After a slow start the Orem Owlz pulled off another come-from-behind victory over the Idaho Falls Chukars last night at Brent Brown Park, winning 7-5.
The Chukars tried to sneak one win out of the series with a couple of home runs. Fortunately for Orem, some good defense late and a big error from the Chukars led to another Owlz victory and a series sweep.
Daniel Vargas-Vila gave a solid effort from the mound, going five innings and giving up seven hits and five earned runs. Relievers Juan ‘Junior’ Carlin and Daniel Reynolds didn’t let the Chukars get another hit. Carlin looked especially crisp in his near two innings of work.
While the pitching was exceptional, it also benefited from help from the infielders. First baseman Frazier Hall completed two incredible snags on line drives and a huge stretch for a throw from the short stop in a close call that went the Owlz way.
Cowart had a minor hiccup in the fifth inning when an attempted throw to first was off the mark. When asked about this, Cowart gave credit to his coaches for letting him know the position he should have been in and helping his mind get over it.
“An error is an error,” Cowart said. “Just come back from it.”
He did just that. As the Chukars were trying to break an eighth-inning tie, the same batter tried to bunt toward Cowart again. This time he was ready, completing the throw to first to stop the Chukar surge.
Later in the eighth inning, Hall’s 1-2 swing saw a fair ball drop directly in front of him and the catcher. Hall sped down toward first. With the throw from home being too hard to handle for the Chukars firstbaseman, Hall was safe.
With one out, Andrew Ray came on to pinch hit and drew a walk.
Enter Hairgrove’s magic.
With two on and one out, Hairgrove sent a 2-1 fastball straight out to right-center field. Ray and Hall both scored as Hairgrove came up to third base to the roar from the crowd.
“Just get a fastball and hit it hard somewhere,” Hairgrove said afterwards.
“That was a great at-bat to get to Hairgrove,” said Owlz manager Tom Kotchman.
It proved to be enough as Reynolds closed out the ninth. The win moves Orem two games over .500 and into a three-way tie for second place in the Pioneer League standings.