In the third and deciding game of the I-15 playoff series Monday night, the Orem Owlz staged off elimination by knocking off the pesky Ogden Raptors 9-6 behind Luis Jimenez's five RBIs. With the win, the Owlz move on to face the Great Falls Voyagers in the Pioneer League Championship series, starting Wednesday.
"He was huge for us tonight," said Orem hitting coach Brent Del Chairo of Jimenez's performance. "He let the game come to him and he had some fun."
After Orem pitcher Buddy Boshers gave up back-to-back jacks to Tony Delmonico and first baseman Steven Caseres in the first, the Owlz responded in the bottom half of the frame to take a 4-2 lead. A pair of singles by the Owlz and a two-run triple by Jimenez gave Orem new life after falling behind early.
Ogden would respond in the second as it loaded the bases and Boshers walked in a run to cut the lead to 4-3, but on the first pitch of the bottom half of the third Jimenez hit a solo home run over the wall in left-center field. For Jimenez, his night was just getting started as he contributed again in the fourth when he ripped an RBI single with runners on the corners.
Not willing to let their season come to an end, the Raptors rallied in the sixth with a run off of a Kyle Russell double over centerfielder Tyson Auer's head. Later in the inning, Raptors designated hitter Clay Calfee sliced a double down the third-base line, scoring Russell to get the Raptors within three runs.
Jimenez struck again in the bottom of the sixth as he beat out a groundball for an infield single and his fifth RBI of the game. With a comfortable 9-5 lead, the Owlz defense came alive after Raptor Devaris Gordon reached with a single to lead off the seventh. Orem turned a tricky double play on a grounder up the middle that saw league MVP Roberto Lopez make a sensational play at first to complete the twin killing.
Ogden threatened in the ninth, but came up short, ending its season after a strong finish to the regular season.
"These guys have been through so much," Del Chairo said. "They went about their business, and they got the job done."