Rain doesn’t stop Ogden Raptors, fans from celebrating league championship
BRETT HEIN, Standard-Examiner
OGDEN — There was no raining on the Ogden Raptors’ parade.
Partially because there was no parade, and in part because the few dozen fans who gathered didn’t leave when the skies opened several times Tuesday night.
Fans and team brass welcomed the Raptors at Lindquist Field as they arrived off the bus from Billings, Montana, after defeating the Mustangs 2-0 in the Pioneer Baseball League championship series.
A bit of cheers, handshakes and confetti cannons later, players joined in for complimentary burgers, hot dogs and sodas (others imbibed at a cost) at the O-Town Beach Club bar and restaurant off the first-base-side concourse.
The Raptors have made the playoffs in all three seasons since the now-10-team Pioneer League became an independent league, but this was the first time they reached the title series — and first time winning the trophy since 2017.
BRETT HEIN, Standard-Examiner
“It feels good to finish it,” outfielder Reese Alexiades said.
Alexiades has played 222 regular-season games in Ogden over the past three seasons to officially make himself Mr. Raptor, and he led the league in home runs this year.
“Fans have been nothing but graceful and awesome,” he said. “Trying to take it all in right now. This last year has been incredible, I wouldn’t change it for anything.”
The Raptors won the first half to qualify for the playoffs, limped through the second half and then got blasted 11-0 in Game 1 of the South Divisional series against Rocky Mountain — then won four straight to win the championship, all of them well-played baseball games to finish the season.
“Just win the next game, stay together,” Alexiades said was the talk after that first playoff game. “We were just excited to take the series back home … we’d had good comebacks before this season. Our pitching and defense was top of the league, so we knew we had a chance.”
Outfielder Josh Broughton was glad to come back and help finish the job. Broughton ripped a bases-loaded triple in the fourth inning of Game 2 in the title series to turn a 1-1 ballgame into a 4-1 Raptors lead.
“I was just so locked in, trying to help the team win. I didn’t care how I played, I just wanted to win,” Broughton said. “That’s when the game turned … and I was just happy to be in that moment.”
Broughton starred in Ogden in 2021 and 2022, once leading the team in batting average. After a spring stint in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization and suffering an injury with Evansville in the Frontier League, he was told the team could trade him back to Ogden. He finished with 201 regular-season games as a Raptor to his name.
“I needed to reset. I needed Ogden as much as Ogden needed me,” Broughton said. “Not that I did anything special, but Ogden means so much to me … we never got through that first round and now it just makes me feel like I completed what I wanted to do in this league and here in Ogden.”