Owlz advance to Pioneer League finals

In the third and deciding game of the heated playoff series between instate foes the Orem Owlz staved off elimination by knocking off the pesky Ogden Raptors 9-7 Monday night behind Luis Jimenez’s five RBIs. With the win the Owlz moved on to face the Great Falls Voyagers in the Pioneer League Championship series.

“He was huge for us tonight,” said Orem hitting coach Brent Del Chairo of Jimenez’s performance. “He let the game come to him and he had some fun.”

After Orem pitcher Buddy Boshers gave up back-to-back jacks to Tony Delmonico and first baseman Steven Caseres in the first the Owlz responded in the bottom half of the frame with four runs to take a 4-2 lead. A pair of singles by the Owlz and a 2-run triple by Jimenez gave Orem new life after falling behind early.

Ogden would respond in the second as it loaded the bases and Boshers walked in a run to cut the lead to 4-3, but on the first pitch of the bottom half of the third Jimenez varnished a solo home run over the wall in left-center field. For Jimenez his night was just getting started as he contributed again in the fourth when he ripped an RBI single with runners on the corners.

Not willing to let their season come to an end, the Raptors rallied in the sixth with a run off a Kyle Russell double over centerfielder Tyson Auer’s head. Later in the inning off Owlz reliever Andrew Taylor Raptor DH Clay Calfee sliced a double down the third baseline scoring Russell to come within three, 8-5.

Jimenez struck again in the bottom of the sixth as he beat out a groundball for an infield single and his fifth RBI of the game. With a comfortable 9-5 lead the Owlz defense came alive after Raptor Devaris Gordon reached with a single to lead off the seventh. Orem turned a tricky double play on a grounder up the middle that saw league MVP Roberto Lopez make a sensational play at first to complete the twin killing.

Ogden, threatened in the ninth, but came up short ending their season after a strong finish to the year.

“These guys have been through so much,” Del Chairo said. “They went about their business and they got the job done.”

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