The Ogden Raptors gave up a late 11-6 lead and went to an 11-11 playoff playoff game, ultimately losing in two knockout rounds to the Rocky Mountain Vibes to fall to 17-17 in the second half and 0-0. 5 in Playoffs this season.
Ogden (46-36, 17-17) shortstop Jesus Valdez hit two two-run doubles. The second came in the sixth inning to put the Raptors up 9-6.
Raptors catcher Sonny Ulliana, who hit 5-for-5, doubled on a run in the seventh and scored on Dustyn Macaluso’s single for an 11-6 lead.
Relief pitcher Brandon McCabe allowed two runs to Vibes (31-47, 15-17) in the seventh to make it 11-8.
Miguel Cirino got two outs after Adam Scoggins put the leadoff hitter on board in the eighth, but then walked with the bases loaded. Ace closer Jackson Lancaster took the mound but looked out of place, walking a run to make it 11-9.
Domonique Hernandez then hit a ball down the right-field line, a sure-fire 3-pointer into the vast UC Health Park in Colorado Springs that would clear the bases and put Rocky Mountain ahead, but found a corner under the fence for a ground rule double. , scoring just two to tie it at 11-11.
Lancaster got his former teammate Nick Michaels to line out and finish the eighth inning.
Neither team threatened in the ninth, with Lancaster back on form (none of the runs were charged to his ledger, so he pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings as far as the stats go).
That sent the game to Knockout, a home run derby tiebreaker exclusive to the Pioneer League. Each team sends a player to the plate to hit as many home runs as he can in 2 minutes or before recording five non-home run outs, whichever comes first.
Valdez got his first knockout opportunity this season and did something no other Raptors player has done: He hit more than one home run and sent two over the fence in his knockout round.
It looked for a moment like Ogden would get a win when Vibes player Mike Annone was unable to throw strikes for his batter, Ethan Lopez. But Lopez sent his second homer over the wall to left with 30 seconds left. He then ran out of time before recording his fifth out.
With Matt Warkentin unavailable as he did not appear in Ogden’s lineup Friday night on a bye, the Raptors sent Josh Broughton to the plate for the second round. He had five quick outs and didn’t hit a home run.
Rocky Mountain sent former Raptors player Nick Michaels out to bat in his half of the second round, and he hit his second shot over the fence to claim the Vibes victory.
Ogden has lost his last two games the hard way, losing 6-5 on Thursday by leaving the bases loaded in the eighth and ninth innings, and 12-11 on Friday by knockout after giving up an 11-6 lead.
The two teams finish the series at 6:30 pm on Saturday and 5 pm on Sunday. The season series is tied 8-8. There are 14 games left in the regular season before Ogden will likely face the Grand Junction Rockies in the divisional round of the playoffs.
Rocky Mountain 12, Ogden 11 (via Knockout in 2 rounds)
Northern Colorado 13, Grand Junction 8
Billing 5, Missoula 2
Great Falls 4, Glacier 3 (via Knockout)
Idaho Falls 23, Boise 3
PIONEER LEAGUE RANKINGS
*Missoula 23-11 (58-23 overall)
Billing 19-15 (44-36)
Idaho Falls 16-17 (44-37)
Glacier 16-17 (33-47)
Great Falls 15-18 (42-38)
Great Union 26-8 (52-30)
*Ogden 17-17 (46-36)
Rocky Mountains 15-17 (31-47)
Northern Colorado 12-22 (29-50)
Bogota 8-25 (25-56)
*-indicates first half champion