The Orem Owlz were getting into a groove entering Monday night after a slow start to their season. They had won 4 of their last 5 games and were looking to build on that momentum. The Rockies of Grand Junction were the team standing in their way before the Owlz went on their four-game road trip. But when the utah wildfire smoked cleared, it was the Owlz that came out victorious behind a stellar performance from the pitching staff and a few more RBI’s from rookie Wade Hinkle.
Orem starting pitcher Mark Sappington had a short but impressive performance. In three solid innings, he didn’t allow a hit, struck out one batter and only walked one as well. Sappington entered the game with a 21.60 ERA but was able to drop it to 11.37 with this start. Yancarlos Santiago relieved Sappington in the fourth inning and retired the side not allowing a hit either. But in the fifth, the Rockies were able to push across two runs against the left-hander.
The offense picked up their reliever by responding in the bottom of the fifth inning. With the bases loaded and two outs, rookie Wade Hinkle came up to bat and delivered a two out, two RBI single up the middle which erupted the crowd in Orem but was soon silenced when Hinkle was thrown out trying to go for two. Either way, the Owlz were able to tie it and added some more runs in the sixth inning behind a throwing error by Rockies third baseman Jason Stolz and an RBI single by catcher Sam Mulroy which extended the lead 5-2.
The Rockies did not go without a fight though as they were able to push across a run in the eighth inning to make it a 5-3 game. But the Owlz were able to close the door on any rally in the ninth when reliever Austin Adams, after walking the first batter, retired the side in order to get the save for the team. This marks the fifth game the Owlz have won in their last six games. Head coach Tom Kotchman knows what it all boils down to moving forward.
“It’s going to be the bullpen,” Kotchman said. “They held us in the game tonight. It’s time for the other guys to step up a little bit.”
“As a group, we’ve really come together,” first baseman Michael Snyder said who extended his hitting streak to 11 games. “There’s a lot of confidence. There isn’t a negative person in the clubhouse. If we keep swinging the bat the way we are then there shouldn’t be a team that could beat us because our pitching is coming around and our defense is coming around. it’s starting to look pretty good.”
The Owlz will head over to Grand Junction to play a two-game set and then to Ogden before returning home to play three games against the second place team in the league, Idaho Falls.