The Idaho Falls Chukars kicked off their 2022 season on May 25. The Chukars are off to a hot start, going 10-3 in their first 13 games.
That record has them tied for first place in the Pioneer League.
This marks the second season of playing as an independent baseball league team. The team spent the previous 17 years affiliated with the Kansas City Royals.
Playing as an independent team has changed the day-to-day operations for the team.
“We got our first look at being independent last year,” said Chris Hall, assistant general manager. “What changed is that we have more control over building a winning team. In affiliated ball, it’s all about development, getting players regular at bats and opportunities to improve. In our new format, coaches are focused on winning and getting players who make an impact consistent at bats.”
Rivals of the Chukars include the Missoula Paddleheads and the Ogden Raptors.
“We’ve always had a great rivalry with Missoula and Ogden,” Hall said. “Those are games that I know players and coaches on both sides look forward to, and fans on both sides get excited for.”
The Chukars will face both rivals in back-to-back series in June. They faced the Ogden Raptors in a series starting June 14, and they will face the Missoula Paddleheads in a series beginning June 21.
“There are definitely guys we’re excited to have back after great 2021 seasons like Matt Feinstein, Jake Binder, Hunter Hisky, Victor Rodriguez (Pioneer League Pitcher of the Week) and others,” said Billy Gardner Jr., team manager. “As for the new guys, we’re excited about all of them. Sam Troyer is a guy who played well in the league last year for Missoula. Sam Kornstad had a great first game. Guys like Calvin Estrada and Tyler Wyatt spent about 10 days here last year, and we’re excited to get a full season out of them.”
Several of these players play a major role in the Chukars’s early success. The team currently leads the league in several key offensive statistics including hits, batting average, on base percentage and runs batted in.
The Chukars currently hold the second place spot in the league in average runs scored per game with 10.08.
You can find more information and statistics, or view the team’s upcoming schedule on their website here.