Ogden Raptors rally, beat Missoula 9-8 in walk-off victory; Raptors boast league hitting leaders
OGDEN — Though the Raptors showed more of an offensive threat early in Friday’s series finale against the Missoula Paddleheads, it looked like it would ultimately be more of the same and a three-game sweep for the visitors a Lindquist Field.
Instead, Ogden rallied and won 9-8 when Josh Broughton scored on a wild pitch in the bottom of the ninth, completing a comeback win and leaving both Pioneer League division leaders with a 19-5 record.
The Raptors move on to a three-game set against the Boise Hawks at 7 p.m. Saturday, 4 p.m. Sunday and 7 p.m. Monday. Ogden leads the South Division by 10 games.
Pavin Parks, otherwise Ogden’s everyday shortstop, made his first pitching start of the season Friday as the Raptors deal with the sudden signing of Cole Stringer into affiliated ball. Two hits and a walk set up Missoula first baseman Nick Gatewood to drive in two with a single for a 2-0 lead.
The Raptors loaded the bases in the bottom of the first but only got a sac fly from Nick Michaels to cut it to 2-1.
The Paddleheads scored two more in the third on a wild pitch and an RBI single to make it 4-1. Michaels hit a screaming, line-drive home run to left in the fourth to bring Ogden back within one at 4-3.
It felt like a repeat of the first two games when Missoula left fielder Jared Akins hit a two-run homer to make it 7-3 in the top of the fifth.
But the Raptors answered in the bottom of the fifth and brought life to Lindquist Field as the sun set on the mountains.
Broughton hit his second triple of the series to score Keone Givens, then Michaels drove in his fourth run of the night, scoring Broughton on a single, to make it 7-5.
Raul Shah doubled to score two more and tie it at 7-7.
In the sixth, the speedster Givens dropped down a bunt single to load the bases with no outs. Jakob Goldfarb hit a deep sacrifice fly to score Owen Taylor for an 8-7 lead, but the Raptors couldn’t add more.
That set up a wild top of the eighth that saw Missoula load the bases with no outs, leading to two apparent missed calls at the plate.
Ogden’s Reza Aleaziz threw a wild pitch on a swinging strikeout of Kyler Castillo. Catcher Niko Pacheco pounced on the ball as it dribbled away and all three Paddleheads runners hit the brakes. Dean Nevarez was caught in the middle well off second base, so Pacheco’s throw went to second.
Ogden shortstop Andy Armstrong briefly gave Nevarez chase, then threw home when Gatewood broke back for the plate from third. Pacheco dropped the throw as Gatewood arrived near home, but Gatewood never touched the plate. Pacheco picked up the ball and tagged Gatewood, but he was ruled safe and the game was tied 8-8.
With one out, the next batter, Cameron Thompson, flew out to Givens in right field. Givens fired a strong, one-hop throw home but Nevarez seemed to clearly beat the throw tagging from third and sliding in safely. But he was called out, ending the inning.
Dylan Pearce got those two outs on the mound, plus a quick, 1-2-3 ninth to get the win.
Dazon Cole took the mound for Missoula in the bottom of the ninth and did not record an out. Broughton led off with an infield single, a tapper in front of the plate that nobody could get to in a timely manner.
David Maberry was hit by a pitch for the second time in the game and the 12th time in 14 games, then Michaels drew a walk.
Then, Cole’s first pitch to Shah was wide and Broughton sprinted home to a win and a celebration.
Broughton entered the game leading the Pioneer League in batting average, hit 3 for 5 with a triple to raise his average to .493 — and now does not lead the league in batting.
That’s because Maberry, Ogden’s burly designated hitter, hit 1 for 2 (he reached base four times) and reached the minimum qualifying mark of 2.7 plate appearances per the total number of his team’s games. Maberry is hitting .553 (with an on-base percentage of .676) after his in-season signing.
Goldfarb leads the league in home runs with seven, and Parks, who didn’t hit Friday because of his start on the mound, leads the league in RBIs with 37.
Ogden outfielder Frankie Jezioro leads the league with four triples, and three other Raptors — Parks, Broughton and Pacheco — have three triples. Parks is third in the league in doubles with nine.