Owlz manager Tom Kotchman won his fourth pennant in six years Saturday when his team beat Missoula 13-10.
Is there a better manager in minor league baseball than Tom Kotchman?
Kotch has taken the Provo/Orem franchise to the post-season every year since it relocated to Utah County from Helena, Montana in 2001. He won a pennant at Provo in 2004, then the franchise moved six miles west to Orem where he won pennants in 2005 and 2007.
Now add 2009 to the list.
The odds were against them, but the Owlz won 13-10 last night at Missoula to win their fourth pennant in six years.
Although they had the best overall record in the league at 51-25 (.671), they lost Game #1 at home in their best-of-three series against the Osprey. That meant they had to win Games #2 and #3 on the road at Missoula.
The Owlz won Game #2 Friday 10-0 on a complete game shutout by Stephen Locke to force Game #3, winner take all.
Orem got out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the 1st thanks to a three-run homer by Casey Haerther, but the Osprey answered with three in the bottom of the first off Orangel Arenas. The Owlz added single runs in the 3rd and 4th, then posted six runs in the 5th for what seemed like a safe 11-3 lead.
Going to the bottom of the 9th, the Osprey trailed 13-4, but started to chip away against the Owlz’ bullpen, their weak spot most of the year. By the time David Carpenter struck out Jae Yun Kim to end the game, Missoula had whittled down the deficit to 13-10.
Kotch is quite happy with his dual life as a Florida scout and short-season manager, but I often wonder what would happen if he was handed the opportunity to run a big league club the way he wants, similar to Mike Scioscia’s arrangement in Anaheim.
The Owlz’ webcast failed early in the game, apparently due to the loss of an Internet connection in the Missoula broadcast booth, but I did capture Missoula’s webcast. Click Here to listen to the Osprey webcast of the Owlz’ pennant victory. (WIndows Media Player required.)
UPDATE September 22, 2009 — The Owlz’ front office informed me they didn’t lose their signal during the game, so why it didn’t work here in Florida is beyond me. Anyway, all their post-season games are archived at audio.oremowlz.com.