OGDEN — Dustyn Macaluso has played sparingly in the Frontier League and American Association the past two seasons. This year he played in Quebec for the Frontier League’s Trois-Rivières Aigles (Three Rivers Eagles), hitting .130 in 16 games before his release a week ago.
Sunday at Lindquist Field was a different story.
Macaluso, usually an outfielder, made his Ogden Raptors debut, played third base and hit 9th. And with his team rallying late in the ninth inning, he came bottom of the order.
Macaluso hit a three-run home run to complete the comeback and the Raptors earned a split with the league-leading Idaho Falls Chukars in a 12-10 win to close the series.
Macaluso went 2-for-4 with five RBIs, also hitting a two-run double in the second inning. Reese Alexiades started this inning with a solo homer to put Ogden up 3-0. That ties Alexiades leading the home runs team with Jesus Valdez at six apiece.
Christian Day pitched five solid innings in his start for the Raptors, allowing one run on four hits while striking out four. But he walked the first two batters in the sixth inning and the run snowball that Idaho Falls is capable of rolling has begun. (Those runners scored, giving his ledger day three.)
Miguel Cirino, Riley Ottesen and Evan Parker couldn’t slow down the Chukars’ rally on another windy, windy day.
Idaho Falls scored four in the sixth to take a 5-4 lead, though Cirino and Ottesen danced around several base-laden hitters that could have turned into an all-out barrage.
In the bottom of the sixth, Ogden second baseman Dakota Conners tripled Pat Adams to tie it 5-5. But Hunter Hisky homered for the visitors in the seventh and Feinstein beat Parker in the eighth to make it 10-6, which seemed to set the Chukars up for a 4-2 series win.
But a game-changing ninth inning instead saw Ogden split 3-3, the first set of this season Idaho Falls did not win.
Ogden’s Jorge Gonzalez bent the fire hose and, though he gave up a two-out double, struck out two and faced four batters to hold it at 10-6 in the top of the ninth.
In the bottom of the ninth, Idaho Falls pitchers Jonathan Nunnally and Keagan McGinnis didn’t register an out.
Freddy Achecar, Alexiades, Valdez and Jackson Lancaster all singled against Nunnally, with Sonny Ulliana drawing a walk. Singles from Valdez and Lancaster each scored a run to make it 10-8.
McGinnis faced only Macaluso and uncorked a wild pitch with the bases loaded to make it 10-9 and ultimately rob Macaluso of a grand slam. But then came Macaluso’s swing to win the match in front of a Father’s Day crowd of 3,530.
Alexiades hit 2 for 3 and scored three runs. Valdez continued his tear, hitting 2 for 3 with two RBIs and two runs, taking his average to .434 and on-base percentage to .520. Lancaster also had two hits.
Ogden will then travel to Grand Junction to play eight games from June 21-26. The Raptors and Rockies will play all six regularly scheduled games, plus two games where Ogden will play as the home team of games that were watered down May 29-30 in Ogden. Both teams will play seven-inning doubleheaders on Wednesday and Saturday.
Ogden 12, Idaho Falls 10
Northern Colorado 6, Grand Junction 5
Boise 10, Rockies 2
Missoula 5, Glacier 3
Billings 26, Great Falls 3
PIONEER LEAGUE STANDINGS
Until June 19
Idaho Falls 16-7
Great Falls 15-9
Northern Colorado 11-11
Grand Junction 10-12