Tag: Joel Booker

Chukars blow a 6-0 lead to the Voyagers, lose their fifth straight


The Idaho Falls Chukars’ locker room was nearly silent after Saturday’s game. The few players who spoke whispered, and smiles were absent. Anyone at the game understood why.

The Chukars surrendered an early six-run lead and fell 7-6 to the Great Falls Voyagers on Saturday night at Melaleuca Field. I.F.’s offense disappeared and the defense made crucial mistakes in the team’s fifth straight loss.

Chukars jump ahead early

The Chukars had scored four runs in the three games prior to Saturday’s. They overcame that margin with two swings.

The first came from third baseman Manny Olloque, who launched a 390-foot, three-run home run to left field in the bottom of the first inning. The blast put I.F. ahead 3-0.

Yeison Melo made the second swing, which also delivered a three-run homer. His traveled a few feet to the right of the foul pole in left field and landed 444 feet away from home plate. It put the Chukars up 6-0 through three innings.

On their most recent road trip, the Chukars scored six or more runs in one of their seven games. That was their only win of the trip, an 8-6 victory over the Voyagers.

Dreaded sevens

I.F. nursed a 6-4 lead heading into the seventh inning. Great Falls’ first two hitters of the inning reached base, and they moved to second and third on a Brady Conlan sacrifice bunt. The next hitter, Jameson Fisher, laced a double down the right field line to tie the game at 6-6.

Two innings later, Conlan hit a two-out double and reached third base on an errant throw by left fielder Rudy Martin. With the infield in, Fisher hit a tricky one-hopper to Ricky Aracena. The shortstop couldn’t handle it, and Conlan touched home plate to put the Voyagers up 7-6.

Errors up there

Aracena’s boot in the ninth inning wasn’t ruled an error, but it encapsulated another error-filled game for I.F.

The Chukars committed four errors in the game. Great Falls scored runs after three of them.

The most blatant examples of I.F.’s defensive struggles happened in the top of the fifth inning. Ahead 6-0 with two outs, Olloque whiffed on a simple ground ball that put Joel Booker on first. Booker advanced to third on a wild pitch during the next at-bat, and he scored on a Max Dutto single. Dutto moved up to third during the next at-bat on a wayward pickoff attempt from pitcher Arnaldo Hernandez. Two batters later, Conlan drove in Dutto and Aaron Schnurbusch (who walked) with a double.

The Chukars lead the Pioneer League with 116 errors (2.3 per game) this season. The next closest team in the league is Orem, which has committed 84 errors (1.7 per game).

Players of the game

The Voyagers’ bullpen

Relievers Brandon Magallones, Richard McWilliams and Kevin Escorcia shut down the Chukars for the final five innings. Together, they allowed one hit and one walk while striking out seven.

Great Falls’ bullpen also allowed one hit over four scoreless innings Friday.

Up next

The Chukars (26-25 overall, 4-9 second half) and Voyagers (29-21, 8-4) return to Melaleuca Field Sunday at 4 p.m. I.F.’s Igol Feliz (5.80 ERA) takes on fellow righty Jake Elliott (3.33).

Voyagers hand Chukars first shutout loss


The vaunted Idaho Falls offense was no match for Great Falls starting pitcher Alec Hansen on Friday night in a 12-0 loss at Centene Stadium at Legion Park in Great Falls, Mont.

The Chukars, who entered Friday leading the Pioneer League in runs, hits, doubles and batting average, were limited to one walk in the first and a single in the sixth. That was it. Hansen struck out 11 in six dominating innings.

Tough night

Idaho Falls had lost 18 games entering Friday, but hadn’t experienced a defeat like this all season. It was the Chukars’ first shutout loss (they had been held to one run just twice) and the largest margin of defeat (the previous was a 16-5 loss to Orem on July 8).

While Idaho Falls bats were silent, Great Falls led 4-0 after three innings and put the game away with three runs in the fifth. The Voyagers finished with 15 hits on three Idaho Falls pitchers, including home runs by Joel Booker and Aaron Schnurbusch.

Matt Portland, the losing pitcher in the 16-5 defeat, also took the loss Friday. The lefty allowed five earned runs on six hits with four walks and five strikeouts in 4.1 innings.

Angelo Castellano drew a walk while Luke Willis had the lone hit for the Chukars.

Player of the game

Great Falls starter Alec Hansen

The 6-foot-7, 235-pounder has been overpowering all season, splitting time between the Arizona League (seven innings) and Great Falls. In 20.2 innings entering the night, Hansen had allowed just eight hits and six walks while striking out 32. The second-round pick out of the University of Oklahoma was even better Friday, allowing just one hit and one walk while striking out 11.

Viloria honored

Idaho Falls All-Star catcher Meibrys Viloria was named the Pioneer League Player of the Month for July, the league announced Friday.

Viloria hit .420 in July with eight doubles, two triples and five homers while driving in 28 runs and scoring 24. He leads the league with a .445 average (57 of 128) in 32 games.

Up next

Idaho Falls (25-19, 3-3 second half) and Great Falls (24-19, 3-2) play the third game of a four-game series at 7 p.m. Saturday. Arnaldo Hernandez (4-1, 6.41 ERA) is scheduled to start for the Chukars while Bernardo Flores (2-0, 4.50 ERA) will start for the Voyagers.