Back to normal.

Last year, the Salt Lake Trappers lost their season opener for the first time since 1985, but Wednesday night in Alumni Coliseum, the Traps scratched for a tiebreaking run in the ninth inning and defeated the Butte Copper Kings 5-4 for their sixth season-opening win in eight tries."I was satisfied, especially since we haven't been able to work out because of the (rainy) weather; we haven't taken infield or live batting practice for three days, and it showed early," said Trapper manager Nick Belmonte, whose '91 club survived last year's opening loss and eventually had the best winning percentage in pro baseball for the season, .700 (49-21).

For eight innings, the Traps had watched fleet rookie leadoff hitter Pookie Wilson ground out or fly out. He's the leadoff hitter because of good speed.

Finally, with one out in the ninth and the game tied 4-4 thanks to two Butte runs in the eighth, Wilson drew a walk. Just like that, he was on second base with a steal, and Tim Rigsby's infield hit sent him to third.

With two out and bases loaded, rookie Andrew Jackson, a right-hander, was called upon to pinch hit for lefty Tim Clark against Butte left-handed reliever Jack Kimel. Kimel's first pitch to Jackson was in the dirt and bounced away from catcher Jamie Bethke, and the speedy Wilson beat the throw home with what turned out to be the winning run.

"Pookie did an excellent job in a tie ballgame, getting on and making things happen," said Belmonte, who expects just that from him. "The wild pitch didn't go far from the catcher, but we were looking for something we could gamble on, and he got a great jump in a close play."

Reliever Bobby Ryan, who was greeted in the eighth by back-to-back Butte doubles and a single for two runs, set down the Copper Kings easily on a strikeout and two groundouts in the ninth to pick up the victory.

He was the Trappers' second pitcher of the night, though, Jim Guidi, the returnee from last year's Pioneer League championship team, made the win possible.

Butte scored twice in the second inning off starter Cecil Pettiford - two infield singles, a bad-bounce triple and a throwing error by catcher Randy Snyder - but Guidi pitched the next five innings allowing no runs and no hits while striking out four.

Belmonte said Guidi, who hasn't pitched professionally since the Trappers' title-winning game Sept. 3, 1991, "looked like the same pitcher that threw the middle innings of the championship (4 2/3 innings, two hits, no runs, three strikeouts) a game."

The Trappers had started poorly on offense against Butte lefty Mark O'Brien. He faced only 12 batters through his first 3 2/3 innings, striking out six - four in a row at one point. "With two strikes, he'd throw a nice curve and freeze out hitters," said Belmonte.

George Baker in the fourth inning was the first Trapper to get to second base for the season, getting on with an error and moving up on a wild pitch. But O'Brien got out of that inning on a groundout before getting stung for two runs to tie the game in the fifth.

Trapper first baseman Les Jennette, who went 3-for-4 with a double, two singles, a run scored and one driven in, singled to open the fifth. He was followed by third baseman Billy Vosik's double - he had two hits and a walk - to put Jennette at third. Second baseman Eddie Ortega's fly to short left field was caught, then dropped, as Jennette rushed home safely. Ortega was given a sacrifice fly and RBI despite the E-7. Vosik scored on Wilson's sacrifice fly.

While Guidi was mowing 'em down, the Trappers added a run in the sixth on Baker's double and Jennette's single, and another in the seventh on Snyder's single and stolen base and Rigsby's single for a 4-2 Trapper lead.

The Trappers and Copper Kings continue their three-game opening series Thursday and Friday at Butte, 7 p.m. MDT. Trapper left-hander Art Canestro is scheduled to start Thursday's game. He'll have a 35-pitch limit and be followed by Chris Schultea, Jon Harden and perhaps John Gilligan.

Salt Lake returns to Derks Field for its season opener Saturday against Idaho Falls, which is still sponsored by the Atlanta Braves but has changed its nickname to the Gems. That kicks off a seven-game homestand.