Drenched: Rockies take rain-shortened 7-3 victory over Chukars


Eric Stout of the Idaho Falls Chukars pitches through the rain Wednesday against the Grand Junction Rockies at Melaleuca Field. Pat Sutphin / psutphin@postregister.com

For the second night in a row, the elements wreaked havoc on the Idaho Falls Chukars homestand against the Grand Junction Rockies.

Tuesday’s game that was suspended after two innings and a 2-0 Rockies lead resumed Wednesday with more rain. The first cloudburst occurred in the fourth inning and a rain delay in the seventh inning eventually led to the game being called final, 7-3 in favor of Grand Junction.

With the loss, the Chukars (31-29, 11-11) fall to four games behind the Pioneer League South Division leading Rockies (38-22, 15-7). The next three games between the two teams will be their final meetings of the season.

The Chukars and Rockies will play a doubleheader today with first pitch scheduled for 5 p.m. The series ends Friday night.

“It’s unbelievable,” Idaho Falls manager Omar Ramirez said. “My first three years here, it rained twice maybe. It’s crazy. Not only here, but everywhere we go.”

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Chukars-Rockies suspended after two innings


Grand Junction Rockies shortstop Max George throws for a double play after tagging out Idaho Falls Chukars right fielder Brawlun Gomez at second base during the last play before the rain delay Tuesday at Melaleuca Field. Pat Sutphin / psutphin@postregister.com,

Idaho Falls’ key series against Grand Junction got off to a soggy start and was eventually suspended Tuesday night.

With lightning flashing and rain falling, the umpires called the teams off the field at Melaleuca Field after the end of the second inning with the Rockies holding a 2-0 lead.

The game will resume at 5 p.m. today with Grand Junction coming to bat in the top of the third inning. Once that nine-inning game concludes, there will be a 30-minute break before the teams play a seven-inning game.

Grand Junction holds a three-game lead over Idaho Falls in the Pioneer League South Division second-half standings. The Rockies also lead the second-half series 3-1, putting pressure on the Chukars to take at least three of four games in this homestand to remain in the playoff chase. The Chukars have 17 games remaining and these are the only games left against the Rockies.

Following today’s doubleheader, the teams will finish their four-game series with games Thursday and Friday. The Chukars then head to Orem, Utah, to begin a four-game series against the first-half champion Owlz. I.F. then returns home for four more games against Orem before finishing the season with five games against Ogden — three on the road and then two at home.

On Tuesday, Grand Junction scored single runs in the first and second inning. Leadoff hitter Wes Rogers ripped a 1-2 pitch off the video board in left for a home run in the first, then Wesley Jones drew a one-out walk, moved to third on Omar Carrizales single and scored on a throwing error by Chukars catcher on a stolen base attempt.

Idaho Falls had two hits in the first and another in the second but couldn’t score.

CHUKARS CHATTER: Idaho Falls won four of seven games on its road trip to Helena and Missoula despite scoring fewer than five runs in five of the seven games. … 2012 first-round pick Kyle Zimmer is expected to pitch today against the Rockies. He’s not expected to work more than an inning or two. Jake Newberry (4-4, 5.26 ERA) and Torey Deshazier (4-1, 3-12 ERA) are the other scheduled starters in the series. … Play between the North and South divisions wrapped up Sunday, with the South taking the season series 64-48. The Chukars (31-28, 11-10) went 17-11 vs. the North and is 14-17 against the South.

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 / psutphin@postregister.com


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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