OGDEN — After four days off due to the All-Star break and a rainout, the Ogden Raptors were finally back in action Friday, sweeping a doubleheader from the Idaho Falls Chukars.
With Friday's regularly scheduled game being the popular Military Affairs Night, where new Air Force cadets are sworn in, among other moments to honor members of the military, a crowd of 5,329 watched Game 1 and 5,566 watched Game 2.
Ogden improved to 39-10 overall this season, including an 8-3 mark in the second half, currently in first place in the Pioneer League South Division.
The two teams continue their series at 7 p.m. Saturday.
RAPTORS 8, CHUKARS 3
Idaho Falls outfielder Isaiah Henry blasted a three-run homer in the second inning to put the visitors up 3-0, but it was all Raptors after that in Game 1.
Andy Pages and Sauryn Lao both hit two-run homers in the third inning and Ogden totaled 13 hits in the seven-inning contest.
Those homers put the Raptors up 4-3.
In the fifth inning, Zac Ching hit an RBI double and Ramon Rodriguez drove in two with a double to account for the final 8-3 tally.
Pages drove in three runs to lead Ogden at the plate. Andrew Shaps, hitting one spot ahead of Pages, hit 2 for 3 and scored twice on Pages hits. Ching hit 3 for 3. Brandon Lewis also had two hits.
Elio Serrano turned in five quality innings on the mound for Ogden, giving up three of his four hits in the third inning when Henry homered. Otherwise, he struck out five and walked one.
Jeff Belge and Nick Robertson each pitched a hitless, scoreless inning to close the Raptors win.
RAPTORS 4, CHUKARS 2
Ogden kept the bats rolling into Game 2, building a 4-0 lead in the first inning that would hold through all seven innings as newcomer Jorbit Vivas made a name for himself in his Raptors debut.
Vivas, 18, led off the bottom of the first by ripping the first pitch he saw as a Raptor into centerfield. He then stole second and sped home on a single from Brandon Lewis to open the scoring.
Ryan Ward hit a two-run homer and Jimmy Titus later scored on a wild pitch for the 4-0 lead.
With Ogden leading 4-2 in the bottom of the seventh, and with a history of taking small leads into the final inning and either losing or making it too interesting for comfort, Hunter Speer took the mound and walked the leadoff batter.
For the second time Friday, the second basemen Vivas ranged deep up the middle to stop a single. This time, he stretched out to tap second and threw on to first for a double play. The next batter flew out and the game was over.
Ogden pitchers gave up one hit in the game and five in Friday's 14 total innings. Yeison Cespedes got the win in Game 2, pitching three scoreless innings of relief with no hits and five strikeouts. Mitchell Tyranski and Speer each threw a hitless, scoreless inning to close.
Idaho Falls grabbed both runs in the second inning when Rhett Aplin tagged Alfredo Tavarez with a leadoff home run and Tavarez later issued a bases-loaded walk. Cespedes came in and recorded the crucial final out, leaving the bases loaded.
Four days off and clearing the All-Star game meant several roster moves by the Dodgers impacting the Raptors.
Infielder and 2018 Raptor Jacob Amaya was called up from single-A to high-A, so Ogden All-Star infielder Sam McWilliams was called up to single-A Great Lakes to fill his spot.
From the Arizona League, Vivas, outfielder Aldrich De Jongh and pitcher Jacob Cantleberry were all called up to Ogden.
Vivas, 18, hit .357 in 30 AZL games. De Jongh, 20, hit .305 in 32 AZL games. Cantleberry allowed two earned runs in 13.1 innings (1.35 ERA), had 19 strikeouts to three walks, and AZL opponents batted .152 against him.
Outfielder Brandon Wulff, who hit .148 with 17 RBIs in 20 games for the Raptors, was sent to the AZL.