Ogden forces deciding game for Pioneer League title
Ogden • Getting to the Pioneer League Championship Series hasn't been the problem for the Ogden Raptors.
Winning once they get there, that's another matter.
The Raptors finally got one. The seven-game championship series losing streak is over.
In its fourth try, Ogden finally made it to the third game of the best-of-three series, surviving a 13-7 slugfest with Missoula on Thursday at Lindquist Field.
"It's huge because it gets us to tomorrow," said Damon Berryhill, now in his fourth season as Ogden manager. "This is my third one, so hopefully third time's a charm."
The series finale is scheduled for 7:05 p.m., again at Lindquist Field. Right-hander Ross Stripling (1-0, 1.24 ERA) starts for Ogden while the Osprey send their own righty, Yoimer Camacho (3-4, 4.91) to the mound.
Ogden's history in the league's championship was highlighted by failure. The Southern Division winner was swept last year by Great Falls and by Helena in 2010 and 1996.
On Tuesday, the Raptors dropped game one, 4-3, to the Northern Division title holders.
"This is the most fun game of the season," said Ogden rightfielder Jeremy Rathjen, who batted in four runs, including a two-run homer in the first inning. "You can't get ahead of yourself. Hope you just play well tomorrow.
"Hopefully, we can win two [in a row]. One step at a time."
Early on, Ogden was determined to carve out a new series trend. Thanks to a seven-run third inning, the Raptors raced out to a 10-1 lead.
Eleven batters came to the plate for Ogden in an inning highlighted by a pair of two-run singles from Eric Smith and Jeremy Rathjen.
Missoula responded with a five-run fourth to slice the lead to four runs. But Ogden dug in from there and slowly extended its lead.
Pioneer League Championship Raptors 13, Osprey 7
R Ogden's Jeremy Rathjen drives in four runs, including a two-run homer in the first inning.
• The Raptors break an 0-for-7 streak in Pioneer League Championship Series play.
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