By Bridget Young
It was indeed a happy birthday for Mike Perdomo as he hit his first home run of the season for the Provo Angels Tuesday night, June 29, at Miller Field. However, the day was not so happy for the Angels as they lost another close game, 5-4, to the Ogden Raptors.
Provo manager Tom Kotchman said he is still finding out the strengths and weaknesses of his 14 new players on the team.
“We are just in the process of finding out who can do what and who can”t do what and, as soon as we find some of that out, we”ll start playing a line up that”s – well, we”re not going to beat ourselves as much hopefully,” Kotchman said. “When that”s going to be I don”t know yet.”
The Raptors got to an early lead as the Angels struggled to register the third out in the second, third and fourth innings, giving up five two-out runs during the three-inning stretch. Provo had several chances with men in scoring position, but left them stranded on base as poor hitting and swift plays by the Raptors plagued the Angels.
Excitement erupted in the bottom of the sixth when Andrew Toussaint blasted a three-run home run over the scoreboard in left field. With the Angels finally on the board, they attempted to gain enough momentum to capture the lead.
Barely getting on base in the seventh and eighth, the ninth inning was the last chance for Provo to get their first win of the season against the Raptors. Perdomo swung on the first pitch of the ninth inning by Ogden pitcher Aaron Klusman and sent the ball soaring over the center field wall for the second home run of the game.
The Angels, within one run of the Raptors, put Matt LeBlanc in as a pinch runner after Ryan Leahy singled to get on base. With two outs, newcomer Sean Rodriguez also singled to get on base. Ben Johnson was then brought in to bring the two men home, pinch-hitting for Caleb Maher. The strategy didn”t work for Provo as Johnson ended the game on the Angels” eighth strikeout of the night.
“[Relievers Nick] Green and [Casey] Mutter did a very good job to give us a chance to come back, they threw five shutout innings,” Kotchman said. “So it”s very positive on that end of it, and we came back and made it close. But that only counts in hand grenades.”
Changes to the team roster could have affected Provo”s game Tuesday night. Shortstop Billy Boyer was called up to the Cedar Rapids Kernels Tuesday afternoon in a swap for Rodriguez, the Kernels” shortstop.
“Sean Rodriguez is a year out of high school,” Kotchman said. “He”s a kid that hopefully will bring us some stability at shortstop. He”s a guy that can hopefully bring some offense to the club.”
Rodriguez proved a valuable player for Cedar Rapids playing every position but catcher and pitcher. The infielder/outfielder batted .250, had 17 RBI, and a team led 14 stolen bases this season with the Kernels. In Tuesday”s game, Rodriguez got two hits, breaking a bat in the bottom of the second for a single and sending another hit to left-center in the bottom of the ninth.
For now, Kotchman wants to work on bringing his team back to the basics.
“We”ve just got to get better at the little things in the game that don”t show up in the box score, like dropping the ball, like second and third and nobody out, not scoring a run, that”s just fundamental little stuff,” Kotchman said. “That”s just baseball and you”ve got to learn how to play the game.”
The Angels hope to improve on their 4-6 record tonight in the second match-up of the season against the Idaho Falls Chukars.