GJ Rockies run out of rallies
OGDEN, Utah — It started June 18 with a loss in Ogden. Eighty-four days later, it ended with a loss in Ogden.
The Grand Junction Rockies team that lost Game 3 of the Pioneer League South Division Championship Series 11-9 to the Raptors is nothing like the team that opened the season.
“I’ve never been around a team like this before,” Rockies manager Tony Diaz said. “The way we played in this series, the way we came back over and over again, shows how far this team has come, and how much fight it has. I just wish we had one more fight in us.”
As they did in the first two games, the Rockies fell behind 2-0 after two innings, but they came back and quickly took the lead in the third when Julian Yan hit a grand slam, his second home run of the series, but it was downhill after that.
Ogden tied the game with two runs in the bottom of the third to tie it. Then in the fourth inning, the Raptors sent 10 men to plate, pushing across five runs making it 9-4.
Most of the people at Lindquist Field thought the game was over, but not the players in the first base dugout.
“I knew we had another run in us,” Diaz said. “This team has too much character to just quit.”
He was right. In the fifth inning, the Rockies got two of the runs back, and they tied it with three runs in the sixth, but as quickly as they tied it, Ogden got the lead back. Jose Capellan scored on a wild pitch with two in the bottom of the sixth, giving Ogden the lead for good.
“Not being able to keep a team off the board after we score has been a problem all year, and it got us again,” Diaz said.
The Raptors added another run in the seventh, and the Rockies couldn’t come up with another rally, going down in order in the eighth and ninth innings.
David Dahl finished the game 1 for 3 and scored three times.
Yan and Matt Wessinger added multi-hit games for the Rockies who finished 44-35, including the three playoff games.
Ogden advances to the Pioneer League Championship Series for the third straight year, opening Tuesday at Missoula.
The Osprey claimed the North title 4-2 over Great Falls in the third game. The Raptors were swept the past two seasons and are still looking for the first league championship since re-entering the league in 1994.