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Ogden Raptors lose twice in Knockout Round on Thursday, GJ Rockies close division race

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

After two seven-inning games in a doubleheader Thursday, the Ogden Raptors lost twice to the Grand Junction Rockies in Knockout Round home run derbies to decide the tied contests, with Caleb Farmer topping Josh Broughton each time.

From starting pitchers, Ogden got six innings from Polo Portela and five from Jack Cunningham while allowing just one earned run.

The Rockies pulled to within one game of the Raptors in the South Division race just more than halfway through the first half.

The two teams play again at 6:35 p.m. Friday before another doubleheader Saturday. The eight-game series concludes Sunday.

ROCKIES 1, RAPTORS 1 (Rockies win Knockout 2-1)

Pat Adams hit a solo home run in the top of the first for Ogden in the second game Thursday.

That would be all the Raptors could do against Jacob Wesselman, who made his Grand Junction debut by allowing five hits and just that one run, striking out five in a seven-inning complete game.

Cunningham’s five innings, followed by Evan Parker and Jake Mulholland, also allowed just one run, though it was an unearned score in the fourth inning. With the bases loaded and one out, GJ’s Charles Middleton grounded to Dakota Conners at second base. Conners flipped to Jesus Valdez for the first out and the throw to first was in time. But what would’ve ended the inning with Ogden’s 1-0 lead intact instead scored a run when Freddy Achecar dropped the relay at the bag.

In the Knockout Round, Josh Broughton went first and homered to left down to his last out. Caleb Farmer hit for Grand Junction. He lined a screamer over the wall in left, then a few swings later skied a moonshot down the left-field line. It was fair, and the Rockies won the Knockout 2-1 to claim both games Thursday.

Grand Junction tallied just two hits in the game.

ROCKIES 2, RAPTORS 2 (Rockies win Knockout 3-1)

In a game itself postponed by rain in May, the Ogden Raptors and Grand Junction Rockies opened an evening doubleheader Thursday at Suplizio Field with a pitchers’ duel that was then delayed by rain for 1 hour, 31 minutes.

Ogden scored a run on either side of the delay in the sixth inning to tie the seven-inning contest 2-2, and it went to the Pioneer League’s unique Knockout Round, where GJ’s Caleb Farmer hit three home runs to claim the win over Ogden’s Josh Broughton, who hit one.

The Raptors fell to 14-11 and the Rockies improved to 12-13. The second game of the doubleheader began at 8:20 p.m.

After opening his Ogden debut with five no-hit innings last week, Polo Portela made his second start for the Raptors and was nearly as good. Portela allowed six hits and one earned run over six innings, striking out six.

Grand Junction went up 2-0 in the third when Alex Nielsen reached via error, scored on a Nate Scantlin triple, and Scantlin scored on a Nico Popa single.

The Raptors also got things going on an error and evened it up with two outs in the sixth. Jackson Lancaster reached on a fielder’s choice just after the skies opened. He moved to second when Dakota Conners was hit by a pitch, and, though the rain subsided for a moment, Lancaster scored when Andrew Noviello’s potential inning-ending grounder went under the glove of GJ’s Malik Blaise.

With Conners on third base and the rain pouring hard again, the umpires cleared the field at 5:57 p.m. At 7:28 p.m., Dustyn Macaluso was hit by the first pitch of the restart to load the bases. Josh Broughton fouled off two full-count pitches before laying off a pitch for a walk, scoring Conners to tie it 2-2.

With a chance to break it open, Pat Adams flew out to left field to end the sixth.

Ogden’s Miguel Cirino pitched a scoreless seventh, getting a lineout with runners on second and third to end the frame and set up the Knockout Round.

Jack Parisi threw five scoreless innings for Grand Junction in his start, allowing five hits and striking out six.


Grand Junction 2 def. Ogden 2 (Knockout 3-1)

Grand Junction 1 def. Ogden 1 (Knockout 2-1)

Billings 7, Boise 0

Great Falls 7, Glacier 5

Missoula 10, Idaho Falls 6


Through June 23


Missoula 17-9

Great Falls 17-10

Idaho Falls 16-10

Billings 13-11

Glacier 11-15


Ogden 14-12

Grand Junction 13-13

Northern Colorado 11-13

Boise 10-16

Rocky Mountain 6-19


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