Sauryn Lao played exceptional defense all game for the Ogden Raptors at third base on Monday during their playoff game against the Grand Junction Rockies.
Time and again, he turned tough situations into easy plays to first base.
Time and again, the Rockies’ and their penchant for clocking just about every pitch that came their way, were stymied.
Those things don’t typically show up in a box score.
What does show up in the box score: Lao’s go-ahead, solo home run in the eighth inning of a 4-4 game.
At the time, it was the go-ahead run until the Rockies injected more drama into an already tense matchup by tying the game 5-5 in the ninth.
But the Raptors had a response, albeit a somewhat anticlimactic one that still served as a reason for fans to celebrate.
Ramon Rodriguez hit a ground ball to GJ shortstop Ezequiel Tovar in the bottom of the 10th inning with two outs and runners on first base and third in a 5-5 ballgame.
The ball skipped off Tovar’s body and into left field. Rodriguez spread his arms wide while rounding first base.
The Raptors wildly celebrated in left field about 20 feet behind where Tovar bobbled the ball after beat GJ 6-5 in 10 innings.
Ogden won the best-of-three-game series 2-0 and awaits the winner of the Idaho Falls-Billings series, tied 1-1, in this weekend’s championship series.
Who the Raptors’ opponent is will dictate when Ogden’s home games will be.
If the Raptors play Idaho Falls, the first game of the series will be Thursday in Idaho Falls and the next two games will be Friday and Saturday (if necessary) in Ogden.
If Ogden faces Billings, then the first game is Thursday in Billings, but the Raptors’ two home games would be Saturday and Sunday (if necessary) to allow for a Friday travel day.
Ogden shortstop Zac Ching tied the game 1-1 in the first inning with an RBI double off the wall. Imanol Vargas followed with a sacrifice fly to make it 2-1 Raptors.
After Grand Junction took back the lead in the second inning, Andy Pages blasted a two-run homer to put the Raptors back ahead, 4-3.
The game descended into a back-and-forth affair into the inky blackness of the night, ending only when Rodriguez sent a small but engaged crowd of 2,627 home happy.