We Have Champions in the Angels Farm System
By: Ryan Grochmal
On what was an absolutely beautiful night here in Orem, Utah, the Los Angeles Angel’s Rookie Affiliate, the Orem Owlz, defeated the Billings Mustangs to win the Pioneer League Championship. L.J. Kalawaia drove in all three runs for the Owlz helping them to their 4th title in team history.
The Mustangs got on the board first in the top half of the 4th. A costly miscommunication by the infield allowed Jose Siri to reach second on a fly ball that was dropped in the infield. He then advanced on a fielder’s choice. With another ground ball the Mustangs were able to push across the first run of the game.
Orem answered in the bottom half of the 5th with a single by Jose Rojas. L.J. Kalawaia then launched a towering shot over the right center fence giving the Owlz a 2–1 lead.
Greg Belton replaced Jose Suarez on the mound going into the top of the 6th. Suarez pitched 5 innings and gave up 1ER. The Mustangs were able to manufacture a run with a single then a sac bunt. Taylor Trammell then drove in Alberti Chavez to even up the game at 2–2.
In the bottom of the 7th, the Owlz led off the inning with a hit by pitch and a walk. After another walk the bases were loaded for L.J. Kalawaia who drove in the winning run with a sac fly to deep center field.
Max Bethell pitched the last 3 innings for the Owlz and closed the door in the top of the ninth with the Mustangs threatening with runners on 1st and 2nd.
Of course in baseball fashion, the Owlz stormed the field in what was a wonderful celebration. It was a hard fought game where we were able to see young players make a name for themselves. The Owlz celebrated on the field and with fans after receiving the Bob Wilson trophy for winning the Pioneer League Championship.
The Owls had a season of ups and downs where they saw 60 different players make appearances on the roster. They ended the season with a 33–38 record, but were able to put together an impressive run to bring back the title to Orem.
Ladies and Gentlemen, there is hope for the Angel’s Organization. An organization that has had such a rough patch over the past few years. These young players showed what it takes to be champions. This win was a great sign for what is to come for the Angels in the future.