Chukars drop regular season road finale 8-1 to Raptors

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In a final twist of irony, the Pioneer League’s best road team lost its final game away from home Friday night when the Idaho Falls Chukars fell 8-1 to the Ogden Raptors.

The Chukars close the regular season at 24-14 on the road, and return home 24-14 having clinched the league’s South Division second half title with a on Wednesday.

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Chukars pick up 24th road win, defeat Raptors 4-3

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The Idaho Falls Chukars improved to 24-13 on the road Thursday night, edging the Ogden Raptors 4-3 one night after claiming the Pioneer League South Division second-half crown.

Many of the Chukars regulars got a rest in the win, and pitcher Yender Caramo made short work of the Raptors over his six innings to improve to 6-3. Caramo struck out three and allowed one earned run in the victory, and teammate Corey Rhoney collected his fifth save.

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Chukars are playoff bound for the first time since ’07

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The longest playoff drought in the Pioneer League came to an end Wednesday night when the Idaho Falls Chukars held off the Orem Owlz 12-7 to win the South Division second-half title.

It’s the Chukars’ first playoff berth since 2007.

Idaho Falls improved to 40-32 overall and 21-13 in the second half, giving it a 41/2-game lead over Orem with four games remaining. The Owlz had a game rained out last month but it will not be made up.

The Chukars will host Grand Junction for one game at Melaleuca Field on Monday before heading to Colorado to complete the best-of-three first-round series. The winner of the series will face the winner of the North Division series between Helena and Great Falls. The winner of the series will face the winner of the North Division series between Helena and Great Falls.

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Chukars drop Owlz 8-5, move closer to securing playoff spot

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At Orem, Utah, the Idaho Falls Chukars got what broadcaster Chris Lewis described as “the defensive play of the year” from outfielder Elier Hernandez during the bottom of the eighth inning in an 8-5 win over the Owlz on Tuesday.

Leading Orem 7-5 with a runner on second in the bottom of the eighth inning, Owlz batter Raul Linares lifted a long fly ball to right field. Hernandez measured the shot from the warning track, leaped and reached his arm over the fence, bringing the ball back for the second out of the frame.

Idaho Falls (20-13) went on to pick up the win and move 31/2 games ahead of Orem in the Pioneer League’s South Division second-half standings. That makes the Chukars’ magic number to clinch a playoff spot two, meaning an Idaho Falls win tonight at Orem would give the franchise its first postseason berth since 2007.

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Dozier, Caramo shine as Chukars end Rockies rally in 10-7 win

Saturday’s postgame fireworks were fitting in what turned out to be an explosive game between the Grand Junction Rockies and Idaho Falls Chukars.

The Rockies (29-39, 8-22) cut into a big Chukars lead with six runs in the top of the ninth, but Idaho Falls ended the comeback bid for a 10-7 rollercoaster win before a lively crowd of 3,351 at Melaleuca Field.

The win, combined with Orem’s 9-1 loss to Ogden, gives the Chukars (37-31, 18-12) a 21/2-game lead atop the Pioneer League South Division second-half standings.

The late-game drama didn’t completely overshadow the return of Kansas City Royals first draft pick Hunter Dozier and the performance of starting pitcher Yender Caramo.

Dozier went 4 for 5 with 3 RBIs and three runs scored in his first game back in Idaho Falls since being called up to Royals affiliate Lexington Legends earlier in August. The 21-year-old hit .327 in 15 games with the Legends, which were recently eliminated from playoff contention.

“He was the leader of this team before he left and he’s gonna continue to be the leader of this team,” Chukars manager Omar Ramirez said. “He plays hard all the time. He’s an example to the players.”

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One run turns out to be enough in fast-paced Chukars’ win

Late-game heroics lifted the Idaho Falls Chukars for the second night in a row Thursday, this time in the shortest game of the season.

Carlos Garcia, pinch running for Beau Maggi, slid home just ahead of the tag off a sacrifice fly to right field by Humberto Arteaga in the bottom of the eighth to break open a scoreless game and ultimately give the Chukars a 1-0 win over the Grand Junction Rockies at Melaleuca Field. The RBI was the 53rd for Arteaga, who leads the Pioneer League.

Pitching reigned superior otherwise as the Chukars (36-30, 17-11) and Rockies (28-38, 7-21) combined for more strikeouts (12) than hits (seven) in a game that lasted 1hour, 42 minutes.

“That’s the quickest game I’ve been a part of,” Chukars manager Omar Ramirez said. “I’m gonna keep saying it and saying it and saying it. Pitching is gonna take us to the playoffs. Hitting comes and goes, but pitching has got to be there every day.”

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Chukars overcome 5-run deficit, move to first place

Chukars first baseman Cody Stubbs attempts to tag out Cesar Galvez during Wednesday's game at Melaleuca Field. Pat Sutphin / psutphin@postregister.com

Alexis Rivera had a welcoming party waiting for him in the bottom of the ninth inning Wednesday, complete with tackle hugs and spraying water as his teammates emptied the dugout.

Pinch running for Beau Maggi, Rivera trotted home with the winning run on a throwing error by Grand Junction starter Carlos Yan in the bottom of the ninth to give the Idaho Falls Chukars a 6-5 comeback win over the Rockies at Melaleuca Field.

The win, combined with Orem’s loss to Ogden, pushed the Chukars into first place in the Pioneer League’s South Division second-half standings.

The Chukars (35-30, 16-11) trailed 5-0 early before scoring five runs in the sixth and seventh innings to tie the game, setting up the bottom-of-the-ninth heroics.

“It was like a playoff atmosphere,” Chukars manager Omar Ramirez said. “I told them just the other night — every game is like a playoff game. Great comeback win.”

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Chukars finish road series with second straight win over Voyagers

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The Idaho Falls Chukars inched closer to first place by taking down a team they couldn’t seem to beat.

The Chukars (34-30) built an early lead then pulled away over the final two innings to earn a 9-5 win over the Great Falls Voyagers on Tuesday night in Montana. Idaho Falls won the final two games to earn a split of its four-game set in Great Falls, the Chukars first two wins in seven tries against the Voyagers this season.

The turnaround against Great Falls also pushed the Chukars closer to first place in the Pioneer League South Division’s second-half standings. Idaho Falls improved to 15-11 in the second half, just a half-game behind Orem, which saw its game against Missoula suspended by rain in the third inning Tuesday. Orem and Missoula aren’t scheduled to play again this year and the Owlz don’t have another off-day this year, so finding time to finish that game will be difficult.

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Pitching lifts Chukars to first win over Voyagers

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Idaho Falls starting pitcher Jake Junis struck out nine over seven innings Monday, allowing just three hits in a 3-1 road win over the Great Falls Voyagers.

Junis let one run sneak home in the second inning, but was lights out from there, improving to 2-5 on the season while lowering his earned run average to 6.40.

The Chukars finished with eight hits in the victory, all singles save a solo home run by Cody Stubbs in the eighth.

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League-leading Voyagers snap Chukars’ road win streak

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At Great Falls, Mont., Dane Opel completed Great Falls’ late-inning rally with a single over center fielder Daniel Rockett’s head with two outs in the bottom of the 10th inning to lift the Voyagers to a 7-6 Pioneer League victory over the Idaho Falls Chukars on Saturday.

The loss snapped the Chukars’ seven-game road win streak — a streak that likely should be eight heading into this afternoon’s game against Great Falls.

Idaho Falls (32-29, 13-10 second half) took a 6-4 lead in the seventh when Humberto Arteaga belted a two-run triple and Elier Hernandez added an RBI single. The Chukars maintained that lead until the bottom of the eighth, when Trey Wimmer hit a leadoff homer to make it 6-5.

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