The streak continues.
The opening-night streak, anyway.For the fifth straight season opener, the Trappers came up with a victory, this one 7-4 over Idaho Falls Wednesday in Derks Field in the club's first season opener at home.
Manager Nick Belmonte said his players read in the papers all week how Salt Lake hadn't lost an opener since its maiden game June 20, 1985, and that added pressure.
"It was important to get the win," Belmonte said. "Now we can kind of relax and come back and play ball."
The Trappers and Braves meet in Derks tonight and Friday at 7.
Wednesday, the atmosphere did a good imitation of the real Streak, in 1987, when the Trappers won 29 straight, and actor Bill Murray brought Huey Lewis and the News in to sing the National Anthem as the Trappers made baseball history.
Murray, a Trapper owner, was back in the park for the first time since The Streak, cruising the stands.
Jazz president Frank Layden was there, too, throwing out a first pitch, along with Utah football Coach Ron McBride, Golden Eagle captain Rich Chernomaz and Sting Coach Laurie Calloway. Also introduced before the game were former Trapper managers Barry Moss (1988 and '89) and Jim Gilligan, who guided the '87 Streakers.
It all apparently was inspiring to Trapper Mike Moberg, a 5-foot-8, 165-pound center fielder.
With Idaho Falls leading 2-0 in the first inning after a double, triple and sacrifice against Trapper starter Willie Ambos, Dennis Kidd was awarded first base on catcher's interference to lead off the Trapper offensive season.
That brought up Moberg, who slashed a home run over the wall in left to tie the game. His next time up, to lead off the third, Moberg doubled and scored on two groundouts for a 4-2 lead.
"I've never encountered that," said Moberg about rubbing elbows with Murray, who took batting practice and led the club in abdominal drills on Tuesday.
The crowd of 6,979 "was a rarity for me," said Moberg.
And the home run? "A mistake for me, a little guy like me," Moberg said. "It's the first I ever hit with a wood bat."
Moberg still took a business-like approach on the bases after the homer.
"He seemed fairly composed going by me," said Belmonte, coaching third at the time. "More composed than I was."
"I didn't want to show up the pitcher," said Moberg, who admitted to high-fives in privacy of the dugout.
The Streak City boys, 4-0 in season openers against Idaho Falls, started out looking like their famous predecessors. On the game's first play, shortstop John Urcioli ranged far left for a grounder and made the throw in time.
Urcioli had other strong plays, too, but he was nearly the goat in the last inning when a walk and his error on a sure double-play ball brought up the tying run with one out.
Belmonte was ready to pull reliever Randy White until he threw that potential double-play ball. That earned him another batter, and he got another double-play ball to Urcioli. Urcioli fielded cleanly, and Ed Garczyk's relay to Butch Harris ended the game.
"I'm sure that kid's glad he got a second chance," said Idaho Falls Manager Steve Curry. "He made some nice plays early that saved some runs."
Ambos and White teamed for pretty good night for two guys who hadn't thrown a competitive pitch since August. White spent last year with Idaho Falls and Ambos with San Bernardino. Both were released. Neither had spring training or a college season. "I felt like I've had a long layoff," said Ambos, noting mechanical problems.
Though three were for extra bases, Ambos gave up just five hits and three runs and didn't walk anybody. The Chris Burton sun-field double followed by the Grant Brittain triple in the first weren't a problem. "I don't get concerned. Notoriously, I've been a slow starter. I wasn't prepared for four left-handers from the get-go," he said.
Two years ago when he was first a Trapper, Ambos might have hit the batter following home-run hitter Jeffrey Orr. But it was 6-3. "It wasn't the place or the time," said Ambos, who got stronger with each setback.
Like White. Twice White threw double-play balls to end innings - well, three times, actually - and with a run in and two on in the eighth, he got a popup and a groundout to escape another.