Chukars drop doubleheader in Orem, fall to four games behind Rockies


It was a tough Monday in Orem, Utah, for the Idaho Falls Chukars.

Idaho Falls saw its pitching fall apart in the opener and its offense do the same in the nightcap as the Chukars dropped both ends of a doubleheader to the Owlz at Brent Brown Ballpark, falling 9-7 and 4-0.

It was the third straight loss to Orem for the Chukars, and combined with Grand Junction’s win over Ogden pushed Idaho Falls four games behind the Pioneer League South Division leading Rockies with 10 games remaining in the regular season.

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Chukars-Owlz postponed due to rain; Royals extend Player Development Contract


The Idaho Falls Chukars just can’t escape the rain.

The Chukars, who battled wet weather on each day of its four-game homestand last week, had another game wiped out by the elements Saturday in Orem, Utah.

The Orem area got hit hard by rain Friday, and the field at Brent Brown Ballpark was still unplayable Saturday afternoon, forcing the postponement of Saturday night’s game at around 4 p.m.

The Chukars and Owlz will play their scheduled game at 4 p.m. today, then make up Saturday’s game as part of a doubleheader beginning at 5:30 p.m. Monday. Both of those games will be seven-inning affairs.

This is the seventh postponed game for the Chukars this season after having no rainouts a year ago.

Idaho Falls trails South Division leader Grand Junction by three games with 14 games remaining. The Chukars and Owlz wrap up their four-game series Tuesday, and before the teams head to Melaleuca Field to begin a four-game series Wednesday.

Also Saturday, the Kansas City Royals extended their Player Development Contract with the Idaho Falls Chukars through the 2016 season. The Chukars have been affiliated with the Royals since 2004.

“We are excited to extend our contracts with Burlington, Idaho Falls, Lexington (through 2018) and Wilmington for an additional two years,” Royals Director of Player Development Scott Sharp said in a news release. “We feel these cities and facilities are some of the best in all of minor league baseball and provide us a great advantage in developing the Royals of the future.”

Soggy sweep: Chukars end series with 13-1, 2-1 wins over Rockies


The Grand Junction Rockies had their way at the plate in the first game of Thursday’s doubleheader, but the Idaho Falls Chukars took over to sweep Friday’s doubleheader.

In a game resumed from Thursday, the Chukars (33-30, 13-12) pounded out 11 hits and held the Rockies (39-24, 16-9) off the scoreboard for five innings en route to a 13-1, seven-inning drubbing in Friday’s opener. I.F. then held on for a 2-1 win in the nightcap.

Chukars manager Omar Ramirez was not only glad for the wins, which moved the Chukars within three games of the Pioneer League South Division leading Rockies, but to get two games played after dealing with rain delays the three previous days.

“Finally, we got to play,” Ramirez said. “We’re still in the playoff hunt.”

The Chukars added to a 7-0 lead from Thursday’s rain suspended contest with timely hits and by taking advantage of two errors and a wild pitch by Grand Junction in the last three innings. Ryan O’Hearn’s one-out three-run homer soared over the right field wall in the bottom of the fourth extend Idaho Falls’ lead to 10-0. He had five RBIs in a 3-for-5 day.

“He has been the guy for us,” Ramirez said. “He’s the best hitter in the lineup.”

Grand Junction’s lone run came on Forrest Wall’s solo homer in the sixth. Corey Toups’ RBI double brought home Luis Valenzuela, a wild pitch by Rockies pitcher Alec Kenilvort allowed Brandon Downes to score and a sac fly by O’Hearn drove in Toups for the Chukars’ final runs in the bottom of the sixth. Idaho Falls ended the game with a 4-6-3 double play in the seventh.

Matt Strahm earned the win, giving up one run on two hits while striking out three and walking none in three innings for his first win of the year. He said the 7-0 lead gave him confidence upon taking the mound.

“Just staying ahead, trusting my defense,” Strahm said. “Just let your defense work.”

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Rockies take game one 18-8, second game suspended with 7-0 Chukars lead


Grand Junction Rockies catcher Hamlet Marte gets tagged out by Idaho Falls Chukars third baseman Wander Franco during the first game of the doubleheader Thursday at Melaleuca Field. Pat Sutphin /

Rain turned Melaleuca Field into a soppy mess Thursday for the third time in as many days.

While game two of Thursday’s doubleheader was suspended due to a thunderstorm around 9 p.m., the Grand Junction Rockies caused plenty of damage of their own in a seven-inning 18-8 opening win in a game that was postponed Wednesday night.

Game two will resume at 5 p.m. today with the Chukars holding a 7-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning. After that game is finished, the teams will play a seven-inning game to complete their four-game series.

There wasn’t much the Pioneer League South Division leading Rockies (39-22, 16-7) couldn’t hit in the opener that began with a 4-1 first-inning lead. The Rockies pounded out 16 hits and made the most of eight walks and seven wild pitches. The Chukars (31-30, 11-12) fell to five games behind the Rockies with the loss with 15 games remaining.

The tide ultimately turned in favor of the Rockies in a long fourth inning. Yonathan Daza, who went 4 for 5, scored on Austin Fairchild’s third wild pitch of the inning. Forrest Wall scored on Wes Rogers’s single in the next at-bat to make it 6-1. Back-to-back walks loaded the bases for Kevin Padlo, who jacked a grand slam to left extending the lead to 10-1 for Grand Junction’s final runs of the inning.

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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 /

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 /,

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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