Angels rebound from sever loss with 3-2 win

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    By Bridget Young

    Whatever Provo Angels manager Tom Kotchman said to his players after Thursday night”s, June 24, error-fest in a 12-4 loss to Idaho Falls seemed to work.

    The Angels” defense was flawless in their matchup against the Chukars Saturday night, June 26, squeaking out a 3-2 victory in game one of a doubleheader. Game two of the doubleheader, scheduled after Friday”s game was postponed by rain, was delayed by a power outage and later called due to rain.

    “We didn”t beat ourselves,” Kotchman said. “We had five errors [Thursday]. That”s not going to win a lot of games. We didn”t make any today, I don”t think. That”s usually a good indication of what the game”s going to be.”

    Angels pitcher Billy Layman started the game against the Chukars” Jacob Mullis. Layman went two solid innings, allowing just two hits and no runs and striking out four before Karl Gelinas replaced him in the third inning.

    “Pitching”s the name of the game and tonight we had it,” Kotchman said. “I thought Layman threw the ball well.”

    Kotchman said he didn”t want to leave Layman in the game for long because he”s new to the starting position and wants him to build up to becoming a quality starter.

    “Layman was a closer in college and he”s just beginning to learn how to start,” Kotchman said. “His first outing was one inning. This one was two. Hopefully next outing he”ll get up to three, maybe four. That”s what we”re trying to do with him.”

    The Chukars drew first blood in the ball game when Brian McFall hit a two-run home run to left field off Gelinas in the fourth inning. After the two-run blast, Gelinas settled down and pitched well through two more innings, shutting down the Chukars” offense.

    “Gelinas really made one bad pitch and it went really far,” Kotchman said. “I thought Gelinas shut it down after they got the two runs. That”s what you want from a pitcher, to see how they react to a little bit of adversity and he did well.”

    The Angels” big inning came in the sixth against Chukar reliever Adam Rowe when Ben Johnson hit a double deep to left-center, scoring Nate Sutton, who had previously reached base on a walk.

    Michael Hughes then singled, moving Johnson to third. Tim Duff then grounded into a potential double play, but the throw to first got past the first baseman, scoring Johnson and tying the game at two. J.R. Renz followed with a single that scored Duff and gave the Angels a 3-2 lead.

    “When you don”t strike out and you put the ball in play, that”s the key,” Kotchman said. “When you have two strikes and you make contact, funny things can happen. You give yourself a chance.”

    Mitch Arnold closed up the game for the Angels in the seventh inning, giving them the win and picking up his third save of the season.

    On Thursday, the Angels got on the board at the bottom of the first on an infield single by Sutton and a RBI line drive off the pitcher by Clifton Remole.

    An error by second baseman Josh LeBlanc in the top of the second inning cost the Angels a possible double play and led to two runs by the Chukars. This was an early sign of trouble for the Angels as they failed to regain the lead.

    The Chukars struck again in the top of the third on another leadoff walk and a costly error on a throw to first by shortstop Billy Boyer. The Angels then pulled within one run in the bottom of the third when Hughes scored after drawing a leadoff walk.

    Provo tied the game in the bottom of the fourth when designated hitter Caleb Maher singled and scored on a wild pitch.

    Idaho Falls then seized the lead for good in the top of the fifth, scoring two runs on a one out double by McFall.

    Although Provo pitcher Bill Edwards threw a 1-2-3 inning at the top of the sixth, he took his first loss of the season.

    The Angels hope to improve their 4-4 record as they host the Southern Division-leading Ogden Raptors in a three-game homestand starting tonight at 5 p.m. at Miller Field.

    “Ogden will probably be the best club we”ve faced,” Kotchman said. “We”ll have our hands full. We can”t be making the errors that we made. If we make those errors, it will be long nights for us.”

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