Valdez homers twice more; slick defense helps Ogden Raptors tame Idaho Falls 12-2
OGDEN — Jesus Valdez had a busy Saturday at Lindquist Field.
After his grand slam Friday, Valdez returned Saturday to sock two more homers and was part of four of the five double plays Ogden’s infield completed on the way to a 12-2 win over the Idaho Falls Chukars.
Valdez put Ogden ahead for good in the bottom of the second inning, lining a screaming solo home run over the left-field wall for a 2-1 lead.
The Raptors wouldn’t need much more with Ronny Orta on the hill. Orta moved to 4-0 in his fifth start, lowering his ERA to 4.18 by allowing two runs and seven hits across six full innings of work, striking out four and walking two.
Idaho Falls ultimately rapped 11 hits. That only led to two runs because shortstop Valdez and second baseman Dakota Conners cleaned up five of them by turning double plays up the middle off the bats of five different Chukars hitters.
Valdez started the first double play in the bottom of the first to hold the score at 1-1. In the third inning, Conners took one unassisted at second base before throwing to first. The double plays in the fourth, seventh and eighth innings went Conners to Valdez to Freddy Achecar.
In the bottom of the third, designated hitter Chuck Steele scored on a Pat Adams single and error from the right-fielder, then Adams later scored in a double steal with Conners in which Conners was thrown out to make it 4-1.
Idaho Falls outfielder Steve Barmakian doubled in Jose Reyes with two outs in the fifth for the final mark on Orta’s ledger, and the Chukars’ final run of the game, for a 4-2 score.
Jake Mulholland pitched a scoreless seventh for Ogden and Miguel Cirino a scoreless eighth. Recently signed two-way player Jackson Lancaster closed the ninth by giving up a single but also striking out the side.
With a 5-2 lead and a runner on base, Valdez struck again in the fifth inning. After a green-light wild swing through a high 3-0 pitch, Valdez crushed the ensuing 3-1 offering well over the wall in centerfield to make it 7-2.
Valdez hit 3 for 4 on Saturday and raised his season average to .425, taking the team lead with six home runs and improving to 23 RBIs through 21 games.
Adams and Josh Broughton each hit RBI singles in the sixth to make it 9-2. Idaho Falls relief pitcher Damon Ellis struggled in the eighth by walking three, throwing a wild pitch, hitting Valdez and giving up an RBI single to Achecar for the final 12-2 score.
Adams also hit 3 for 4, and Conners, Broughton, Achecar and Steele each totaled two hits.
The two teams finish the series at 2 p.m. Sunday.
Ogden 12, Idaho Falls 2
Northern Colorado 6, Grand Junction 4
Boise 13, Rocky Mountain 3
Glacier 7, Missoula 4
Billings 15, Great Falls 11
PIONEER LEAGUE STANDINGS
Through June 18
Idaho Falls 16-6
Great Falls 15-8
Grand Junction 10-11
Northern Colorado 10-11
Rocky Mountain 4-18