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Jesus Valdez homers 3 times, Ogden Raptors sprint past Missoula 16-8

By Brett Hein - Standard-Examiner | Jul 23, 2022

Eugene Morgan, Ogden Raptors

Ogden Raptors shortstop Jesus Valdez connects for the first of his three home runs in a win against the Missoula PaddleHeads on Saturday, July 23, 2022, in Missoula, Mont. (Eugene Morgan, Ogden Raptors)

The Ogden Raptors jumped out of the gate in the fifth game of a six-game series at Missoula on Saturday night and, in the end, Ogden’s first four hitters equaled the number of hits Missoula’s full lineup produced.

One of those Ogden hitters was shortstop Jesus Valdez, who blasted three home runs to left field, hit 4 for 5 with six RBIs and four runs scored, and led the Raptors to a 16-8 victory over the PaddleHeads.

It helped that leadoff hitter Josh Broughton hit 5 for 6 to set the table for Ogden’s offense. He was on base when Valdez bashed his first homer, a two-run shot in the first inning.

In the second inning, Broughton singled in a run and was on base with Pat Adams when Valdez again left the yard, putting the Raptors up 6-0. By the time Broughton hit a two-run homer himself in the fifth, Ogden led 11-0.

Valdez’s big night at the plate somewhat overshadowed an excellent start by Polo Portela, who didn’t allow a baserunner until the fourth inning and, through five innings, had only faced two batters over the minimum by getting two double plays.

One swing did get Missoula on the board, however, a Nick Gatewood solo homer in the bottom of the fifth. Valdez answered with his third home run, a solo dinger, in the sixth, to help Ogden go up 13-1.

Portela gave up three earned runs on seven hits, striking out three and walking one in seven innings.

The PaddleHeads woke up when Portela exited in favor of Jake Mulholland in the eighth inning, pushing across five runs (three earned) all charged against Mulholland to make it interesting at 13-8.

Valdez had two shots at a history-making, four-homer game. He grounded into a double play to end the seventh inning and came up with two on and one out in the ninth, drawing a walk.

Outfielder Brian Dansereau then hit a two-run single, and first baseman Freddy Achecar singled in one more for the final 16-8 margin.

Jack Cunningham pitched a perfect 1 2/3 innings to close the game, inducing an RBI groundout in a run charged to Mulholland as he got out of that inning with runners on base, and pitched a 1-2-3 ninth despite needing more than 10 pitches to retire leadoff hitter Brandon Riley.

Achecar hit 4 for 5 in Ogden’s outburst. Second baseman Dakota Conners added three singles and two RBIs.

The two teams finish the series at 2:05 p.m. Sunday. The Raptors have only lost one series all season and are playing to earn a 3-3 split with the PaddleHeads.


Ogden 16, Missoula 8

Grand Junction 4, Boise 3

Idaho Falls 7, Glacier 3

Billings 7, Great Falls 3

Rocky Mountain at Northern Colorado, postponed


Second Half


Idaho Falls 4-1 (31-22 overall)

*Missoula 3-2 (38-14)

Great Falls 3-2 (30-22)

Billings 2-3 (27-24)

Glacier 1-4 (18-34)


Grand Junction 4-1 (30-23)

Northern Colorado 2-2 (19-30)

Rocky Mountain 2-2 (18-32)

*Ogden 2-3 (31-22)

Boise 1-4 (18-35)

*- denotes first-half champion


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