks me, ‘Hey, Kevin, can you help me with his,’ I don’t say, ‘I’m the GM, you’re the intern’ and I don’t help him. It doesn’t work that way. We all work together, and that’s what I’ve always tried to preach and I’ve always said: I’ve worked with people that have been difficult, and I hope I never get that way.

PR: So, when did that management style start?

KG: When I moved out here in ‘93. Maybe I was a little staunched, thinking that’s how you were supposed to be, but I loosened up. We had a really small staff, and we all got along great. So, that’s what I like. I like a small staff where we can all trust each other to get their job done and if there’s an issue, we can work it out together.

PR: Because it seems like most, some businesses use that management model where it’s a “top-down”. I’m guessing you don’t believe in that (model)?

KG: You know, as long as we get our work done, it doesn’t matter (what it looks like). I’m dressed a slob right now, I’ll admit that. But I’m not going to come in here with a suit on and just point at banners and say, ‘Hey, get those hanged. I expect them to be done in 40 minutes.’ How are the people who work for me going to respect me, or want to work for me, for very long? I think that’s part of the reason I’m able to keep quality people here — people, maybe, trying to climb through minor league baseball. Quality people have stayed longer than they should have and I think it’s because they really like the atmosphere.

PR: It seems like year in and year out there’s some change, but you’ve stayed.

KG: Yeah, I’m the one constant, I guess. I think Paul Henderson is a constant. He’s from Idaho Falls and I hope when I step down I can turn the reins over to him and let him have a nice, long run at it.

PR: Any goals left for you? You mentioned 30-plus years in the business…anything that still drives you?

KG: You know, I would love to win more rings. Love to win more championships. Those are the highlights of what we do here. Some of the most memorable things in baseball are going to playoff games and rushing the field and knowing you get to start designing a ring the next week. That’s always a lot of fun. I like the camaraderie. One day I was in the winter meetings, it was after dinner and I was at a sports bar, with a lot of baseball people, and I looked around and said, ‘My gosh, I know more people here than I don’t know.’ At that point, I felt like I was a part of it.

PR: It was interesting, you mentioned earlier the feeling of winning and the playoff atmosphere, but I feel like that juxtaposes, at times, with the attitude of the club/minors. You know, ‘these kids are learning’, ‘winning may not be everything’. Any thoughts on that juxtaposition? You obviously want a viable, winning organization, but there’s also that attitude of ‘Hey, these kids are learning.’

KG: It is. This is player development. Every player out here with the ultimate goal of helping the Kansas City Royals make it back to the World Series and win one, that’s what the goal is. Along the way, it would be great if the Royals won at the Idaho Falls level, they win at the Lexington level, they win at Omaha. That’s great. It helps these kids know how to win, winning baseball players, as they are being prepared for the major leagues. We’re just fortunate as a small town with the opportunity to watch future major leaguers perform at this level in this little ballpark. I think it’s special for a town this size.

Standings (through Friday’s games)

Pioneer League North

Great Falls Voyagers (CWS) 21-13

Missoula Osprey (ARI) 17-17

Helena Brewers (MIL) 16-18

Billings Mustangs (CIN) 13-21

Pioneer League South

Ogden Raptors (LAD) 23-11

Idaho Falls Chukars (KC) 19-15

Grand Junction Rockies (COL) 17-17

Orem Owlz (LAA) 10-24

Increasing stock

Reed Rohlman.

The Chukars’ first baseman has batted 11 for 21 during the previous five games including an impressive 4 for 5 day at the plate against Missoula. He’s batting .357 with an OPS of 1.017.

Decreasing stock

Jonathan Bowlan.

Bowlan — the Royals’ second round pick this previous draft — holds a 1-1 record with a 4.71 ERA. He’s struck out 13 in 21 innings pitched, and gave up seven earned runs in a 12-0 loss to Missoula on July 14.

Recent transactions (from July 5 to July 21)

– Outfielder Kyle Isbel was promoted to the Lexington Legends on July 19.

– Outfielder Hunter Strong was assigned to the Chukars from the Burlington Royals on July 17.

– Right-handed pitcher Christopher Marte was released on July 13.

– Wilmington Blue Rocks sent catcher Chase Vallot on a rehab assignment to Idaho Falls on July 10.

– Third baseman Angel Medina was assigned to the Chukars from Burlington on July 7.

Upcoming

Idaho Falls finishes its seven-game road trip Tuesday at Missoula before starting a three-game home series against Orem Wednesday at Melaleuca Field. First pitch is 7:15 p.m.

Chukars trounce Brewers 18-5

A day after erasing a six-run deficit en route to an eventual win, the Idaho Falls Chukars blew the doors open with a 10-run sixth inning in an 18-5 win over the Helena Brewers in Helena.

The Chukars, who led 6-0 through two innings, outhit the Brewers 20-11 and had nine extra base hits.

Idaho Falls wasted no time, jumping out to a 6-2 lead after three innings thanks to an RBI double by Reed Rohlman, a two RBI double by Chase Vallot, an Offerman Collado two-run home run and a Rohlman RBI single. Vallot hit a two-run home run in the fifth inning to extend the advantage to 7-3.

Idaho Falls burst through in a marathon sixth inning, turning five hits, three hit batters, three walks, two errors and a wild pitch into 10 runs. The Brewers made two pitching substitutions during the inning.

The Brewers were held off the scoreboard from the fifth to seventh innings before scoring twice in the eighth inning. Helena recorded two hits and left two on base in the bottom of the ninth.

Vallot had a massive game for Idaho Falls, going 4 for 6 with a home run, two doubles, four RBIs and three runs scored. Collado went 3 for 4 with a home run, two RBIs and three runs scored, Hunter Strong went 3 for 5 with a double and Nathan Eaton went 2 for 4 with two RBIs and three runs scored. Connor Mayes took the win on the mound, allowing three runs (all earned) on four hits while walking three and striking out five in five innings pitched.

Idaho Falls (19-15) is four games back of Pioneer League South Division leader Ogden (23-11), which defeated Missoula 9-5 on Friday.

The Chukars continue their Montana road trip by beginning a four-game series tonight at Missoula. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.

Ninth inning gives Chukars 12-7 win at Helena

After tying the game twice, the Idaho Falls Chukars burst through for six runs in the top of the ninth inning to take a 12-7 win over the Helena Brewers on Thursday in Helena.

The Chukars (18-15) capitalized on two errors, a wild pitch and six hits, including an RBI single by Tyler James, an RBI single by Nathan Eaton, an RBI single by Reed Rohlman and an RBI single by Andres Martin, in the inning.

No lead was safe for Helena in Thursday’s contest. The Brewers struck first, taking a 4-0 lead after the first inning thanks to an RBI double by David Fry, an RBI single by Nick Egnatuk, an RBI triple by Leugim Castillo and an RBI single by Pablo Abreu in consecutive at-bats. The Brewers added two more runs in the second inning off a two-RBI single by Fry.

A two-run home run by Chase Vallot put Idaho Falls on the scoreboard in the fourth inning. The Chukars tied the game 6-6 with a four-run fifth inning thanks to a run by Martin and a three-run double by Rohlman.

Helena broke up the 6-6 tie when Jean Carmona scored off a wild pitch with two outs in the bottom of the eighth. The Chukars tied the game two at bats into the top of the ninth before beginning their scoring frenzy.

Vallot went 1 for 5 with a home run, two RBIs and a run scored, Rohlman went 2 for 5 with a double, four RBIs and a run scored, Eaton went 3 for 4 with an RBI and three runs scored and Jesus Atencio went 2 for 5 with an RBI and a run scored. Jaret Hellinger took the win, allowing one run (earned) on two hits while walking one and striking out three in two innings pitched for Idaho Falls.

The Chukars remained four games back of Pioneer League South Division Ogden with Thursday’s win. At 10:20 p.m., Ogden (22-10) was leading Missoula 8-4 in the top of the ninth.

The final game of the three-game series between the Chukars and Brewers is tonight in Helena. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.

Middle innings cost Chukars in 9-2 loss to Helena

The Helena Brewers defeated the Idaho Falls Chukars, 9-2, Wednesday at Kindrick Legion field after scoring all their runs in two innings.

After being held scoreless in the first three innings, Helena came alive in the middle frames, scoring four runs in the bottom of the fourth and five the next frame.

The Chukars did fight back in the top of the fifth, scoring two runs thanks to an RBI double from Nate Eaton to score Kyle Kasser and an RBI single from Reed Rohlman to drive in Eaton. The Chukars then surrendered five runs in the home half of the frame, however.

Eaton finished 2 for 4 at the plate with a double and a triple. Catcher Chase Vallot also went 2 for 4 with a double for the Chukars, who knocked in nine runs. The Brewers had 12.

CJ Eldred (3-2) took the loss on the mound, allowing nine earned runs on nine hits while walking none and striking out two in 4.2 innings pitched.

The Chukars (17-14) remain in second place in the Pioneer League South Division standings and were four games back of leader Ogden as of 10:10 p.m. Wednesday, when Ogden was leading Missoula 9-5 in the bottom of the eighth.

Idaho Falls returns to Helena tonight for game two of a three-game series. First pitch is at 7:05 p.m.

Chukars shut out Osprey to end homestand

The Idaho Falls Chukars ended their three-game series with the Missoula Osprey with a shutout win Monday at Melaleuca Field.

The Chukars blanked the Osprey 9-0, outhitting Missoula 18-4 in a game that featured no errors between the teams. The win moves Idaho Falls to 16-14, four games back of Pioneer League South Division leader Ogden (20-10).

Idaho Falls led 2-0 through five innings before piling on six runs in the bottom of the sixth: an RBI single by Andres Martin, a three-run double by Offerman Collado and a two-run home run by Kyle Isbel. It was the first of two home runs and three extra base hits Monday evening for Isbel, who ended the night 4 for 5 and three runs scored.

Reed Rohlman went 4 for 5 with a run scored, Angel Medina went 3 for 4 with a run scored and Collado went 2 for 2 with a double, two RBIs and a run scored.

J.C. Cloney got the win for Idaho Falls to move his record to 6-0 on the season, allowing no runs on four hits while walking one and striking out two in six innings pitched.

The Chukars are off tonight before beginning a seven-game road trip to Montana. They play the first game of a three-game series at Helena on Wednesday with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m.

SUNDAY’S GAME

Missoula defeated Idaho Falls for the second time in as many nights, defeating the Chukars 3-1 on Sunday.

The game was tied 1-1 through eight innings before the Osprey scored two runs in the top of the ninth: an RBI double by Zack Shannon and a sacrifice fly by Alex King that scored Zachery Almond.

Reed Rohlman went 2 for 4 with a RBI to lead the Chukars.

Chukars shut out for the second time this season

The Missoula Osprey began their three-game series with the Idaho Falls Chukars by handing them their second shutout loss of the season.

Missoula pitchers Marcos Tineo and Jacob Stevens combined to throw a two-hitter as the Osprey dealt the Chukars a 12-2 loss Saturday at Melaleuca Field. The first meeting between the teams this season,  Tineo threw 38 pitches for strikes (out of 55) and Stevens threw 22 for strikes (out of 40).

The loss puts Idaho Falls (16-12) two games back of Pioneer League South Division leading Ogden (18-10) as of 9:45 p.m. Saturday. Ogden was leading Helena 8-6 in the bottom of the eighth inning in Ogden at that time.

The Osprey outhit the Chukars 18-2, building a 7-0 lead through five innings. Missoula broke open the game with a five-run second inning: an RBI double by David Sanchez, a two-RBI single by Jesus Marriaga and a two-run home run by Cesar Garcia. Two other Osprey got extra base hits Saturday.

Outfielders Tyler James (1 for 4 with a double) and Jose Caraballo (1 for 3 with a double) were the lone Chukars to record hits. Jonathan Bowlan took the loss on the mound, allowing seven runs (all earned) on 10 hits while walking none and striking out two in five innings pitched.

Game two of the three-game series is this afternoon. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m. at Melaleuca Field.

Chukars, Brewers end series with tight battle

Chukars’ catcher Chase Vallot spins to tag Helena’s David Fry during Friday night’s game at Melaleuca Field. The throw from the outfield was a little too late and Fry scored on the play. Monte LaOrange / mlaorange@postregister.com

By PAUL LAMBERT
prsports@postregister.com

The luck was with the road team on Friday the 13th at Melaleuca Field as the Helena Brewers took an early lead into the late innings.

At Post Register deadline, the Helena Brewers were leading the Idaho Falls Chukars 8-7 in the top of the ninth inning.

Despite committing four errors and giving up 13 hits to Idaho Falls through eight innings, Helena was in position to get out of town with the victory thanks to 16 hits and a four-run fourth.

A Helena win would earn the Brewers a split in the four-game series, wrapping up the set in front of 2,798 fans Friday.

Chukars’ pitcher Conner Mayes releases a pitch during Friday night’s game at Melaleuca Field. Monte LaOrange / mlaorange@postregister.com

The Chukars got on the board in the third inning putting together a two-out, two-run rally, flipping a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 lead. Idaho Falls got RBIs from Jose Caraballo and Brady Cox in the inning.

The Brewers stacked back-to-back-to-back singles to open the fourth, starting an inning that proved particularly unlucky for the Chukars and starting pitcher Connor Mayes.

By the time it was over, Helena had four runs on four hits and a 5-2 lead.

Andres Martin got one back to open the bottom of the fourth, popping a solo shot over the left field wall. The homer was the first in Martin’s four-year professional career, a drought spanning 545 plate appearances.

Kyle Isbell brought the crowd to its feet three batters later, lacing a triple deep into the right field corner with two outs, then scoring on the play on a Helena throwing error.

Helena got to Mayes for two more in the fifth, chasing the hard-throwing righty after scoring seven on 12 hits.

Helena slugger Chad McClanahan opened the scoring in the first, driving a towering sky shot to right, to take the Pioneer League lead with six home runs.

Idaho Falls (16-11) will keep the home fires burning tonight, hosting Missoula in the first of a three-game series against the Osprey.

The Chukars will also host Missoula on Sunday and Monday before hitting the road for a seven-game set in Montana.

Chukars down Brewers 6-4, take 2-1 series lead

The back-and-forth series between Helena and Idaho Falls continued Thursday as the Chukars took a 2-1 series lead with one game remaining in their homestand with the Brewers.

One night after being held to two runs on eight hits, the Chukars held off the Brewers 6-4 at Melaleuca Field. Their win, coupled with Ogden’s loss to Missoula, brings the Chukars (16-11) one game back of Pioneer League South Division leading Ogden (17-10).

Idaho Falls led 5-1 through four innings Thursday, capped off by an RBI single from Tyler James and James scoring on an error in the bottom of the fourth. Helena (14-13), however, cut into the deficit with a three-run seventh inning off Jesus Lujano’s RBI single and runs by Lujano and Jose Sibrian after a force out. Idaho Falls’ Brady Cox scored the final run of the game in the bottom of the eighth off a Kyle Kasser single to center field.

Tyler Gray got the win for the Chukars to move his record to 1-1, allowing three runs (one earned) on four hits while walking three and striking out five in 4.2 innings. Daniel Duarte earned the save, allowing no runs on no hits while walking none and striking out one in 0.1 innings.

Outfielder Jose Caraballo was solid for the Chukars, going 2 for 4 with a double, a triple, an RBI and a run scored. Nathan Eaton went 1 for 4 with a solo home run, an RBI and a run scored, James went 2 for 5 with an RBI and a run scored and Kyle Kasser went 2 for 4 with an RBI and a run scored.

The final game of the four-game series is tonight with first pitch scheduled for 7:15 p.m. at Melaleuca Field.

Brewers take game two from Chukars, 12-2

A night after compiling 18 hits in a game that had no errors, the Idaho Falls Chukars committed four errors and managed two runs on eight hits Wednesday.

A six-run fifth inning broke a 1-1 tie and broke open the game for the Helena Brewers en route to a 12-2 win in game two of a four-game series at Melaleuca Field. Seven of Helena’s 11 hits were for extra bases, including home runs by Chad McClanahan and David Fry. The Chukars were held scoreless from the third through eighth innings, ending the night with seven runners left on base compared to three left on base for Helena (14-12).

The loss puts Idaho Falls’ record at 15-11, two games back of Pioneer League South Division Leader Ogden in the season’s first half standings.

Eldred took the loss, allowing nine runs (six earned) on nine hits while walking one and striking out three in six innings pitched. Reed Rohlman went 1 for 3 with a double and two runs scored, Nick Hutchins went 1 for 3 with a double and an RBI and Kyle Isbel went 2 for 3 for the Chukars.

Wilfred Salaman took the win for Helena, allowing one run (earned) on five hits while walking one and striking out three in six innings pitched. Yeison Coca (3 for 5 with a triple, an RBI three runs scored) and Jean Carmona (2 for 4 with two triples, two RBIs and two runs scored) led Helena at the plate.

The teams meet again tonight for game three of the four-game series. First pitch is 7:15 p.m. at Melaleuca Field.