OGDEN -- With weather as unpredictable as rookie league baseball, Friday night began with a tarp covering the infield under the threat of thunderstorms and ended with a beautiful night for a ballgame.
The result -- an Orem Owlz 8-4 victory over the Ogden Raptors -- could have been better for Los Angeles Dodgers President and CEO Stan Kasten, but the view at Lindquist Field couldn't have been.
Kasten was making his first visit to see the Raptors, who have been the Dodgers' short-season Class A affiliate in the Pioneer League since 2003.
"I've been with three franchises and been to many, many parks and this is the finest short-season rookie league facility I've ever seen," Kasten said. "This is just great. The facility itself is great, the setting is breathtaking. It's just a great place for the young Dodgers to begin their trip."
The former president of the Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals became a part-owner, president and CEO of the Dodgers when his Guggenheim Partners group, including Magic Johnson, bid a record-setting $2.15 billion for the team in 2012. He was accompanied to Friday's game in Ogden by Dodgers special assistant to the general manager Pat Corrales, a former manager with the Texas Rangers, Philadelphia Phillies and Cleveland Indians.
Kasten has specific goals while making the rounds to visit L.A.'s minor league affiliates.
"I want to talk to the GM, see what he thinks about our people," he said. "I want to see what the facilities are like, what the concessions are like, how it's run and then of course, I want to see the players. But the scouts do most of the looking at players. I just want to talk to the staff, the manager, the coaches; I want to say hi and let them know that we're thinking about them every day. And we do follow it, every day, every night, how they're doing, what happens here."
And Kasten had a prediction about the current Raptors club: "Future members of a world champion Dodger team are right here today and local fans of Ogden need to know that."
Ogden (9-7) is still in the chase for the Pioneer League South first-half title, two games back of Grand Junction.
Trailing Orem by four runs on Friday, Ogden got a second chance when a catcher's interference call against the Owlz with two outs in the bottom of the ninth kept the Raptors alive, loading the bases and bringing the tying run to the plate in Jesus Valdez, last season's Pioneer League leader in RBIs.
Valdez drove a hard-hit ball toward left field, but the Owlz' Mark Shannon tracked it down to end the game with Orem's second-straight win over its in-state rivals.
Jacob Scavuzzo slammed a no-doubt homer into the left field Tar Pit in the sixth inning for Ogden, Joey Curletta went 3 for 4 with a double and Jesmuel Valentin went 2 for 2 and walked twice, but the Raptors didn't have enough offense to counter the Owlz.
Neither team scored in the first two innings and in Ogden manager Damon Berryhill's opinion, neither did in the third either.
Berryhill was ejected immediately after protesting a long fly ball over the right field fence by Michael Shannon. Shannon himself appeared to stop to return to the batter's box on a foul ball before home plate umpire Alex MacKay waved Shannon and base runner Raul Linares around the bases for a 2-0 Orem lead. MacKay was haunted by Raptors fans the rest of the night with chants of "fair ball" in response to any foul ball and vice versa.
Orem tagged on three turns in the fifth, thanks to a Ranyelmy Mendoza double, an Ogden error and an RBI double by Linares. Jose Rondon capped it off with a two-run single. The Owlz were up by five runs before the Raptors scored a pair on Brandon Trinkwon's RBI groundout and Spencer Navin coming home on a wild pitch in the bottom half of the inning.
Ogden starter Scott Barlow lasted 5 2/3 innings, allowing six hits and seven runs while striking out four and walking two, but the Owlz did their damage to Barlow with doubles and two-run homers. Mendoza ended Barlow's night with a two-run shot in the sixth as Barlow (0-2) took the loss.
Owlz right-hander Victor Alcantara (1-3) earned the win by tossing six innings, allowing seven hits and four runs while striking out four and walking four.
Ogden and Orem meet again tonight at 7 p.m. at Lindquist Field in the third game of their four-game set.
RAPTORS NOTES: Tonight's game will not be broadcast on the radio due to a scheduling conflict with the Utah Blaze.