Walk-off walk lifts GJ Rockies to win

Miguel Dilone of the Grand Junction Rockies slides into home ahead of the tag by Ogden Raptors’ catcher Austin Cowen to score on Ryan Garvey’s two-run single as the umpire and Jordan Patterson watch in the bottom of the third inning of Wednesday’s final game of the regular season at Suplizio Field. Patterson also scored on Garvey’s single. The Rockies defeated the Raptors 12-11 in 11 innings.

The moving dogpile that followed Raimel Tapia to first base wasn’t a coordinated effort. In fact, the Grand Junction Rockies’ extra-inning comeback was ugly and gritty, much like the entire game Wednesday night.

But a bases-loaded walk by Tapia ended a three-hour, 56-minute Pioneer League marathon, giving the Rockies a 12-11 victory during their final regular-season home game at Suplizio Field.

The game was the longest of the season, and it gave Grand Junction (33-39, 12-22) the series sweep of Ogden (34-38, 14-20).

Big bats helped the Rockies get on top early.

Ryan McMahon and Tapia hit home runs — both were towering shots that easily cleared the center-field fence — to put the Rockies up in the fourth inning. But it was a grand slam by Ogden first baseman Jesus Valdez, one that barely cleared the right-field fence, that started a seesaw battle.

After the Raptors’ five-run fifth inning, the errors began to mount for Grand Junction, and the Rockies made four errors during the fifth and sixth innings.

Another error helped spark a two-run seventh that gave Ogden a 10-9 lead after Grand Junction had taken the lead with four runs in the bottom of the sixth.

Although the defense struggled Wednesday, the offense began clicking. It was the Rockies’ first time cracking double digits in the run column since Aug. 14 and the fifth time in just under two months.

The Rockies totaled 16 hits and benefitted from multiple walks throughout the game.

The defense resurfaced in the top of the ninth when Jairo Rosario stuffed an Ogden runner at the plate, then threw out a runner trying to steal. Grand Junction ended the top of the 10th inning with a Carlos Estevez pick-off throw at first base.

Estevez was credited with the win, and three Raptor pitchers were credited with blown saves. Ricky Perez was saddled with the loss for Ogden.

A single by Robbie Perkins and a hit-and-run by Zach Osborne into right field started the 11th inning. A steal by Osborne and a walk loaded the bases, setting the stage for Tapia.

Tapia watched four straight balls for the win, quite a contrast from striking out in a similar situation in the bottom of the ninth inning.


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