GJ comes up short against Owlz
Trailing by two runs with runners on the corners and a 2-2 count in the bottom of the ninth inning, the Grand Junction Rockies’ Nate Causey lifted a ball above the lights and out into the night — foul.
The left-handed designated hitter propelled the Rockies with his power hitting Saturday night, but ultimately he went down swinging in a seven-pitch at-bat as the Rockies dropped a 9-7 Pioneer League game to Orem at Suplizio Field.
“He battled, and he almost had a pitch that he hit out of here,” Grand Junction manager Anthony Sanders said of Causey. “I tried to tell him after the game that that’s a positive at-bat right there. He grinded it out, and if you do that, you’re going to get them eventually.”
The Rockies (10-10) scored four runs in the bottom of the first inning, highlighted by Causey’s towering, three-run home run that touched down in the third row of cars in the parking lot behind right field.
Henry Garcia’s single scored another run in the bottom of the second inning, but Grand Junction was held scoreless for the next three innings, and the South Division-leading Owlz took advantage.
With the Rockies leading 5-1, Orem (14-6) chipped away, scoring runs in the third, fourth, fifth and sixth innings.
Caleb Adams’ home run gave the Owlz one of their two runs in the third inning, and a balk scored a run in the fourth. Orem’s Bo Way led off the fifth inning with a home run, and Raul Linares did the same in the sixth. A hit batter and a sacrifice fly gave Orem another run in the sixth and an 8-5 lead.
In the bottom half of the sixth, the Rockies closed within 8-7 on a run-scoring double by Wilson Soriano and a sacrifice fly by Denzel Richardson.
Sanders pointed to Soriano’s hitting and fielding as a highlight of the game.
“Even with losses there’s positive things I’ve been able to take,” Sanders said. “Soriano had a great throw from the outfield to get a guy at home. It was a timely play when we needed it, and he’s been swinging the bat.
“Jonesy (Wesley Jones) at second base, another high school kid, he’s been playing above his age. You have Forrest Wall, high school kid, who’s been playing well. We’ve had guys step up big for us. We just need to fix some things on the hill.”
Yonathan Daza was ejected after spiking his helmet in the bottom of the seventh inning. Daza was reacting to being called out when he tried to stretch a single into a double, and his helmet slam drew an immediate response from the umpire. It was the second ejection in two days for the Rockies.
Way hit a run-scoring double in the top of the eighth inning to tack on another run for Orem, and that concluded the game’s scoring.
Grand Junction pitcher Harrison Musgrave took the loss, his second of the season, surrendering four runs on four hits with three strikeouts in 2 1/3 innings of relief work.
Orem finished with six errors Saturday, one day after committing five errors.
“Yesterday I thought we did a great job making them pay,” Sanders said. “Today, you see the big six up on the scoreboard, you feel like you should definitely win a ballgame like that.”
But as you can see, we’ve still got a ways to go. We need to fix things on the mound and establish roles for some of those guys.”