GJ Rockies’ playoff chances end with loss
So close but about 340-some feet away.
With two outs in the books in the top of the ninth inning Wednesday night at Suplizio Field and the Grand Junction Rockies clinging to a 13-12 lead, one more out would have forced a winner-take-all game tonight.
Now tonight’s game is just for pride.
When Brandon Montgomery sent a Kenny Oakley pitch over the left-field wall in the ninth, the Rockies’ dreams of winning the Pioneer League South second-half title disappeared.
The Raptors then scored a run in the 10th to come away with a marathon 14-13 victory, which gave Ogden the second-half crown.
It was a game with enough twists and turns to make a corn maze designer envious.
Neither team packed it in through the 4-hour, 12-minute game. In the end there were 39 total hits and five of the 15 extra-base hits were home runs.
Oakley pitched fairly well but took the loss after giving up the home run, then an RBI single to Keibert Ruiz in the 10th. Oakley gave up three hits and struck out five in his 2 1/3 innings.
Trailing by one run in the 10th inning, Roberto Ramos walked with one out and pinch-runner Tyler Bugner moved to second on a wild pitch.
After Vince Fernandez flew out to left, Taylor Snyder’s deep fly ball sent a charge into the home fans but it settled into the glove of left fielder Cody Thomas a couple of steps short of the wall on the warning track.
With the catch, the Raptors; celebrated a spirited comeback in the game and in the final series. Ogden won three straight to overtake the Rockies for the second-half title.
Grand Junction jumped out to a 6-2 lead after three, led by Ramos, went 2 for 5 with five RBI.
He hit a two-run home run in the first inning and added a two-run ground-rule double in the Rockies’ three-run third.
The fourth was one wild inning. The Raptors eliminated the Rockies’ lead with six runs to make the score 8-6.
That lead didn’t last long as the Rockies answered with their own six-run inning.
After the Rockies loaded the bases, Ramos grounded out to first to score one run. Then the big hits came. A two-run single by Snyder was followed by a three-run home run by Jonathan Piron — who went 3 for 4 with four RBI — for a 12-8 Rockies lead.
But the Raptors’ pitching started settled in after that wild fourth inning.
The Raptors used seven pitchers and the final five only gave up one run, which allowed Ogden’s offense to rally back to tie the game in the eighth.
In the bottom of the eighth, Snyder drilled a shot to right that just got over the wall for a 13-12 lead.
Oakley then struck out the first two batters he faced in the ninth before Montgomery ruined the night for Grand Junction.
The Rockies used four pitchers, starting with Riley Pint.
Pint wasn’t real sharp but he battled, going 3 2/3 innings giving up eight hits, five runs with three walks and five strikeouts. He threw 86 pitches in the short outing.
After departing with a strikeout to get the second out of the fourth, J.D. Hammer took over and gave up a two-run double to Luis Paz and a two-run home run to Thomas.
The high pitch counts and offensive hit parade made the game drag on with only two 1-2-3 innings — the Rockies went down in order in the seventh and ninth.
Before the game, Rockies shortstop Jose Gomez was selected the second-half Pioneer League MVP.