Jimmy Allen (16) is congratulated by fellow Raptors after Julian Leon hit a single to bring in two...
OGDEN – The Ogden Raptors clinched a spot in the 2014 Pioneer League playoffs Sunday, defeating the Idaho Falls Chukars 14-4 at Lindquist Field.
For the second consecutive game, the Raptors tagged 18 hits en route to improving their record to 21-12 in the second half, which includes wins in 13 of their last 15 contests.
“We just have a lot of confidence right now,” Raptors center fielder Billy Bereszniewicz said. “It’s one of those points of the season where everyone is hot, and luckily it’s at the end of the season with the playoffs coming.”
Jimmy Allen and Cody Bellinger hit consecutive doubles in the third inning and Bellinger later scored on an error to give Ogden a 5-3 lead. Allen finished the game 4-for-5 with two doubles, tying him with Julian Leon for a team-high 14 doubles on the season.
The Raptors extended the lead 8-3 in the fourth inning with the help of a leadoff double from outfielder Theo Alexander. Alexander hit 3-for-5 with two doubles of his own and three runs batted in.
Usual relief pitcher Brock Stewart made his first start of the season for Ogden, improving his record to 3-2 by giving up only two earned runs and four hits across five innings. Billy Flamion pitched two innings of scoreless relief, allowing only one hit.
Ogden clinched a playoff berth after the Orem Owlz defeated the Grand Junction Rockies 15-8 Sunday to eliminate the Rockies. Ogden and Orem could still potentially tie for first place in the second-half standings, but that would still result in the playoff spot being given to the Raptors.
The Raptors received a lineup boost with a pair of call-ups to top players from the Arizona League as they prepare for the playoffs. This included 2014 second-round draft pick Alex Verdugo, who hit 3-for-5 with a double and three RBI Sunday without taking any batting practice after his sudden arrival in Ogden.
Verdugo, an outfielder drafted out of high school, had the second-highest batting average in the Arizona League this season. Ogden also added left-handed reliever Jairo Pacheco, who had the second-best earned run average in the Arizona League, and right-handed flamethrower Jose Dominguez, who was sent down from triple-A Albuquerque on a rehab assignment.
The Raptors and Chukars play again Monday at 7 p.m. Now qualified for the playoffs, Ogden is scheduled to host game one of its first-round series Friday against Orem.
STORY:201408310171Raptors clinch playoffs, down Idaho Falls/Sports/2014/08/31/Raptors-clobber-Idaho-Falls-clinch-playoffs.html-1