Owlz continue to carve up Pioneer League

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One night after posting a comeback victory in extra innings, the Orem Owlz made short work of the visiting Casper Ghosts on their way to an 11-2 victory on a gorgeous Tuesday evening at Brent Brown Ballpark.

Michael Wing paced the Owlz offense going 4-for-4 including a double, while Kevin Ramos knocked in three runs on two hits. Southpaw Stephen Locke picked up the win for Orem pitching 5 1/3 innings, allowing only one run on two hits.

The Ghosts drew first blood in the top of the third inning when Avery Barnes scored off an Owlz throwing error to make it 1-0 for Casper.

But in the bottom of the same inning, Orem’s Carlos Ramirez launched a one-hopper off the center field wall for an RBI-double to even things up at 1-1.

After a leadoff double by Wing in the fourth inning, Ramos hit a two-run single, and the Owlz took a 4-1 lead into the fifth.

Locke, meanwhile, hit his spots with some masterful off-speed pitching and kept Casper’s batters at bay.

After a Terrell Alliman RBI-single in the fifth, Casper’s Jared Clark blasted a solo shot over the left field wall to cut into the Orem lead 5-2, but the Owlz answered back in a big way with six runs in the seventh inning, including a two-run single by center fielder Travis Witherspoon.

“I didn’t try to throw the ball past anyone,” Locke said after the game. “I just wanted to throw low strikes that made it difficult for them to get under it.”

Thanks to a 24-4 record in the second half of the season, the Owlz own the best record in the Pioneer League, but Orem manager Tom Kotchman said his team’s work is not complete. “We haven’t won anything or accomplished anything yet,” he said. “We’re not going to be complacent.”

Kotchman attributes his team’s second-half success to good pitching, particularly from the bullpen.

“We added a couple of key pitchers,” he added. “So what was our Achilles heel in the first half, our bullpen, has now become one of our stronger points.”

Wing, who leads the team in doubles with 21 on the year, echoed his manager’s sentiments in saying the team is focused on finishing the season strong.

“We’re still trying to clinch the best record in the league,” he said. “If we keep playing the way we are, the sky’s the limit.”