Raptors welcome Rockies to Pioneer League in opener

Jun 17 2012 - 7:23pm

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OGDEN -- Grand Junction, Colo., has a new Pioneer League team and a newly renovated 12,000 seat, $8.3 million Suplizio Field ready to welcome it home.

Before then, however, the Grand Junction Rockies will play the first game in team history tonight against the Ogden Raptors at 7 p.m. at Lindquist Field.

The Colorado Rockies ownership purchased the Casper Ghosts last year and moved the franchise to Grand Junction, which has hosted the Junior College World Series since 1958.

The Rockies and Raptors open Pioneer League play with a three-game series in Ogden. The Rockies will play two more games in Idaho Falls before Grand Junction fans finally meet their new team Saturday.

Ogden, a Los Angeles Dodgers affiliate, is the perennial league-leader in attendance. The Raptors have played in the Pioneer League championship series the past two years but are still looking for their first league title.

The Raptors have 10 players returning from past seasons, including shortstop Justin Boudreaux, who brings a 22-game on-base streak into tonight's game carried over from last year.

Derek Cone, a 6-foot-5 right-hander taken by the Dodgers in the 31st round of the 2010 MLB draft, gets the nod on the mound on opening night.

Ogden manager Damon Berryhill is back for his fourth season with the rookie league Raptors.

"We try to win," Berryhill said. "I tell these guys we're here for a reason; we're trying to win a championship. Winning's an important part of development, but (player) development is also very important as far as individual work. I basically tell them, we're here to work our tails off. We're going to get all the work we can possibly get as far as early (batting practice), ground balls, but when game time starts, we're here to compete for a championship."

Raptors games can be heard this season on KZNS-AM 1280 and KZNS-FM 97.5 with play-by-play voice Brandon Hart at the mic.

There will be fireworks after tonight's game.

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