OREM Donato Giovanatto was spraying hits all over Brent Brown Ballpark, Buddy Boshers was throwing strike after strike and in just a little over two hours, the Orem Owlz had won their eighth straight.
Giovanatto went 3-for-3 with a homer, Boshers allowed just one run and three hits in six innings and the Owlz defeated the Missoula Osprey 4-1 on Monday night to extend their longest winning streak of the season.
"These games are very important," said Giovanatto, who is hitting .485 (16-for-33) with three home runs and eight RBIs in his last eight games. "It helps when you got a guy like (Boshers)."
Prior to Monday's game, Boshers had not pitched more than five innings in a single game. He'd gone more than four just twice in seven starts.
"I just came out with a fastball," Boshers said. "I pounded it in and they rolled over on them."
Heading into the sixth inning, Boshers had thrown just 58 pitches. In the fourth and fifth innings alone, he threw just 18.
"His pitch count was way down," Owlz manager Tom Kotchman said. "He threw strikes and let his defense work."
The Owlz' defense, which has been a cause for concern in recent games, performed spectacularly for Boshers on Monday.
After quickly getting two outs in the top of the fifth, Osprey right fielder Victor Estevez chopped one back up the middle. Owlz second baseman Ivan Contreras picked the ball off behind the second-base bag and immediately flipped it to Darwin Perez, who was cutting across from short. Without any hesitation at all, Perez slung the ball over to first just in time to get the out and end the inning.
Boshers ran into trouble in the sixth, but managed to escape with minimal damage.
Estevez led off with a single to center. Alberto Diaz then looped one into shallow right that dropped in front of Giovanatto. But Estevez, who was held up between first and second waiting to see if the ball would drop, couldn't get to second in time before Giovanatto threw him out. After a groundout to third by Reynaldo Navarro pushed Diaz to second, Ryne White slapped a single to right to bring Diaz home and Kotchman out for a visit.
Kotchman spoke with Boshers for just a few seconds on the mound before heading back to the dugout.
"I asked him how he felt and said 'you got him,'" Kotchman said. "I gave him his choice."
Boshers responded by striking out Kyle Greene.
Steve Geltz and Jeremy Throne worked the final three innings for the Owlz to finish off the victory.
The Owlz took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first on an RBI double by Ryan Groth that scored Giovanatto from second.
The Owlz made it 2-0 in the bottom of the third when Jon Townsend scored from second on an Osprey error.
Giovanatto blasted a solo homer onto the berm beyond the left-field wall in the bottom of the sixth, and then scored another on a wild pitch in the bottom of the eighth.
The Ogden Raptors (10-4, 29-23) lost to the Helena Brewers 6-1 on Monday to end their eight-game winning streak and send them into a tie with the Owlz (10-4, 35-17) for first place in the Pioneer League South second-half standings.
The Owlz continue their four-game series with the Osprey tonight at 7:05 p.m.