By LUKE O’ROARK | @LukeORoark
Friday’s game between the Idaho Falls Chukars and Orem Owlz at Melaleuca Field finished past the Post Register’s deadline, with a 12-10 Owlz lead midway through the eighth inning.
A back-and-forth affair throughout, Friday’s game had six different lead changes, including home runs in the top of the sixth by Tim Millard followed by a two-run homer over the left field scoreboard by Chase Vallot to keep fans engaged late.
The Chukars originally held a four-run lead after the second frame, but that lead quickly vanished after the Owlz tied the game at the top of the third with four runs of their own. Idaho Falls took one more lead with an RBI from Hunter Strong in the bottom of the fifth to Orem shortstop Livan Soto.
That lead was short lived, though, as the Owlz took a three-run lead thanks to Millard’s home run over the center field wall — a lowpoint for the Chukars.
But, in good ol’ Pioneer League fashion, the Chukars responded with a home run of their own when Vallot hit a two-run home run over the video board in the left field.
Strong and Offerman Collado had solid nights at the plate. Strong — including his clutch RBI in the bottom of the fifth — went 2 for 4 with two RBIs as of midway through the eighth. Collado made the most of the No. 2 spot, hitting 3 for 5 with two doubles and two RBIs.
While offense was found often, pitching was not.
Up four runs in the top of the third, the Chukars eventually lost their lead due to poor command from starter Connor Mayes. In 2.2 innings pitched, Mayes allowed six runs (five earned) on five walks. He loaded the bases, and eventually allowed five earned runs on five walks.
Joe Ramirez relieved, working a clean 2.1 innings, but Friday’s game remained a deadlock thanks to two teams that combined for 23 hits as of the Post Register’s deadline.
Jaret Hellinger relieved deep into Friday’s game. He allowed six hits, five runs (four earned) while walking one and striking out two.
The Chukars had the chance to take the lead in the bottom of the seventh after Collado hit a solid double to center-right, but Jesus Antencio was called out on the chest-first slide home for the force out.
The Owlz then took a one-run lead following a Nonie Williams’ RBI-double over the glove of Eaton. Williams went 3 for 4 with three RBIs with two RBIs. Kiki Menendez then line drived to left field to score Millard later in the inning to give the Owlz a two-run lead.
Player(s) of the game
Offerman Collado. The Dominican Republican went 3 for 5 with two doubles Friday. He also hit in two RBIs.
– The Chukars are 10-12 when they commit at least one error. Their first was the top of the first after a fielding error from third baseman Angel Medina.
– The Owlz have been outscored by 114 runs this season — the most in the Pioneer League. They’ve also allowed the most home runs (54).
– Attendance was announced at 3,101, per the organization.
The Chukars return to the road for five games (two at Ogden, three at Orem). The Chukars, who are 10-10 on the road this year, return to Melaleuca Field on Thursday.