Maybe deep down, Tacoma wanted it to be more dramatic.
Kole Calhoun wasn't looking for anything special in his at-bat: He just needed to put a ball into play. But the Rainiers had loaded the bags for him with a triple and two intentional walks. They worked their way to Salt Lake's best home run hitter, even bringing in a lefty with a nasty slider just for Calhoun.
One pitch was all it took. And Calhoun, who had needed just one run to break the 3-all tie, launched a walkoff grand slam to right field his first ever to give the Salt Lake Bees (48-40) a 7-3 win over the Rainiers in front of a packed-in Fourth of July crowd.
It was a finish more thrilling than the Independence Day fireworks that followed, prompting raucous cheers from the 14,583 fans.
"I really wasn't trying to do too much, and I ended up hitting it well," Calhoun said. "To have a grand slam on the Fourth of July is pretty special."
It was a spectacular ending to a stubborn stalemate. The Bees were deadlocked from the fourth inning on with the Rainiers after a three-run homer by Ty Kelly. The tie itself had been controversial, as the second-base umpire had waved off one of the outs in a Bees double play in the previous at-bat.
One of the Bees' best chances slipped by in the eighth, as the team twice had runners on third including Calhoun once and failed to score. Poorly placed bunts and a hard chopper to the mound foiled a few attempts to get home, and Luke Carlin struck out with bases loaded.
But the ninth provided new life for the Bees, as Matt Long tripled to kick off the inning. The Raniers loaded the bags to get a force-out at home, and put Bobby LaFramboise on the mound. Calhoun made them regret it.
"We had the opportunities earlier in the game," manager Keith Johnson said. "At the end of the day, we did enough good things to put ourselves in position to win the game."
Salt Lake had set the table nicely early on against their top division rival. Efren Navarro scored a run and batted in a run in the first three innings, as the Bees plated one run in each of them.
Owlz 11, Raptors 2 • Orem trounced host Ogden despite being outhit 7-6. The Raptors committed three errors in the loss.
Bees 7, Rainiers 3
O Kole Calhoun hits the fourth walk-off grand slam in franchise history.