They may not be the Murderers Row featuring major league greats like Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, but the Orem Owlz are turning into a formidable offensive team.
First round draft picks Taylor Lindsey and Kaleb Cowart headline a group also including breakout players Jarrod Parks, Francis Larson, and Frazier Hall. To add to this line-up, Angels current first round draft pick CJ Cron signed and will be with Orem beginning sometime this week.
Not that Kotchman is anxiously waiting for Cron to show up.
“It has nothing to do with chemistry. It has to do with players taking their ground balls and their infield work seriously.” — Owlz manager Tom Kotchman
“He’ll get here when he gets here,” Kotchman said. “We have to worry about the players we have here. We’ll see how healthy he is and go from there.”
Cowart, Hall, and Parks are all hitting over .500 and the others are getting on base and scoring a lot of runs. Cron played last year with the University of Utah and was the 17th overall pick in this year’s draft. He signed with the Angels on Monday and will return home to play with Orem for the remainder of the season. His strengths at Utah were hitting RBI’s and hitting for power, so he will add some pop to an already potent lineup.
What has been the Yin to their Yang is their pitching and defense. If the pitchers aren’t getting grounders or fly balls, they’re getting strike-outs. Any ball that’s hit in play is quickly gobbled up by a stellar defense.
It’s not all psychology and chemistry according to Kotchman.
“It has nothing to do with chemistry. It has to do with players taking their ground balls and their infield work seriously,” Kotchman said. ” Then when game time comes it just happens naturally and you know what to do.”
This game was a battle between the top two divisional teams and a match-up of I-15 rivals that came down to the final play after the Ogden Raptors’ pitching kept the Owlz “Manslaughterers Row” to a more pedestrian “Misdemeanor Row.” In the end, Cowart, Parks, and Larson came through to give the Owlz the win, while Ryan Jones finished off the game by scoring Jarrod Parks to seal the deal in the bottom of the ninth.
When asked about the final play, Jones said, “All I can say is I hit the ball and it seemed like it would never get there…sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good.”
Last year Ogden won the division and the Owlz are jumping at the chance to get some revenge. This was the first of a four-game series with Ogden, and Orem is happy to get it started with a win — however they can get it.