Uceta helps lift Ogden to first Pioneer League title

September 18th, 2017
Edwin Uceta, 19, allowed one run in four innings in the decisive game of the Pioneer League Championship for Rookie-level Ogden. The Raptors beat Great Falls, 8-3, Sunday night (photo by Kevin Johnson/Ogden Raptors).Kevin Johnson

It took until the final game, but the Ogden Raptors are Pioneer League Champions for the first time in franchise history.

The Raptors topped Great Falls, 8-3, in the decisive third game of the series on Sunday night.

After winning Game 1, Ogden began play Sunday with two chances to win one game and the championship. Great Falls routed the Raptors in Game 2 but the Raptors were able to gather themselves between games and bounce back with a win in the night cap.

Mitchell Hanson, who had been just 2-for-10 in the postseason, put the Raptors on the board early with a two-run double in the top of the first. Hanson's hit got the offense rolling and the Raptors broke the game open with runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings via RBI hits from Brayan Morales, Connor Heady, Luis Paz and Romer Cuadrado. With the offense rolling, it was up to Edwin Uceta and the rest of the Raptors' pitchers to keep the Voyagers' offense in check and that's exactly what happened.

Uceta, 19, was making his second start of the postseason and fired 32 of his 54 pitches for strikes. The right-hander posted a 6.59 ERA through 14 starts in the regular season, but came through when his team needed it most, surrendering just one run on three hits over four innings.

Before the series got to a third game, Great Falls came away with a big win in Game 2. Needing a win to keep their title hopes alive, the Voyagers jumped out to an early lead and crushed Ogden 15-3.

Nate Nolan, an eighth-round pick from the 2016 Draft, blew the game open with a first-inning grand slam and David Cronin made it back-to-back homers as the Voyagers put up eight runs in the opening frame.

The game may have already been well in hand, but Nolan and Cronin were far from done. The duo, who combined to go 5-for-8 with nine RBIs, would strike again as Nolan hit another homer in the third and Cronin cleared the bases with a triple in the fourth.

Cronin, a 20th-round pick in 2017, finished 2-for-4 with four RBIs, while Nolan finished the game 3-for-4 with 5 RBIs.