Grand Junction Rockies recap, June 20, 2017

Grand Junction Rockies catcher Javier Guevara tags out Logan Gray, 14, at home in the fourth inning of the Rockies’ home opener Monday at Suplizio Field. Gray was out trying to score from third base on a fly ball to left field, but the Chukars beat the Rockies 8-7 in 10 innings.

Monday at Suplizio Field

Idaho Falls 8, Grand Junction 7 (10)


GJ Rockies 0-1, Idaho Falls 1-0

The key inning

For the first time in the club’s six-year history, the Grand Junction Rockies lost a season-opening game at Suplizio Field. Counting season-opening games on the road, the Rockies are now 4-2 in openers.

A late rally pushed the game to extra innings and, after falling behind in the top of the 10th inning, the Rockies nearly tied it again in the bottom of the frame.

A two-run triple that sailed just out of the reach of center fielder Pedro Gonzalez put Idaho Falls up 8-6 in the top of the 10th, but Grand Junction pushed multiple runners into scoring position after that.

Hidekel Gonzalez doubled to lead off the frame, then Javier Guevara singled to push his teammate to third. Hidekel Gonzalez scored on a wild pitch that allowed Guevara to advance to second and Guevara slid into third on a fielder’s choice. The catcher was looked back to third on a grounder for the second out, and Jordan Ebert struck out on a high fastball to end the game.

On the mound

Jorge Oviedo delivered three innings of relief that allowed Grand Junction to get back into the game. The left-hander from the Rockies’ DSL affiliate struck out five batters without a walk.

Manager Frank Gonzales said he’s hopeful Oviedo can log many innings for the club.

“I thought if we had an opportunity to give him some length and some innings, and that he’d be able to give us some innings if we didn’t have a starter ready to go,” Gonzales said. “It’s another tool that he has, that we’d be able to use him as a starter if we need it.”

In the field

Shael Mendoza made a diving put-out from second base in the third inning, diving to stop a hard grounder up the middle and firing to first from one knee. Left fielder Tyler Bates followed that by throwing out a runner at home to end the fourth inning. There was more outstanding defense in extra innings, when Alan Trejo made a diving stop at shortstop, then flipped to Mendoza while laying prone. Mendoza’s throw narrowly beat the runner at first.

Who’s on first?

Grand Junction is still waiting on a full-time first baseman to be assigned to its roster. As of Monday, the Colorado Rockies’ two drafted first basemen — Arkansas’ Chad Spanberger and UCLA’s Sean Bouchard — have yet to be assigned by the club. Bouchard signed at his draft slot bonus and Spanberger has yet to sign.

Gonzales said Grand Junction’s two catchers from the Dominican Summer League, Hidekel Gonzalez and Guevara, have limited experience at first base and will hold the spot until a drafted player potentially arrives.

“We’re fortunate because both of our catchers play a little first,” the manager said. “Both Hidekel and Guevara have a little bit of experience playing first in the DSL and again in extended spring (training).”

Around the diamond

LHP Ben Bowden, the Colorado Rockies’ second-round pick in 2016, threw from 100 feet prior to Monday’s game before switching to street clothes to chart pitches ... LHP Robert Strader voluntarily retired before the start of the game. He was signed as a free agent this season ... Former GJ Rockies player Ryan McMahon was selected as the Pacific Coast League Player of the Week after his power surge for the Triple-A Albuquerque Isotopes. McMahon had a .593 batting average across six games, with five home runs, four doubles and 14 RBI. The 22-year-old infielder is the first batter to win Player of the Week honors for Albuquerque since Stephen Cardullo late in the 2016 season ... Fruita Monument High School baseball standout Trey Morrill threw out the ceremonial pitch before the game. Morrill, a junior who is among the best pitchers and outfielders in Colorado, played on the underclassmen team at the Colorado High School Futures Game at Coors Field. 

On deck

Grand Junction vs. Idaho Falls, 6:40 p.m., Suplizio Field

Starting pitchers: TBD vs. Logan Longwith (NR)

Radio: (Internet only)


They said it

“There were a lot of positives tonight. There’s a lot of things we have to work on that we haven’t even had a chance to touch — cuts and relays, making sure we’re at the right place at the right time defensively. There’s a lot of little things that we can clean up, but the competing was great tonight.” - Frank Gonzales on the overall performance in the season opener.

— Matt Meyer, The Daily Sentinel


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