After 23-run showing, Owlz lose first game to Casper

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After Tuesday’s 23-1 win, Owlz manager Tom Kotchman cautioned that Orem could easily lose 2-1 the following night, calling the offensive explosion a “fluke.”

“Just because you have an Owlz jersey on doesn’t mean you’re going to walk out there and win,” Kotchman said.

Almost prophetically, the Owlz fell to the Ghosts 4-1 the next night. What little action there was came early and late, with all the runs being scored in the first two innings and then in the ninth.

The Ghosts struck first, putting a run on the board in the first inning. Baudilio Lopez loaded the bases after hitting a batter and Casper left fielder Robert De La Cruz hit a sacrifice grounder to bring in David Kandilas, who led the inning off with a single.

The Ghosts scored again in the second inning off a solo home run from Angel Reyes, who hit his first homer of the season to put them up the 2-0. Lopez was then able to get out of the inning with two pop-ups and a ground out to get out of the inning.

“Just because you have an Owlz jersey on doesn’t mean you’re going to walk out there and win.” — Owlz manager Tom Kotchman

The Owlz responded the next inning. With men on first and second, right fielder Gary Mitchell provided Orem’s only run, hitting a line drive to center field and driving in Kaleb Cowart from second. Hernandez then duplicated Lopez’s first-inning feat, hitting Jarrod Parks to load the bases. The Owlz were unable to capitalize, however, after a force-out at home and Francis Larson’s infield hit turned into a double play.

Kotchman pointed to that sequence as one of several missed opportunities.

“We had our chances bases loaded in the second inning, a checked swing, getting doubled up on a soft hit. You know you got to make the most of those chances,” Kotchman said.

The game then turned into a pitching duel, as Lopez went six innings for the Owlz, giving up six hits and two runs.

“[Lopez] wasn’t real sharp early, then gave us four real good innings after that,”

In the ninth inning Casper added some insurance runs at the expense of Australian reliever Aaron Sookee. Harold Riggins hit a solo home run, and Kandlis had an RBI double to drive in Sam Mende. This would prove to be too much for the Owlz to overcome in the bottom of the frame, though did have an opportunity.

With Frazier Hall on first, Cowart hit a single. However as Hall rounded second and pulled up to go back, he went down with a severely sprained ankle and was tagged out. Ghosts pitcher Mike Wolford then retired the side, ending the game. This is the first win for the Ghosts, and the Owlz (2-1) will finish the home series Thursday night.

When asked about Hall’s status after the game, Kotchman pointed to the trainer’s table, where Hall laid with his ankle heavily bandaged and levitated, quipping, “Does that look good? He’ll probably be out for a couple days.”

Kotchman remained positive, due largely to the team’s pitching and defense.

“You only give up three or four runs in a game in this league, you got a pretty good chance of winning it,” he said.