Category: Chukars Extra

Ogden claws I.F., 13-8, at Melaleuca Field

By Luke O’Roark | Post Register | @LukeORoark
You might want to check your car for dents if you were at Melaleuca Field Wednesday night.

The Raptors blasted two home runs and took advantage of three oppositional fielding errors, to beat the Chukars 13-8 at Melaleuca Field in front of 1,579 fans.

Ogden tallied 15 hits against Idaho Falls’ three pitchers, Dillon Drabble, Garrettson Harris and Andrew Beckwith, to hand the Chukars’ their fourth loss in five games.

(FILE) Chukars’ Cristhian Vasquez catches a pop fly during game one of three against the Voyagers at Melaleuca Field in Idaho Falls, Id., Friday, August 11, 2017. (Photo/ John Roark, jroark@postregister.com)

Idaho Falls has allowed 58 runs during that span.

With the win, Ogden keeps its playoff hopes alive at 36-22 (14-7 second half). Idaho Falls’ chances continue to dip, falling to 26-33 (9-12).

The Raptors are 5-3 when playing the Chukars this season.

Despite Ogden’s hot offense at Melaleuca Field, the Chukars did respond with runs of their own Wednesday, peaking when first baseman Robby Rinn slugged a two-run home run to revitalize the Chukars in the bottom of the eighth.

Rinn finished the night 2 for 3 at the plate.

But the Chukars — the worst pitching, and most undisciplined, team in the Pioneer League — fell in similar fashion. They simply couldn’t prevent the Raptors from circling the bases throughout Wednesday’s three-hour bout.

After Drabble surrendered two home runs during the first two frames, the Chukars got onto the board thanks to Cristhian Vasquez and Matt Morales RBIs.

Freddy Fermin and Darrell Miller Jr. then squeezed the Raptors’ four-run lead after Fermin hit in a run and Miller walked home, respectively, to cut Ogden’s lead to two.

But a sloppy fifth innings, which included a throwing error from Morales that allowed an extra base runner, helped the Raptors to score four runs.

The Raptors’ damage continued in the top of the ninth frame when the Raptors scored three runs off Harris. Harris finished the night with five hits, three earned runs in 2.2 innings pitched for a 9.00 ERA. He struck out three batters. Drabble (1-3) took the loss after allowing seven earned runs on 10 hits and two home runs.

Idaho Falls’ offense failed to respond as Fermin, Vasquez and Gonzalez all struck out in the top of the ninth.

To start the night, Ogden took an early 3-0 lead after a 424-foot, three-run homer by Mitchell Hansen flew over the right wall during the first inning. It was Hansen’s ninth home run of 2017.

Connor Heady continued the damage, hitting a three-run home run to extend Ogden’s lead to 6-0. It was also over the right wall.

What’s important:

Two early home runs set the tone, as the Chukars’ offense couldn’t carry their weak pitching and three fielding errors.

Player (s) of the game:

Robby Rinn. Rinn finished 2 for 3 at the plate with a two-run home run during the top of the eighth. He was also walked twice.

Notables:

– Attendance was announced as 1,578 Wednesday night.

Upnext:

Idaho Falls will return to Melaleuca Field for game two against Ogden. First pitch is at 7:15 p.m.

Chukars notebook: A melting pot of different cultural backgrounds, Latin players attempt to integrate with Chukars

By Luke O’Roark | Post Register | @LukeORoark
Chukars’ employee Andrew Scarlata said two Latino Chukars players, instead of driving, once pegged his bike to go to the local grocery store a couple miles down the road.

Another time, one player wanted to order Domino’s Pizza 30 minutes before a game’s first pitch.

Scarlata’s quick tales aren’t malicious — rather, examples of cultural barriers some players may face when being drafted from overseas into the MLB’s farming system.

Chukars’ Julio Gonzalez and Chukars’ Freddy Fermin have a meeting at the mound with pitcher Chukars’ Janser Lara, center, during game one of three against the Voyagers at Melaleuca Field in Idaho Falls, Id., Friday, August 11, 2017. (Photo/ John Roark, jroark@postregister.com)

“I’ve realized that these guys will probably need some sort of help or information or support when they come to the U.S., a completely different culture,” said Scarlata, who was in the Dominican Republic last summer and worked with a few Chukars players like Freddy Fermin. “Some guys handle it differently than others. A lot of times with the Latin players … having money is a total 180 for them. Language-wise, it’s all about commitment.”

The Chukars — a rookie-level affiliate of the Kansas City Royals — have seven Spanish-speaking players on their roster this season.

Scarlata, who was hired by Chukars’ general manager Kevin Greene because of his close relationship with the seven players, said they receive English classes in their hotel have gone on a fishing trips and even visited Tautphaus Park to help become acclimated to Idaho Falls — an overwhelmingly white, English speaking area of the United States.

The percentage of Hispanic or Latino population in Idaho Falls is 12.8 percent of the total general populous, according to city-data.com.

“The Royals do a really good job. They have classes for the Latin players, and we communicate a lot,” Jake Wakamatsu said. “I think it’s a good thing for all of us to get together and just learn about each other’s cultures and about each other.”

The Spanish-speaking players, like Fermin and Cristhian Vasquez, have used the developmental league to not only hone their craft, but to understand American culture, societal norms and the English language.

Fermin, in a translated interview with Scarlata, said it can be an adjustment for them, though.

“It is hard,” Fermin said. “It is difficult with the language barrier, but I’m learning new words every day by talking with the coaches and learning inside the clubhouse every day.”

According to the Society for American Baseball Research, a study by Mark Armour and Daniel Levitt found that 27.4 percent of MLB players identified as Latino.

The MLB and MiLB has slowly, but surely, become more inclusive over the years to accommodate other players’ backgrounds.

For an example, the MLB mandated that all teams provide interpreters for players with limited or no English proficiency in 2016, according to NPR.

“I know if I were playing or managing in Latin America today and had to speak Spanish, I would want a translator, just because the nuances of everything you say can be misunderstood or taken out of context,” Angels’ manager Mike Scioscia told USA Today in 2016.

Chukars’ Cristhian Vasquez runs to third base during game one of three against the Voyagers at Melaleuca Field in Idaho Falls, Id., Friday, August 11, 2017. (Photo/ John Roark, jroark@postregister.com)

Chukars’ pitching coach Jeff Suppan and designated hitter Darrell Miller, Jr. said they recognized the language (and cultural) barrier that happens since the Chukars are a melting pot of players from the likes of Georgia, California, Venezuela, Arizona and the Dominican Republic.

“Every year, almost half the team is Latin,” right fielder Amalani Fukofuka said during the preseason. “So, it’s good to try and get to know them a little more and learn a little Spanish to communicate. You can mess with them sometimes, and they’re usually cool to talk to.”

Suppan pitched 17 years in the majors, communicating with players of multiple Latin backgrounds. He said the cultural and language barrier “is just baseball.”

“Hopefully, you just mesh as a team,” Suppan said. “So, I might come in with a California accent, somebody else comes in with a Georgia accent, a Philly accent, somebody is a Spanish speaker and you kinda blend and have your own language together.”

Suppan added that “team language” is a universal component to sports.

Miller, who occasionally has to communicate with Spanish-speaking pitchers during games, agreed.

“I know it can be a challenge in clubhouses, but being a member of the Royals, and knowing what they’re about, we mesh really well — whether or not we can understand each other sometimes,” Miller said. “Baseball has a universal language, and I do know a little bit of Spanish, and these guys work their tails off … It might be broken in our communication but again, you know what they’re trying to say. They know what you’re trying to say.”

The term “universal language” as Miller and Suppan described comes with just playing the sport.

No matter if a player is from South America or North Dakota, the objective is still to score as many runs as possible before three outs.

Chukars’ Julio Gonzalez runs to first base during game one of three against the Voyagers at Melaleuca Field in Idaho Falls, Id., Friday, August 11, 2017. (Photo/ John Roark, jroark@postregister.com)

Win or lose, Scarlata said he takes responsibility for the Latin players in Idaho Falls, though. He has tried to be empathetic to people of different backgrounds attempting to merge into the United States.

“They’re really like kids, when you think about it,” Scarlata said. “You go into a place, you don’t know the language very well, and you’re here to play baseball and all you know is that there’s a town around you. They’ve really impressed me coming here.”

Chukars rout Mustangs, 17-2, behind Gonzalez’s six RBIs

By Luke O’Roark | Post Register | @LukeORoark
The Chukars kept hitting in between the gaps and the Mustangs just couldn’t respond.

No matter how you slice it, Thursday night belonged to Idaho Falls’ trifecta of hitters: Julio Gonzalez, Logan Gray and designated hitter, Darrell Miller Jr.

Chukars’ Julio Gonzalez throws to first to make a double play against the Mustangs at Melaleuca Field in Idaho Falls, Tuesday, August 15, 2017. (Photo/ John Roark, jroark@postregister.com)

The trio combined for 12 RBIs as Idaho Falls routed Billings 17-2 at Melaleuca Field in front of 2,411 fans. Gonzalez led the way offensively with six RBIs while Miller and Gray added three RBIs, respectively.

All three had three or more hits during the win (Miller Jr. and Gonzalez had four hits apiece).

“We all had really good approaches,” Miller Jr. said. “Tried to keep it simple. (The Mustangs) have a really good staff … so it’s good to face pitching like that.”

The win split the four-game series at 2-2 as the Chukars move to 25-29 overall (8-8 second half ).

It was Idaho Falls’ largest-margin of victory since beating Helena 13-1 on July 21. The Chukars’ 22 hits, the second-most this season, made Thursday night’s win all the more sweeter.

Six of those hits came in the bottom of the sixth frame alone.

But while the offense exploded, the Chukars’ bullpen did its job, too.

“(Janser) Lara had a very solid start for us. Throwing the ball, attacking the hitters,” manager Justin Gemoll said. “And we scored runs early and we kept added on throughout the game. It’s a good win for us.”

Simply, the Chukars blasted Mustangs’ pitcher Tyler Mondile (L, 2-4) from the opening frame, registering 12 hits and eight runs.

Mondile finished the night with an ERA of 5.15.

Conversely, Idaho Falls’ starter Janser Lara controlled early and often. Billings’ six hits were one of the lowest totals this season against the Chukars, statistically one of the Pioneer League’s worst pitching and defensive teams.

But as Lara and closer Andrew Beckwith shut the door on Billings (24-28, 6-9), the Chukars kept adding on runs.

Lara finished the night with two runs on five hits while walking one and striking out six. He did allow one home run, as Jeter Downs hit his fourth dinger of the season in the top of the sixth.

Beckwith allowed one hit and struck out two in 2.1 innings pitched Thursday.

“They threw the ball well,” Pitching coach Jeff Suppan said of his bullpen. “Janser threw the ball well, so I was happy for him. I thought he was smooth and had good rhythm. It’s really his first time pitching in the United States, so I think his stuff really played well.”

What’s important:

From the start, this was the Chukars’ night. Six runs in the bottom of the third gave them an early lead and Idaho Falls hardly had a problem afterwards.

Player (s) of the game:

Julio Gonzalez. While Miller Jr., Gray and Janser Lara played a vital role during Thursday night’s win, Gonzalez’s six RBIs were most notable.

Quotable:

“It is nice to get one of these (routs), but it’s by no means a day off. We still have to go up there and keep our foot on the gas and not let up because that’s how a lot of teams come back, especially in this league. It’s an offensive league, so you’re not safe up by freakin’ eight runs. These guys battled, and we battled, and I think it was a good series.” — DH Darrell Miller Jr.

Notables:

– Gonzalez’s six RBIs were a team-high this year. He’s also only the third player to hit five-plus RBIs in a single game this year, joining Robby Rinn and Matt Morales.

– Darrell Miller’s RBI during the first frame was his 30th of the season. His 32 RBIs are tied for second-most (Tyler Straub) on the Chukars.

– An attendee was injured at Melaleuca during the latter portion of Saturday’s game and was transported away by ambulance. Chukars assistant GM Josh Michelson said the attendee was “okay” and had injured themselves from a fall.

Up next: The Chukars are off today. They will return to action Saturday at Grand Junction (27-27, 9-7). First pitch is at 6:40 p.m.

Voyagers only need home run to down Chukars, 2-0

By Post Register | Prsports@postregister.com
The Chukars just couldn’t get anything going Saturday night against the Voyagers.

Atleast, it was the quickest game of the season at two hours and 14 minutes.

Chukars’ Ramon Castro steals second base during game one of three against the Voyagers at Melaleuca Field in Idaho Falls, Id., Friday, August 11, 2017. (Photo/ John Roark, jroark@postregister.com)

Great Falls only needed a home run to outlast Idaho Falls, 2-0, Saturday night in Melaleuca Field, scoring two runs in the top of the second and holding on to earn its 20th win on the season. It was only the second time the Chukars had been shut out all season.

The Chukars fall to 22-27, 5-6 on the season. The Voyagers advance to 20-28, 5-5 and a top of the Pioneer League North standings.

The Voyagers scored their two runs late in the second frame, holding onto the lead after the Chukars failed to cross home plate for the first time since July 27 (3-0 loss to Orem).

It was a Franklin Reyes home run over the left field wall that scored Carlos Perez and got Great Falls on the board first. It ended up being the only offense necessary.

Despite starting pitcher Julio Pinto’s solid work on the mound — five hits, two earned runs and eight strikeouts in eight innings pitched — the Idaho Falls registered its lowest amount of hits since losing 13-2 to Orem on July 28 (four hits).

Saturday, the Chukars only mustered up five hits, with first baseman Robby Rinn going 1 for 4 at the plate. It was Rinn’s 10th-straight hit.

Pinto fell to 3-6 on the season. His eight innings pitched was also the longest start for any Chukar so far this season.

Chukars beat Voyagers, 6-3, with solid pitching

By Luke O’Roark | Post Register | @Lukeoroark
Two of the Pioneer League’s bottom dwellers played Friday night at Melaleuca Field.

One team didn’t play like it, though.

Chukars’ Garrettson Harris pitches after replacing Chukars’ Janser Lara during game one of three against the Voyagers at Melaleuca Field in Idaho Falls, Id., Friday, August 11, 2017. (Photo/ John Roark, jroark@postregister.com)

The Idaho Falls Chukars beat the Great Falls Voyagers 6-3 Friday night in front of 2,329 fans to start its seven-game homestand.

In a relatively back-and-forth affair, the Chukars took control thanks to five runs in the final three frames. The win pushed the Chukars to 22-26 (5-5 in the second half) on the season. The Voyagers fall to 19-28 (4-5).

Chukars outfielders Travis Jones and Amalani Fukofuka led the way at the plate, going 2 for 4 and 2 for 3, respectively. They both reached home plate twice.

“Quality at-bats, really,” said Jones, when asked what went right Friday night. “Our at-bats were pretty quality today.”

Jones broke the stalemate first, scoring on a wild pitch during the second inning after hitting a triple to right field to get on base.

It was almost the only run the Chukars needed until Voyagers’ outfielder Tate Blackmon hit a line drive off starting pitcher Janser Lara, and past Amalani Fukofuka, to tie the game at one in the sixth frame.

Lara, a Pioneer League All-Star, pitched well up to that point, finishing the night with one run on two hits while walking three and striking out four in 5.2 innings pitched.

Garrettson Harris relieved him, earning his second win (2-0) on the season in 2.1 innings pitched.

The Chukars answered the Voyagers’ single run with three runs in the bottom of the six when Fukofuka scored off a failed rundown and Freddy Fermin and Brewer Hicklen plated two runs off RBIs.

“You can only hit the ball so hard, and it’s up to God where the ball goes and I think it’s been going in the hole lately,” Jones said.

The Voyagers made it close with two runs in the seventh, but two Chukars — Fukofuka and Robby Rinn — scored with bases loaded to put the game away.

Chukars’ Julio Gonzalez throws to first during game one of three against the Voyagers at Melaleuca Field in Idaho Falls, Id., Friday, August 11, 2017. (Photo/ John Roark, jroark@postregister.com)

“What really won the game was the good communication between the pitcher, catcher and the infield,” Fermin said through Chukars’ Andrew Scarlata, who translated. “It was superior tonight.”

What’s important:

The Chukars success against the Voyagers this season continued Friday night. Every time Great Falls seemed to score, Idaho Falls answered.

Player (s) of the game:

Travis Jones and Janser Lara. Lara, one of the Chukars best pitchers, showed solid command, not allowing a run until the sixth inning. Jones went 2 for 4 at the plate, including a triple in the bottom of the second.

Notables:

– Rain briefly hit Melaleuca Field during the first inning, causing some fans to ditch their seats. The rain lasted less than two minutes.

– Right fielder Amalani Fukfofuka registered his 14th hit in 11 games Friday after a line drive was mishandled by Voyagers’ third baseman Craig Dedelow.

– Travis Jones’ recent tear through the Pioneer League continued Friday when he tripled to right field. He later scored on a wild pitch. Jones has garnered nine hits in the previous four games.

Up next: The Chukars will return to Melaleuca Field tonight for game two of three against the Voyagers. First pitch is at 7:15 p.m.

Mustangs halt Chukars’ sweep, win 14-9

By Post Register | Prsports@postregister.com
The Idaho Falls Chukars entered Wednesday’s game against Billings with a sweep on the line and instead took a 14-9 loss to the Mustangs at Dehler Park. 

The Chukars fall to 21-26 overall and 4-5 in the second half of Pioneer League play.

As in its previous two games against Billings, Idaho Falls again got off to a quick start on Wednesday with a 5-0 lead after the top of the first. Billings matched it to end the frame knotted at 5-5. Matt Morales scored with two outs in the top of the fourth to make it 6-5 Idaho Falls, but that was the last time the Chukars would lead.

The Mustangs (22-23, 4-4 second half), capitalized on a walk, two errors, a wild pitch, a balk, a stolen base, and two hits all with two outs to score four runs in the top of the fifth inning to take a 9-6 lead. Billings scored another five unanswered runs in the next two innings before Idaho Falls got back on the scoreboard again with three runs in the top of the eighth.

After combining for 25 runs and five errors on Tuesday, the Chukars and Mustangs combined for 27 hits and seven errors on Wednesday. Five of those errors were committed by Idaho Falls.

Morales went 3 for 5 with three runs scored, Amalani Fukofuka went 2 for 5 with a double, two RBIs and two runs scored while Robby Rinn went 1 for 5 with a double, two RBIs and a run scored.

Starting pitcher Dillon Drabble took the loss, giving up seven runs (four earned) on seven hits while walking three and striking out four in 4.2 innings.

The Chukars return to Melaleuca Field on Friday for game one of three against Great Falls after a seven-game road trip to Montana. First pitch is scheduled for 7:15 p.m.

Orem sweeps Idaho Falls after 17-7 win at Melaleuca

Post Register | Prsports@postregister.com
Orem blew past Idaho Falls 17-7 on Sunday at Melaleuca Field, behind five home runs and three big innings.
The loss is Idaho Falls’ fourth in a row, dropping the Chukars to 17-21 and 0-2 in the second half. Orem maintained its league-best record, 28-11.

Robby Rinn (via Chukars Media)

After scoring five runs in the top of the second, Orem scored six in the top of the fifth and three in the seventh to top Idaho Falls for the ninth time in 10 games this year.
I.F. pitcher Robert Garcia (0-2) struggled, allowing 13 runs (all earned), 14 hits and five home runs in 4.1 innings.
The Chukars had one of their better offensive performances against the Owlz this season Sunday. They registered 14 hits and trailed 7-4 after three innings.
But five home runs, which scored 11 runs for the Owlz, doomed the Chukars.
Robby Rinn led the Chukars at the plate, going 2 for 4 with three runs and an RBI. Four others had two hits: Amalani Fukofuka, Darrell Miller Jr., Freddy Fermin and Julio Gonzalez.
Idaho Falls is off through Wednesday for the All-Star break. Five members of the Chukars and the coaching staff will compete in Tuesday’s Pioneer League/Northwest League All-Star game in Hillsboro, Ore. The players are: pitcher Holden Capps, pitcher Janser Lara, catcher Darrell Miller, infielder Robby Rinn and outfielder Amalani Fukofuka. The Chukars resume action Thursday at Great Falls.

Owlz down Chukars with 14 walks

By Paul Lambert | Post Register
If Saturday night’s game at Melaleuca Field were a boxing match, the Vegas odds would have been somewhere in the Mayweather-McGregor range. 
Something like 7 to 1 against the home team, with the defending Pioneer League champion Orem Owlz (Mayweather) as the heavy favorites over the hometown Chukars (McGregor).
Always with a puncher’s chance, the Chukars went toe-to-toe with the league leading Owlz, but ended up on the canvas for the third-straight night, losing 15-8.
But it wasn’t a string of hits that dropped the Chukars. It was a string of walks.
Idaho Falls (17-22, 0-1) had at least one hit in every inning, out-hitting Orem (27-11, 1-0) 18-13.
But the Chukars’ pitching staff walked 14 in the loss. Orem walked only one. The worst of it came in the top of the sixth when Orem scored six runs on just two hits, taking advantage of five walks.
That sequence broke a 6-6 tie, leaving Idaho Falls trapped in the corner, down 12-6. Even without all those free passes to the Pioneer League’s best team, the tale of the tape didn’t look for the Chuks coming in. The Owlz came in hitting a throaty .374 against Idaho Falls. Conversely, the Chukars were hitting just .228 verse Orem. Also, Orem led the season series 8-1, including dominant wins Thursday and Friday.
And to top it all off, Orem delivered a straight shot with three runs in the top of the first off starter Julio Pinto — the Pioneer League’s leader in losses and walks. Pinto continued to struggle finding the plate, walking eight more over 5 innings, absorbing another loss to fall to 2-6.
Jeremy Gwinn had an even tougher time finding the plate in relief, walking five in the sixth without recording a single out. The Owlz batted around in that decisive sixth, sending 10 to the plate to offset a game-tying 3-spot posted by Idaho Falls in the bottom of the fifth.

What’s important:

Idaho Falls fell to 3-18 when the other team scores first, and 2-20 when trailing after six innings. The game was the first of the second half of the Pioneer League season for the Chukars (0-1).

Player of the Game:

Danny Hrbek struck out five over two shutout innings in relief, helping to bandage a pitching staff that seemed determined to suffer death by papercut.

What’s next:

The Chukars and Owlz wrap up their four game series with today’s Sunday matinee, with first pitch scheduled for 4 p.m. Then its off to Montana for seven games beginning Thursday, with the Chukars coming back home on Aug. 11.

Chukars notebook: Midway through season, Chukars still seeking consistency

By Luke O’Roark | Post Register | @Lukeoroark
Editor’s note: Every Sunday, Luke O’Roark will break down the Chukars, the Pioneer League, and give some insight on what’s going on inside the Kansas City affiliate.
Saturday is the start of a new season in the Pioneer League. Teams go back to 0-0 for the second half of the year.
For the Chukars, specifically, Saturday means a clean slate.
Idaho Falls finished in last the Pioneer League south division at 17-21. And if it wants to make the Pioneer League playoffs, it will need to use its clean slate to find some consistency.

Idaho Falls’ Julio Gonzales makes the throw to first base after getting the force-out on Missoula’s Dominic Miroglio at second base during Monday night’s game at Melaleuca Field. The double play ended the sixth inning.

“It feels good, as a team, to know that we get a clean slate,” catcher Darrell Miller Jr. said. “And we have an opportunity to make the playoffs in the second half.”
Even with a developmental mindset, as players attempt to perfect different components of their game, the Chukars’ play have fluctuated through the first 38 games.
On some nights, the hits have come in droves for the Chukars’ offense. Other nights, it’s been quiet.
The Chukars have plenty of hitters that have looked solid at the plate (Chris Hudgins, Matt Moralez, Amalani Fukofuka, Travis Jones, Robby Rinn and Miller Jr.) but it now needs more everyday players.
Only four players — Tyler Straub, Cristhian Vasquez, Fukofuka and Rinn — have played 30-plus games this year.
In general, the Chukars have only had 17 players come to the plate — a league-low.
Ogden, for context, had 25 players come to the plate during the first half of the season. The result: the Raptors are one of the best offenses in the league.
“I like the way the compete,” manager Justin Gemoll said. “We’re just striving for consistency, in all three facets of the game: pitching, hitting and defense. At this level, sometimes you have some of those, sometimes you don’t.”
Pitching has been hot-and-cold for Idaho Falls, too.
Midseason acquisitions like Holden Capps has tightened the Chukars’ command on the mound that lacked early in the year. But, the Chukars’ bullpen has statistically struggled.
They rank last in team ERA (6.86), hits allowed (474) and earned runs (256) allowed. The Chukars have allowed 10 or more runs in 13 games this season.
Defensively, the Chukars had 21-straight games with an error.
So, maybe, a clean slate is a good thing.
“Our goal as coaches is to get them better and move them through the system,” Gemoll said.

First half MVPs:

Robby Rinn — Arguably the Chukars best hitter. Rinn leads the team in hits, RBIs, total bases (with Fukofuka) and is third in batting average (.357).

Amalani Fukofuka — one of the Chukars’ most consistent players. Has played well in right field and at the three spot in the lineup. Leads the team in stolen bases (13).

Darrell Miller Jr. — Miller Jr. has shown plenty of power in 76 at-bats this season. He also garnered five hits in a game … twice.

Vance Vizcaino — Athletic and a utility-type of player during his tenure with the Chukars, Vizcaino has moved up the Kansas City Royals’ farming system. He now plays for single-A Lexington.

Chukars infielder Tyler Straub (18) gets ready to catch the ball while Brewers infielder Dallas Carroll (29) goes to slide to the base during a regular season game at Melaluca on Wednesday night.

Holden Capps — Selected to the Pioneer League All-Star team, Capps has been a good mid-season acquisition for the Chukars. In three starts, has a 4.05 ERA and a 1-1 record on the mound.

Janser Lara — Also an All-Star, Lara has gone 2-1 in four starts with the Chukars this season.

Michael Silva — A solid reliever for Idaho Falls. Has a 3.44 ERA in nine games and 18.1 innings pitched.

Team Transactions (as of July 23-29):

– The Chukars received right-handed pitcher Dillon Drabble from the Arizona League on July 25.

First half standings:

North division

Billings Mustangs (CIN): 18-18 (.500)

Missoula Osprey (ARI): 18-19 (.486)

Helena Brewers (MIL): 15-22 (.405)

Great Falls Voyagers (CWS): 14-23 (.378)

South division

Orem Owlz (LAA): 26-11 (.703)

Ogden Raptors (LAD): 23-15 (.605)

Grand Junction Rockies (COL): 18-20 (.474)

Idaho Falls Chukars (KC): 17-21 (.447)

Owlz chew up Chukars, 13-2

By Luke O’Roark | Post Register | @Lukeoroark
The Owlz have continuously stumped the Chukars all season. Friday night was no different.

Gray (via Chukars media)

Orem downed Idaho Falls 13-2 Friday night at Melaleuca Field behind 11 unanswered runs in the first five frames and strong command on the mound.

The loss puts the Chukars at 17-21. Orem, the best team in the Pioneer League, advances to 26-11.

It was the first time the Chukars allowed 20-plus runs since June 20 against Grand Junction.

And the Owlz almost blanked Chukars, if it wasn’t for Logan Gray. Gray scored after a passed ball by Owlz pitcher Keinner Pina in the bottom of the sixth — the first run scored by the Chukars since Wednesday. Robby Rinn then grounded out to first baseman Jeyson Sanchez, allowing Cristhian Vasquez to reach home.

Orem’s starting pitcher Cole Duensing and defense dominated early and throughout, however, as Duensing struck out two batters and didn’t allow a single hit or run in five frames of work.

The Chukars didn’t register their first hit until after Duensing left the mound and Gray reached second base after a shot to right field off Evan Smith.

The Chukars would finish with just four hits and five total bases.

Against the Owlz, a lack of offense has been a consistent trend this season for the Chukars. They’ve only garnered eight hits in the previous two games against the Owlz, and have scored more than five runs just twice (a 9-7 win against Orem on June 29; a 10-6 loss on June 23) in nine games.

What’s important:

The Chukars continue to struggle against the Owlz, losing 13-2 Friday night. Idaho Falls is 1-8 when its played Orem this season.

Player (s) of the game:

Logan Gray. Gray was the only Chukar to get any luck at the plate Friday. Gray went 2 for 4 and reached home once.

Upnext:

The Chukars return home Saturday for game three of four against the Owlz. First pitch is slated for 7:15 p.m.