Owlz falter night after clinching

A night after clinching the second-half South Division championship and assuring themselves a first-round playoff matchup with Idaho Falls, many of the Orem Owlz regulars got the night off. It showed as the club managed just two hits.

Trevor Bell, who would likely start the deciding game should the first round playoff matchup with the Chukars go to three games, was impressive in finishing off his first professional season. The righty gave up just one earned run on five hits and a walk while setting a season high with nine strikeouts over six innings. The only run came across on a wild pitch.

The performance was enough to cement his claim as the third member of the Owlz rotation with an ERA among the top eight in the league, and helped him claim the lead with 82.1 innings of work.

Unfortunately for Bell, his offense could never get anything going in the contest.

After going hitless through the first four and one third innings, the Owlz got a triple from infrequent starter Darrell Sales, but Brooks Shankle then tapped a ball back to the pitcher, who retired Sales at home as he tried to score.

After that missed opportunity, Orem didn't pick up another hit until Matt Sweeney's one-out single in the ninth. The start was Sweeney's first for the Owlz and continued a remarkable professional debut for the Maryland teenager.

Sweeney and Sales weren't the only two starters in the lineup who weren't used to getting the opening nod. Fellow promotee Clayton Fuller started in center field while Ricky Bambino made just his third appearance behind the plate in a month and Carlos Colmenares shifted back over to second base.

Because the Owlz won both the division title in both halves of the season, they will play against the two-time runners-up in the best-of-three first round of the playoffs. They open Friday on the road, then would return to Orem for the final two contests.

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