Minor league baseball: Division champ Bees trying to stay sharp
Although Salt Lake won the PCL Pacific Northern Division title for the second consecutive season, the clinching champagne celebration was a first for several Bees.
In this, his seventh season in professional baseball, Tuesday's party was Gary Patchett's first ever. He spent six seasons in the St. Louis organization.
"It was cool," the infielder said. "In [Single] A ball, with split halves, it's not as big a deal. This is worth it, a reward for playing 144 games."
For infielder Brandon Wood, who most likely will get a September call-up to the first-place Los Angeles Angels, Tuesday's celebration was also his first. It may be the first of many.
Francisco "K-Rod" Rodriguez holds the unofficial record for post-game revelry, having two with Salt Lake and four more with the Angels in 2002.
"If that's the case, I'd like to be up there for the experience," he said. "[Tuesday] gave me a taste."
Although Salt Lake (72-66) appeared distracted in its 10-5 loss to Fresno (74-65) on Wednesday at Franklin Covey Field before 6,084, the Bees will try to finish strong and hit the PCL playoffs, which begin in Salt Lake on Sept. 5, on a high note. Pacific Southern leader Sacramento appears to be the Bees' first-round opponent.
"As a team, we want to stay sharp," Wood said. "We have four or five games left, it's important that we're playing well going into the playoffs."
Prior to Tuesday's game, Bees' infielder Adam Pavkovich admitted that Salt Lake's players began to take a serious look at the standings about a month ago, but tried to play at the same even keel. In a 144-game schedule, it doesn't pay to get too high or too low emotionally.
"You play the same way you play the whole season," Pavkovich said. "You can't say, 'We're this close, so today I'm going to play harder.' It's such a long season, you have to approach each game the same way."
Briefly: Bartolo Colon is scheduled for his final pitching rehab assignment for Salt Lake today.
Idaho Falls 3, Orem 1: The Owlz got one RBI single while the home team Chuckars had two.
Casper 3, Ogden 2: Zack Murry's fly ball single to center proved to be the difference, driving in two RBIs.
* Salt Lake's Brandon Wood hits his 22nd homer, while Juan Rivera drives in two runs.
* Fresno's Sun Woo Kim allows seven hits and three earned runs in seven innings.
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