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Tofteland screamer, Phelts bat lift Ogden Raptors to 1st-half championship, beating Vibes 11-9

By Brett Hein - Standard-Examiner | Jul 12, 2023

BRIAN WOLFER, Special to the Standard-Examiner

Ogden outfielder Nick Ultsch (5) rounds third to score against Rocky Mountain on Tuesday, July 11, 2023, at Lindquist Field in Ogden.

OGDEN — Dane Tofteland hasn’t had a great time at the plate for the Ogden Raptors.

The Canadian big man spent all last season trying to get a visa issue resolved to no avail and finally made his debut one month into this season.

He entered Wednesday hitting .129, seeing live pitching for the first time in a couple years. But his time came, with perfect timing.

Pinch hitting in the fourth inning of a seven-inning game, Tofteland connected. His three-run blast lofted 423 feet and screamed 108 mph off the bat, turning a back-and-forth tie game into a 10-7 lead.

That created a moment for Tofteland and the Raptors, who went on to win 11-9 over the Rocky Mountain Vibes and clinched the Pioneer League South Division’s first-half championship for the fifth straight season. Ogden will again play postseason baseball come September.

That was somehow enough for the Raptors (29-16) to overcome five home runs from the visiting Vibes (19-25), four of which came against usually tough starting pitcher Brock Gilliam.

Brett Carson hit a two-run homer in the top of the first to put Rocky Mountain on top. Non-power-hitter Cam Phelts answered in the bottom of the first with a two-run homer to right.

Phelts followed in the second with a two-run triple and scored on a Reese Alexiades hit to make it 5-2.

But the Vibes weren’t done hitting. League-leading RBI man Dusty Stroup dropped a two-run homer over Raptor Ridge and Ethan Lopez hit a no-doubt, two-run blast to left to put Rocky Mountain ahead 7-5 in only the third inning.

Ogden had an answer. Third baseman Rafael Narea singled home designated hitter Damian Henderson, then scored on a Phelts single to tie things up 7-7.

That set the table for Tofteland’s mammoth mash in the fourth.

The homering wasn’t done. Alexiades hit his league-leading 16th home run for Ogden in the fifth, a solo shot. That was sandwiched between solo homers by Joe Encarnacion and Casey Petersen for the visitors.

But Ogden won the seven-inning game despite giving up five homers and a five-run inning.

Raptors reliever Brandon McCabe, who gave up the Petersen homer, otherwise struck out the side in the top of the sixth.

Then the Raptors brought out ace closer Dan Kubiuk. He got major help from Phelts in right field, who tracked a Lopez liner to Raptor Ridge, leaped high and snagged an out that could have otherwise started a rally.

From there, Kubiuk struck out Steve Barmakian and then Encarnacion to the crowd’s delight, team president and public address announcer Dave Baggott proclaimed Ogden the South Division first-half champions, and the team gathered in the left-field corner to spray champagne on each other.

Phelts hit 3 for 4 with five RBIs to lead the Raptors and finished a double short of the cycle.

The series concludes Thursday through Saturday at Lindquist Field, which ends the first half of the season.


Wednesday’s first game was a sleepy affair, with a nearly nonexistent 4 p.m. crowd taking in a resumption of a suspended game from June 22 in which Rocky Mountain was the home team. The offensively gifted Vibes made the resumed game into a hit parade, turning a 1-1 tie into an 8-1 victory.

Foster Pace took the loss for Ogden. Ethan Lopez and Brett Carson hit RBI doubles to cap the scoring for RMV.


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