Tag: Jason Freeman

Chukars’ playoff hopes end a with loss in 10th at Ogden


A season of near-misses and just plain miscues were summed up perfectly in Monday’s 10-9 loss to the Orem Owlz.

Idaho Falls repeatedly grabbed the lead only to give it back with sloppy defense and pitching, eventually coughing up a one-run lead in the bottom of the 10th inning to fall 10-9 to the Owlz and end their playoff hopes. Idaho Falls was eliminated with three games remaining in the regular season.

Blown chances

Idaho Falls held leads of 5-1, 6-5, 8-6 and finally 9-8, but gave up the advantage each time.

The last two innings were particularly painful. The Chukars scored twice in the top of the ninth to take an 8-6 lead, sparked by RBI singles from Nick Dini and Ryan Dale. But the Owlz answered with two in the bottom of the ninth, with runs scoring on a bases-loaded walk and a wild pitch.

Idaho Falls once again took the lead in the top of the 10th, loading the bases with nobody out before Luke Willis grounded into a double play that plated a run. But Orem had a final answer, getting back-to-back one-out doubles from L.J. Kalawaia and Cody Ramer and a game-ending single from Nick Flair.

The Chukars got a good start from Matt Portland, who didn’t make it out of the first inning in his last start. The left-hander allowed three runs (two earned) on five hits with two walks and six strikeouts.

And the I.F. offense, which has struggled in the second half, pounded out 19 hits and drew three walks. But only four of those hits went for extra bases, and the Chukars stranded 11 runners on base while going 7 for 21 with runners in scoring position.

The Chukars fell to 2-5 in extra-inning games this season, going 0-5 on the road and 2-0 at home. I.F. fell to 5-13 on the road in the second half and 12-25 overall.

Player of the game

Idaho Falls right fielder Yeison Melo

Melo mashed Orem pitching Monday, going 5 for 6 with two doubles and three runs. He pushed his season batting average to. 326.

Up next

Idaho Falls finishes its road schedule today with a game against Orem at 7:05 p.m. The teams then head north on I15 to complete the regular season with games at Melaleuca Field on Wednesday and Thursday. First pitch both nights is scheduled for 7:15 p.m. There will be fireworks following the final game Thursday.

Sunday’s game

CHUKARS 8, RAPTORS 7: At Ogden, Utah, Idaho Falls scored four times in the top of the ninth inning and rallied for a season-saving victory at Lindquist Field.

Ogden led 7-4 entering the ninth, but Idaho Falls scored four times with the help of two Raptors’ errors. Jordan Ebert reachedon a error to lead off and Rudy Martin followed with a double. Nick Heath drove in the first run with a single to center.

After a pitching change, the Chukars pulled out a double steal, with Martin coming home and Heath moving to second. After Ricky Aracena’s fielder’s choice wiped out Heath, Meibrys Viloria reached on second error. Joe Dudek brought Aracena home with a looper to center, and Manny Olloque drove in the winning run with a sac fly to right.

Jason Freeman pitched a perfect ninth to close out the win.

Olloque led the Chukars, going 2 for 4 with his seventh homer of the year. Martin was also 2 for 4 with his second homer.

Bats come alive in Chukars’ 18-7 win


The Idaho Falls Chukars took out a month’s worth of frustration Monday night at Melaleuca Field.

The Chukars, winners of just eight games in August entering Monday, used an eight-run seventh inning and 21 hits overall to crush the Ogden Raptors 18-7 in front of 1,424 fans. The win, combined with Grand Junction’s 12-inning loss to Orem, left Idaho Falls three games back in the Pioneer League South Division second-half standings with 10 games left in the regular season.

Who needs defense?

Idaho Falls kicked the ball around early Monday, committing four errors and pushing their season total to a league-high 151. Those miscues, along with 15 Ogden hits, led to plenty of runs, but they weren’t enough to overcome the Chukars’ relentless offense.

Idaho Falls matched its season high for runs and fell two hits short of its season-best total of 23. All nine Chukars batters had a hit, with all but Manny Olloque and Ryan Dale getting at least two knocks.

Even with all that offense this was a close game entering the seventh. Idaho Falls briefly lost its lead in the top of the fourth, but scored four runs in the bottom of the fourth and single runs in the fifth and sixth to go ahead 9-7. Then the Chukars went crazy in the seventh, riding 10 hits and two errors to score eight runs and put the game away.

Idaho Falls reliever Jason Freeman was an overlooked hero Monday. The right-hander entered with two outs in the fifth and worked the next three innings, allowing four hits but no runs while striking out six.

Meibrys Viloria was one of many offensive heroes, going 3 for 5 with two doubles, two runs and four RBIs. Viloria needs just four doubles to tie the Pioneer League single-season record. Angelo Castellano and Nick Heath each had two runs and three RBIs.

Player of the game

Chukars second baseman Angelo Castellano

Castellano entered the game on a day off, and he looked plenty rested. The right-handed hitter went 4 for 4 with a triple, two runs and three RBIs to push his season average to .284.

Up next

The Chukars and Raptors play the third game of their four-game series today, with Matt Portland (4-3, 5.57 ERA) scheduled to start for Idaho Falls.

Sunday’s game

CHUKARS 2, RAPTORS 1: Idaho Falls got a dominating start from Andres Machado and a game-winning hit from Yeison Melo in the bottom of the eighth to earn a win over Ogden in front of 1,352 fans at Melaleuca Field.

Machado was overpowering from the start, striking out six of the first nine batters he faced, finishing with nine over six shutout innings. He allowed just a harmless single in the fourth.

Melo gave the Chukars a 1-0 lead in the fourth with a solo homer, his fifth of the season. But the Raptors tied the game in the top of the eighth with a solo homer from Brock Carpenter.

Idaho Falls quickly regained the lead, getting a leadoff walk from Manny Olloque and a fielder’s choice from Meibrys Viloria. Joe Dudek followed with a groundout, pushing Viloria to second. Melo then singled to deep short and Viloria raced home with the go-ahead run.

Melo finished 3 for 4. Richard Lovelady got the final three outs to earn his third save.

Mustangs rough up Chukars 12-5


The crowd at Melaleuca Field has seen plenty of offense from the Idaho Falls Chukars in 2016. But they haven’t seen anything more impressive than the offensive showing the Billings Mustangs displayed Monday night.

Billings pounded out 21 hits and held off two Idaho Falls rallies to beat the Chukars 12-5 in front of 3,290 fans in a game that lasted 3 hours, 22 minutes.

It was the sixth loss in seven games for Idaho Falls, which remained three games behind Grand Junction in the Pioneer League South Division second-half standings.

Whatever you can do

Billings grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the first on a leadoff triple by TJ Friedl and an RBI single from Taylor Trammell. The score remained stuck at 1-0 until the bottom of the fifth, when Idaho Falls bats held to one hit up to that point finally came to life.

Nick Heath got things started with a leadoff single and then stole second. He moved to third on a single from Luke Willis. With Ricky Aracena batting, Heath came home on a passed ball. Manny Olloque gave Idaho Falls the lead with a swinging bunt to third.

Billings didn’t take long to answer, scoring four runs on five hits against reliever Drew Milligan. The momentum from a solid start by Andres Machado (five innings, six hits, one earned run, five strikeouts) and the mini rally in the fifth was gone.

The Mustangs tacked on three runs in the seventh in what looked like insurance runs at the time. But Idaho Falls scored three runs on four hits to make it a game.

It wasn’t a game for long. Billings put the game out of reach after the first two hitters struck out, scoring four runs on five hits.

Idaho Falls went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the ninth.

No relief

It was a tough night for the Idaho Falls bullpen. Milligan picked up a blown save and the loss after the rough sixth inning, while Jason Freeman allowed seven runs (six earned) on 10 hits in 2.2 innings. Cole Way walked one and struck out one in 0.1 innings.

Player of the game

The entire Billings lineup

There’s no way to pick one player for the Mustangs, who got a hit from every player in the lineup. Cassidy Brown led the way with four hits, while Jose Siri, Taylor Trammell, Hector Vargas and John Sansone each had three. Trammell, Montrell Marshall, Sansone and Morgan Lofstrom each had two RBIs.

Up next

The Mustangs (33-19, 10-4 second half) and Chukars (27-26, 5-10) play the second game of their four-game series tonight at Melaleuca Field. First pitch is scheduled for 7:15 p.m.

Sunday’s game

CHUKARS 7, VOYAGERS 3: Idaho Falls snapped a unsightly five-game losing streak, thanks to a strong start from Igol Feliz and a five-run second inning.

Feliz pitched in and out of trouble during his seven innings, allowing nine hits but not allowing a walk and limiting Great Falls to two earned runs.

And the offense, which had averaged just 2.8 runs during the five-game skid, belted five doubles and 11 hits total. Designated hitter Joe Dudek led the way, going 3 for 4 with two doubles, a run and two RBIs. Luke Willis, Angelo Castellano and Ryan Dale also had two-baggers.

And the defense, which leads the league in errors, didn’t have a miscue and turned one double play.

Chukars fall apart late, lose to Helena 8-7

Chukars shortstop Ricky Aracena turns a double play in the bottom of the second inning against the Helena Brewers Friday at Kindrick Legion Field. (Courtesy of Steve Thayer)
Chukars shortstop Ricky Aracena turns a double play in the bottom of the second inning against the Helena Brewers Friday at Kindrick Legion Field. (Courtesy of Steve Thayer)

For seven innings, the Idaho Falls Chukars looked liked they’d earn a clean, low-scoring win. But their bad habits returned in the final three frames.

I.F. surrendered a five-run lead and lost 8-7 in 10 innings to the Helena Brewers on Friday at Kindrick Legion Field. The Chukars are now 4-10 on the road and 4-8 in one-run games (1-7 in one-run games on the road).

Bullpen, defense blow it

Matt Portland had his longest, most effective start of the season Friday. And he became a footnote.

The Chukars left-hander went 6.1 innings, allowing one earned run on six hits with three walks and six strikeouts. I.F. led 6-2 when he exited the game.

Portland’s replacement, Nicholas Andros, gave up a three-run home run in the bottom of the eighth. A lead that was 6-1 after the top of the seventh had shrunk to one.

An I.F. run in the top of the ninth calmed the tide, and Jason Freeman recorded two outs with a runner on second base in the bottom half. That runner reached base on a Ricky Aracena error an omen for that inning.

Aracena committed a throwing error at shortstop on the next play. The subsequent batter, Gilbert Lara, hit a fly ball to center fielder Rudy Martin. He dropped it, allowing a run to score and giving Helena runners at second and third.

Drew Milligan relieved Freeman and walked the first batter he faced to load the bases. The second batter, Weston Wilson, lined a single to left field. The game seemed finished, but Nick Heath fired a perfect throw home to punch out Lara and send the game to extra innings tied 7-7.

Heath’s heroics were short-lived. In the bottom of the 10th, Ronnie Gideon hit a one-out double and advanced to third base on a Heath error. Nathan Rodriguez came up next and lined a single right in front of Heath to end the game.

The Chukars committed one error going into the ninth inning. They finished the game with five errors.

Patient birds

Other than Portland, the main bright spot for I.F. on Friday was its plate discipline.

The Chukars drew eight walks, including five in the second inning. Those five bases on balls and an Aracena double led to a four-run inning.

Eight is the second-most walks I.F. has drawn in a game this season. The Chukars walked nine times against Ogden in the season-opener.

Player of the game

Brewers first baseman Ronnie Gideon

Several Helena batters had big games, but only Gideon reached base four times. He went 3 for 4 with a double and a walk.

Up next

The Chukars (19-14) and Brewers (13-20) reconvene at Kindrick Legion Field at 7:05 p.m. Saturday. I.F. righty Arnaldo Hernandez is scheduled to start against Helena lefty Cameron Roegner.

Chukars claw back but lose heartbreaker to Osprey

Missoula catcher Andy Yerzy tags out Manny Olloque for the second out of the ninth inning Saturday at Melaleuca Field. The play preserved Missoula’s 12-11 lead, and the Osprey closed the game out a batter later. (Courtesy of Steve Thayer)
Missoula catcher Andy Yerzy tags out Manny Olloque for the second out of the ninth inning Saturday at Melaleuca Field. The play preserved Missoula’s 12-11 lead, and the Osprey closed the game out a batter later. (Courtesy of Steve Thayer)

With one throw, Meibrys Viloria went from hero to afterthought.

The new hero was Missoula Osprey center fielder Billy Endris, who made a game-saving throw in the ninth inning. Missoula prevailed 12-11 over the Idaho Falls Chukars thanks in large part to Endris’ throw, but it was hardly the only momentous play of Saturday’s game at Melaleuca Field.

Billy’s got a gun

Manny Olloque led off the bottom of the ninth inning with an infield single and moved to second on a Yeison Melo bunt. Viloria, the Pioneer League’s best hitter this season, came up next and smacked a single up the middle. Chukars manager Justin Gemoll waved Olloque home.

Endris scooped up the sharp single, gathered and fired a perfect one-hopper to catcher Andy Yerzy. The play was close, but Yerzy clearly tagged Olloque before the Chukars third baseman touched home plate.

Missoula exhaled an at-bat later when David Edwards flew out to left field to end the game.

Chukars refuse to die

As thrilling as Endris’ throw was, Missoula’s pitching staff is kicking itself for letting the game come down to that play.

The Osprey took a 5-2 lead through four innings, an 8-4 lead in the top of the sixth and an 11-7 lead in the middle of the eighth. They were frankly outplaying the Chukars in every area, but I.F. kept lingering due to its explosive bats. In the bottom of the eighth, the Chukars pounced.

I.F. was down 11-8 with two outs and runners on the corners when Rudy Martin stepped to the plate. In an 0-1 count, the left-handed Martin drove a fastball the opposite way. It carried all the way to the video board, 381 feet away, for a game-tying home run. It was Martin’s first home run this season and his second in his two-year minor league career.

Wild night

Chukars reliever Jason Freeman threw three wild pitches Saturday night, and one too many.

In the top of the ninth, Freeman allowed a leadoff double to Eudy Ramos, who reached third base with two outs. With Logan Soole batting, Freeman threw a wild pitch that allowed Ramos to score easily.

The run turned out to be the game-winner.

Player of the game

Osprey first baseman Tanner Hill

In a game full of home runs, Hill is an easy choice for this award. The 6-foot-2, 250-pounder hit two home runs, the first of his 15 game-old professional career. He added a double and a single to finish 4 for 4.

Up next

The Chukars (16-12) and Osprey (12-16) reconvene at Melaleuca Field on Sunday at 4 p.m. Igol Feliz is scheduled to get the start against fellow righty Connor Grey.

Ogden rallies, walks off against Chukars


For the second straight night, the Idaho Falls Chukars lost in walk-off fashion.

I.F. watched the Grand Junction Rockies celebrate a 6-5 win in 10 innings Monday night. On Tuesday night at Lindquist Field, the Ogden Raptors rallied in the bottom of the ninth to snatch a 12-11 victory away from the Chukars.

Fateful ninth inning

The Chukars led 11-9 going into the ninth and had a perfect opportunity to add insurance by putting runners on first and third base with nobody out. First baseman Ryan Dale hit a comebacker to the pitcher, who threw to third base to tag out Angelo Castellano. Chukars center fielder Nick Heath tried to reach third during the rundown with Castellano, but he was also tagged out. I.F.’s threat ended there.

I.F. inserted right-hander Jason Freeman in the ninth for a save attempt. He allowed four straight singles with one out, and the Raptors tied the game.

With runners at first and third and still one out, Ogden second baseman Will Smith hit a ground ball to Castellano at second base. Castellano flipped to Ricky Aracena for the first out at second, but Aracena’s throw to first was off target. The runner at third scored as a result, and the Raptors walked off.

Relentless Chukars offense

Ogden scored four in bottom of the second to take a 5-2 lead. I.F. tied it up the next inning. The Raptors answered with a three-run bottom of the third and led 9-6 after four.

Ogden went cold until the ninth, while the Chukars kept rolling. They scored once in each of the fifth, sixth and seventh innings and twice in the eighth to take an 11-9 lead.

Hernandez struggles again

Chukars right-hander Arnaldo Hernandez started the season in ideal fashion. He allowed one earned run on three hits, five strikeouts and no walks in five innings against these very Raptors.

Hernandez labored through 4.2 innings against Orem on Thursday, allowing four earned runs on 10 hits with a walk and a strikeout.

The negative trend continued Tuesday.

Hernandez still threw strikes (42 compared to 22 balls), but the Raptors crushed them. Hernandez


lasted three innings, allowing eight earned runs on nine hits. His ERA is now 9.24.

Player of the game

Chukars center fielder Nick Heath

This could easily go to I.F. left fielder Tanner Stanley, who went 3 for 6 with a solo home run and a triple. But Heath reached base one more time than Stanley, and two of his hits went for extra bases (a two-run home run and an RBI double).

Heath finished 3 for 4 with a walk, a stolen base, two runs scored and three RBIs.

Up next

The Chukars (6-5) wrap up their five-day road trip and their two-game series with Ogden (2-9) at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

Owlz hand Chukars first loss of 2016 season


The Idaho Falls Chukars dropped their first game of the 2016 season, falling 8-5 to the Orem Owlz in front of a crowd of 2,346 fans Monday night at Melaleuca Field.

The Chukars gave up four runs in the top of the first inning and never recovered, though the they made it close late.

Tough start

Idaho Falls was rarely challenged in its season-opening two-game sweep of Ogden, but that changed quickly Monday. The Owlz loaded the bases with one out (single, hit by pitch and a single by former BYU standout Brennon Lund) before Torres roped a double to left-center that made its way to the wall, scoring all three baserunners. Torres then came around on an error by first baseman Brandon Dulin to make it 4-0.

The Chukars cut the deficit in half in the bottom of the first on an RBI single from Dulin and an RBI fielder’s choice from David Edwards, but that was as close as Idaho Falls would get.

Orem scored single runs in the second, third and fourth off Idaho Falls starter Andres Machado (four innings, nine hits, six earned runs, one strikeout) and another on Nick Flair’s homer off Jason Freeman to lead off the fifth.

Big arms

Orem’s four pitchers looked like they belonged in a huddle rather than on the mound Monday.

The Owlz opened with 6-foot-5, 224-pound right-hander Crusito Mieses, who allowed two runs on seven hits while striking out four in five innings. He was followed by 6-4, 250-pound lefty Ariel Ovando, who worked a perfect sixth inning. Next up was 6-5, 240-pound righty Blake Smith, who allowed a run on a hit with one walk and one strikeout in one inning.

Ty Barkell, a 6-3, 225-pound righty, closed it out despite giving up two runs on two hits and four strikeouts in two innings.

All four Orem pitchers touched at least 90 on the radar gun.

Big hitters

Brandon Dulin and Meibrys Viloria had big nights for the Chukars in defeat, combining for five hits and two runs. Dulin, who homered Saturday, went 2 for 4 with a run to increase his season average to .385. And Viloria went 3 for 4 with two doubles and a run scored.

The Chukars finished with 10 hits.

Player of the game

Owlz third baseman Franklin Torres

The 19-year-old from Maracay, Venezuela, had a night, going 3 for 5 with a double, two runs scored and three RBIs. His three-run double in Orem’s four-run first set the tone, and he added two singles. Torres made two throwing errors, but he also made two tough plays in the field.

Up next

The Chukars and Owlz return to Melaleuca Field on Tuesday in the second game of the four-game series. First pitch is 7:15 p.m. Nate Bertness is scheduled to start for Orem while Alex Luna is set to take the mound for Idaho Falls.