Tag: Dylan Sons

Chukars Notebook: Ogden to host Northwest vs. Pioneer League All-Star Game

Idaho Falls Chukar's Luis Valenzuela makes the tag at third base against Ogden's Jake Henson during Tuesday night's game at Melaleuca Field. (Monte LaOrange / mlaorange@postregister.com)
Idaho Falls Chukar’s Luis Valenzuela makes the tag at third base against Ogden’s Jake Henson during Tuesday night’s game at Melaleuca Field.
(Monte LaOrange / mlaorange@postregister.com)

By VICTOR FLORES
vflores@postregister.com

The inaugural Northwest League vs. Pioneer League All-Star Game does not appear to be the last.

The Ogden Raptors announced near the end of Tuesday’s all-star game that they will host the 2016 game, pending approval from Minor League Baseball. The success of Tuesday’s game, hosted by the Northwest League’s Spokane Indians, led to the decision to play another one next year, this time at a Pioneer League ballpark.

“It will be a big project for us but we will be excited and ready for the game,” Raptors president Dave Baggot said in an article on Ogden’s website.

Ogden could not be reached for comment.

The date and time of next year’s all-star game have not yet been announced. Pioneer League president Jim McCurdy and Northwest League president Mike Ellis will make a joint application for MiLB approval, and Idaho Falls Chukars general manager Kevin Greene hopes the game will be approved in the next few weeks.

“I think what they’re really waiting for is to get feedback from all of the farm directors from all the teams that participated,” Greene said. “Make sure all the farm directors are comfortable with us moving forward and doing this annually.”

As Greene told the Post Register before Tuesday’s all-star game, Ogden was a prime candidate to host next year’s all-star game. The Raptors’ ballpark, Lindquist Field, has a capacity of 6,700 people, making it the largest ballpark in the Pioneer League. Spokane’s Avista Stadium had an attendance of 7,083 for Tuesday’s all-star game.

Other than ballpark size, location was another key factor for Ogden’s all-star game selection. Ogden is about 40 miles north of Salt Lake City, narrowly surpassing Orem as the closest Pioneer League town to an international airport. Ogden’s proximity to Salt Lake’s airport allows Northwest League teams to save time and money compared to the Pioneer League’s seven other venues (Idaho Falls; Orem; Grand Juction, Colo.; Billings, Mont.; Helena, Mont.; Missoula, Mont; Great Falls, Mont.).

Next year’s likely all-star game wouldn’t have been possible if Tuesday’s inaugural game went poorly. It went anything but, according to multiple people at the event. The home run derby was well-done, Greene said, and the capacity crowd was treated to a thrilling 6-5, extra-inning victory by the Northwest League.

“Spokane did such a great job,” Greene said. “Their attention to detail was spot-on. These guys worked very, very hard, and they spent a lot of money to pull it off the way they did. The way it was all put together, you couldn’t have asked for it to be done better.

“I’d hate to be the one to try and follow what they did.”

ROSTER MOVES

On Aug. 2, Chukars’ left-handed pitcher Dylan Sons was placed on the voluntary retirement list. The Chukars could not provide further details, and Sons could not be reached for comment.

Sons, 22, was drafted in the 15th round of the 2012 MLB draft by the Kansas City Royals. In seven starts and 26.2 innings this season for Idaho Falls, Sons had a 10.80 ERA on 14 walks, 21 strikeouts and five home runs.

The Chukars also added a player on Aug. 2. Catcher Luis Lara, 20, was promoted from the Arizona League, where he had a .278 batting average, a .381 on-base percentage and a .278 slugging percentage in 36 at-bats.

Idaho Falls now has four catchers on its active roster.

Lara played his first game in an Chukars uniform on Saturday. He went 2 for 4 at the plate against Helena.

WHO’S HOT?

RHP Josh Staumont

Staumont has been electric since he joined Idaho Falls on July 15, but he was also wild early on. In his first appearance with the Chukars on July 16 against Missoula, Staumont walked five and gave up two earned runs in 0.2 innings. The 21-year-old settled down a bit his next three relief appearances, but he still finished the first half with 11 walks, nine strikeouts and four earned runs in 7.1 innings.

Staumont, a second- round pick by Kansas City in the 2015 MLB draft, has given up one earned run in his 6.2 second half innings (three relief appearances). But more importantly, he’s walked three batters while striking out 11. Staumont’s fastball has hit 100-plus miles per hour on several occasions, as well.

WHO’S NOT?

1B Josh Banuelos

It’s not easy to find a struggling player on a team that’s won eight consecutive games, and hardly any Chukar is currently slumping. But compared to his hot start, Banuelos fits that bill.

Banuelos’ batting average was .361 before Idaho Falls’ game against Orem on July 23. He’s gone 12 for 44 (.273) since, dropping his season average to .337.

Perhaps most concerning for Banuelos are his walks, or lack thereof. He’s drawn two walks since July 20, leading to a 35-point drop in his on-base percentage.

Banuelos, a 2015 Pioneer League all-star, missed four games last week due to a bone bruise in his hand.

Fourth inning derails Chukars in 10-4 loss to Orem

The Idaho Falls Chukars looked like they’d weather another shaky start from left-handed pitcher Dylan Sons.

Drew Milligan was excellent in relief of Sons, preserving a 3-3 lead headed into the fourth inning.

But fellow lefty Tripp Davis couldn’t replicate Milligan’s success, and the defense committed two errors, resulting in a seven-run fourth inning for Orem. That’s all the Owlz would need in a 10-4 win Friday night at Brent Brown Ballpark.

The Chukars scored first, plating two on doubles from left fielder Roman Collins and right fielder Amalani Fukofuka, who drove in both runs.

But Sons had another poor first inning, only this time, he didn’t advance to the second. Sons gave up three runs (all earned) on one hit and two walks by the time he was replaced by Milligan with two outs in the opening frame. Sons had gone at least three innings in his previous six starts.

In six of his seven starts this season, Sons has given up at least one run in the first inning. He’s allowed an average of 2.14 runs in the opening frame. His season ERA is now 10.80 on 53 hits, 14 walks and 21 strikeouts in 26.2 innings pitched.

The Chukars tied the game in the second inning. Second baseman Jeckson Flores reached on a fielder’s choice, stole his ninth base of the season and scored on a single by center fielder Cody Jones, who went 3 for 4 on the night.

The side-armer Davis relieved Milligan to start the fourth. Davis gave up a run early, but he got two outs with a runner on third. The next five batters he faced: walk, single, double, single, single. Four runs scored in that span, and Davis was relieved by right-hander Brian Bayliss.

Two more runs scored off errors by shortstop Marten Gasparini (who leads the Pioneer League with 15 errors) and Flores, completing Idaho Falls’ miserable fourth.

Milligan, Bayliss and lefty Matt Portland combined to throw 6.2 scoreless innings on six hits, two walks (both by Milligan) and six strikeouts. Portland didn’t allow a baserunner in his 2.1 innings pitched.

Fukofuka went 2 for 3 with a walk, Logan Nottebrok went 2 for 4 and Gasparini went 1 for 4 with a triple.

The Chukars (12-22) face the Owlz (22-13) in the third game of their-four game series tonight at 7:15 p.m.

Great Falls snaps Chukars’ three-game winning streak

By VICTOR FLORES
vflores@postregister.com

The Idaho Falls Chukars had a chance to extend their winning streak to a season-high four games Saturday.

The Great Falls Voyagers stifled any hopes, and they put the Chukars on the brink of first half elimination from the Pioneer League South Division title.

Great Falls jumped all over Idaho Falls’ pitching for a 13-6 win Saturday night at Melaleuca Field. The Chukars (10-20) are now one loss, or one Orem Owlz win, away from first half elimination.

“This setting with the short season, 30 games goes pretty quick,” Chukars manager Justin Gemoll said. “You don’t have a chance to go through any kind of bad spell as you would in a major league season, 162 games. But our guys are battling hard and I’m happy with how they’re playing.”

Chukars starting pitcher Dylan Sons began his appearance on fire, striking out the first two batters on seven pitches. But he gave up three straight hits, including a two-run home run to designated hitter Zach Fish.

Sons pitched scoreless second and third innings but ran into a wall in the fourth. Five hits and two walks led to five runs for Great Falls, and it forced Sons out of the game.

Sons has now given up at least four earned runs in five of his six starts this season, increasing his ERA to 10.73.

“They succeeded on my mistakes,” Sons said. “Just getting a little out of my delivery, leaving the ball up, not commanding the strike zone.”

The Voyagers scored six more runs off reliever Brian Bayliss, whose ERA is now 10.22.

Second baseman DJ Burt continued his quiet hot streak. He’s still hitting below .200 (.194, to be exact), where he’s been all season, and he’s gotten five hits in his last 28 at-bats (.179 batting average). But he’s drawn nine walks in that span, giving him 19 on the season (third most in the Pioneer League).

“He’s made some big adjustments over the last three weeks,” Gemoll said. “The other night, he drew three walks and scored four runs. That’s the kind of player he’s gonna have to be at the higher levels.”

Burt, selected by Kansas City in the fourth round of the 2014 MLB draft, walked and hit an RBI single on Saturday to add to his .336 on-base percentage going into the night.

“I’m seeing the ball better now and just being more selective,” Burt said.

Despite the slow start to the season, Gemoll said he’s comfortable 30 games into his first year as the Chukars manager.

First baseman Josh Banuelos drew two walks, but Chukar fans will remember his 447-foot two-run home run to left field in the bottom of the sixth.

Left fielder Roman Collins went 2 for 4 with a double.

“The kids are having a good time, they’re learning and they’re getting after it,” Gemoll said.

The Chukars host the Voyagers (15-11) today at 4 p.m.

Chukars squander early lead, fall 8-3 to Missoula

The Idaho Falls Chukars’ 2-0 first inning lead disappeared in a flash, and they couldn’t recover, falling 8-3 to the Missoula Osprey at Ogren Park on Friday night.

The Chukars (7-16) have now lost 9 of their last 12 games.

Idaho Falls came out firing, executing a double steal with right fielder Amalani Fukofuka and center fielder Cody Jones that allowed Jones to score. First baseman Josh Banuelos drove in Fukofuka shortly after the steal.

But Missoula came charging back, scoring once in the first and two in the second on a throwing error by Marten Gasparini.

The Osprey never trailed after the second.

The struggles for Chukars’ starting pitcher Dylan Sons reached their boiling point in the bottom of the third, when he allowed a three-run home run to Matt Jones and a two-run home run to Nic Coffman.

In his three innings of work, Sons gave up all eight runs (seven earned) on eight hits, two walks and zero strikeouts. His season ERA is now 9.67, second-worst on the team behind Thursday’s starter Hunter Haynes (11.50 ERA).

After scoring once in the sixth, the Chukars loaded the bases with one out in the ninth. But back-to-back strikeouts by shortstop Gasparini (1 for 5 with a double) and Fukofuka (1 for 5 with four strikeouts) ended the threat and summed up Idaho Falls’ night at the plate.

The Chukars struck out 13 times and left nine runners on base.

Chukars catcher Kyle Pollock (1 for 4) said fatigue from their now-seven game road trip might be setting in.

“Maybe more mentally than physically,” Pollock said, via Chukars’ broadcaster Alex Cohen. “On these long road trips, it gets pretty easy to forget where your home is.”

Jones went 1 for 3 with two walks, Banuelos went 2 for 4 and designated hitter Nick Dini went 1 for 3 with a double and a walk. Fukofuka extended his hitting streak to 10 games, tying Alexis Rivera (now with Lexington Legends) for the longest hit streak by a Chukar this season.

Idaho Falls relievers Cruz Guevara and Alberto Rodriguez pitched five scoreless innings. The Chukars’ bullpen has now gone 25 straight innings without allowing an earned run.

The Chukars and the Osprey (12-9) return to Ogren Park tonight at 7:05.

Strong pitching lifts Chukars 4-2 over Orem

By VICTOR FLORES
vflores@postregister.com

A win’s a win, especially for the struggling Idaho Falls Chukars. But no one in pinstripes wanted to see another poor pitching performance, even in victory.

They didn’t.

Led by starting pitcher Derek Gordon, the Chukars (6-13) got a 4-2 win over the first-place Orem Owlz (13-6) on Monday at Melaleuca Field, preventing an Owlz sweep.

Gordon.
Gordon.

“You could tell pre-game, there was a different feeling in the clubhouse,” said Gordon, the younger brother of Kansas City Royals’ All-Star Alex Gordon. “When you go out with the feeling that you’re going to win, it’s tough to lose.”

Before Monday, a Chukars pitcher had gone 5.2 innings or more only three times this season.

Gordon made that four.

Gordon, who lasted

5.2 innings on June 26 against Grand Junction, gave up two hits Monday in his fourth start of the season. The right-hander gave up two runs (one earned) on three walks and seven strikeouts. That’s the most strikeouts by any Idaho Falls pitcher in a single game this season.

“I felt more comfortable on the mound tonight than I have this season,” Gordon said. “I was locating my pitches all night.”

Milligan
Milligan

Stephen Milligan arguably pitched better than Gordon in his 3.1 relief innings. The left-hander gave up zero runs on two hits, a walk and three strikeouts.

At the plate, center fielder Cody Jones continued his hot start. Jones, who joined Idaho Falls on Saturday after a week in Arizona, went 3 for 4 with two doubles and two RBIs on Monday. He’s now 7 for 13 in three games.

Catcher Pedro Gonzalez went 3 for 4 with a double, and Jeckson Flores went 2 for 3.

Other than their 2-0 loss to Grand Junction on June 26, this was the Chukars’ lowest-scoring game of the season.

“They’re going to need to learn to play in these types of games,” Chukars manager Justin Gemoll said. “So, it’s good for us to have a close game every once in a while.”

The Chukars travel to Great Falls for a three-game series starting tonight at 7.

Sunday’s loss

On Sunday, the Chukars fell behind 5-0 after four innings and never recovered in an 8-5 loss to Orem.

Starting pitcher Dylan Sons went 5 innings, allowing five runs (four earned) on seven hits, two walks and five strikeouts.

1-2-3 hitters Cody Jones, DJ Burt and Josh Banuelos each went 2 for 4 with a walk, with Banuelos adding three RBIs.

Roster shakeup

Three Chukars were promoted to Single-A Lexington after Sunday’s 8-5 loss to Orem — outfielder/first baseman Alexis Rivera and left-handed pitchers Brennan Henry and Eric Stout.

Rivera played for Idaho Falls for parts of each of the last three seasons. He exited Idaho Falls with a .362 batting average and Pioneer League-highs in home runs (seven) and walks (17) in 69 at-bats.

Henry transferred from Lexington to Idaho Falls on June 22. He made four relief appearances for the Chukars, posting a 1.69 ERA in 5.1 innings.

Stout joined the Chukars on June 29 and made one start, giving up three runs (one earned) on five strikeouts and no walks.

“We’re trying to develop players and get them better so we can push them up the system,” Gemoll said. “For us as coaches, we’re real happy anytime that happens.”

These three players will join former Chukars’ infielder Luis Valenzuela, who moved from Idaho Falls to Lexington on July 2.

Former Chukar joins Royals

On Monday, the Kansas City Royals called former Chukar Cheslor Cuthbert. The infielder replaced fellow former Chukar Mike Moustakas, who was placed on the family emergency/bereavement list after leaving the team Sunday for a family emergency, according to the Kansas City Star.

Cuthbert, 22, played one season for the Chukars as a 17-year-old in 2010. The infielder played 14 games for Idaho Falls, hitting .233 with two home runs in 64 plate appearances.

Cuthbert (.256 in 76 games for Triple-A Omaha this season) was set to make his MLB debut Monday against the Tampa Bay Rays starting at third base and batting eighth, but the game was postponed due to tornado warnings.

Eight-run seventh not enough for Chukars

An eight-run seventh inning that erased an early deficit wasn’t enough for the Idaho Falls Chukars in the final game of a four-game series Thursday in Ogden, Utah.

The Ogden Raptors (3-5) scored four runs in the bottom of the seventh to retake the lead and pull away, handing the Chukars an 11-8 loss to split the series before 3,053 fans at Lindquist Field.

Solid pitching by the Raptors and errors put the Chukars (3-5) in a big deficit early. Ogden roughed up Idaho Falls starting pitcher Dylan Sons with back-to-back singles, a walk and an error to start to the bottom of the first, and the inning ended with a 3-0 Raptors lead.

Ogden tacked on runs in the next three innings to increase the lead to 7-0 while Raptors starting pitcher Jairo Pacheco held the Chukars to two hits through the fourth inning.

After being held to three hits through the first six innings, I.F. batted around in the top of the seventh. Luis Valenzuela hit a bases-loaded, one-out double to score Nick Dini and Ryan Dale. Two batters later, Valenzuela came home off a single from Alexis Rivera to cut Ogden’s lead to 7-3.

Returning to the top of the order, Brawlun Gomez went to bat for the second time in the inning and jacked a two-out grand slam to put the Chukars ahead 8-7.

Ogden continued the hit parade in the bottom of the seventh, as Yensys Capellan and Matt Jones scored with one out to retake a 9-8 lead. A two-out, two-RBI single by Matt Beaty drove in Kyle Garlick and
Garrett Kennedy for the eventual final runs of the game and Nick Dean was caught stealing home to end the seventh with a combined 10 hits and 12 runs.

The score remained unchanged through the eighth and ninth as pitchers locked down and the teams combined for one hit.

Gomez went 1 for 5 with a grand slam and four RBIs, Valenzuela went 2 for 5 with a double, two RBIs and a stolen base and Amalani Fukofuka went 2 for 4 with a double and a stolen base for the Chukars.

Brian Bayliss, I.F.’s third pitcher of the night, took the loss, giving up four runs on three hits while walking two and striking out none in 0.2 innings.

The Chukars continue their road trip tonight by beginning a four-game stand at Grand Junction, Colo. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.