A two-run triple by Kacy Clemens drove in the winning run for the C’s Saturday night.
Playoff baseball will be returning to Nat Bailey Stadium in 2017 as the Vancouver Canadians captured the first-half North Division title with a 7-6 victory against the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes at Volcanoes Stadium Saturday night. It marks the first time the C’s have clinched a playoff berth in the season’s first half since their short-season history began in 2000.
Vancouver looked to break though with the game’s first run in the first when Kevin Vicuna lined a single to left off Matt Lujan but he was thrown out trying to go for a double. That especially hurt when Logan Warmoth tripled but Riley Adams flied out to center for out number three.
Dalton Rodriguez pitched into the seventh inning thanks to 11 groundball outs.
Dalton Rodriguez had a rocky first inning when Malique Ziegler doubled and scored on a Shane Matheny base hit. Bryce Johnson got aboard on a bunt single to the mound to send Matheny to second. After a Ryan Kirby fly ball advanced Matheny to third, Orlando Garcia‘s groundout to third brought in Matheny to make it 2-0 Salem-Keizer.
Brandon Polizzi got Vancouver on the board with an RBI single.
Vancouver would fight back in the top of the second when Kacy Clemens singled and stole second base. Cullen Large advanced Clemens to third with a ground ball to the right side of the infield. Deiferson Barreto lined out to short but Norberto Obeso extended the inning with a walk to put runners on the corners. Brandon Polizzi drove in the C’s first run with an infield single to short to score Clemens before Reggie Pruitt scored Obeso with a single to tie the game at 2-2. Vicuna would leave Polizzi and Pruitt aboard by striking out.
Rodriguez gave up a couple of singles to Michael Sexton and Dalton Combs but he kept the game tied after two with a strikeout of Rob Calabrese and a pair of groundball outs from Ziegler and Matheny.
Both teams did not score in the third as Adams had the only hit in the top half while Rodriguez retired the side in order in the bottom half, capping it off with a strikeout by Garcia.
Kevin Vicuna had a three-hit night and stole his 13th base of the season.
Vancouver would grab the lead in the fourth when Obeso and Polizzi walked with one out. Pruitt would force out Polizzi at second but Vicuna came through with a two-out base hit off Peter Lannoo with a line drive to the mound to score Obeso. A shaken-up Lannoo stayed in the game but gave up another hit to Warmoth that scored Pruitt to expand Vancouver’s lead to two. Adams would reach on an error at third by Matheny but Clemens struck out to leave the bases loaded.
Riley Adams had two hits, a walk and threw out a runner trying to steal.
Rodriguez enjoyed his second straight clean inning in the fourth and after Vancouver went down in order in the fifth, he overcame a hit by pitch to Combs and a walk to Matheny to get out of the fifth unscathed. He got some help from Adams who gunned down Combs trying to steal second.
A Vicuna single and stolen base did not amount to anything for Vancouver in the sixth but Rodriguez cruised through the bottom half with another 1-2-3 inning that ended with a punchout of Manuel Geraldo.
Norberto Obeso got on base four times against the Volcanoes Saturday.
Vancouver would add a run in the seventh when Adams singled, went to second on a Large base rap and advanced to third on a Barreto fielder’s choice. Obeso would bring in Adams with a base hit off Logan Webb to right to increase Vancouver’s lead to 5-2.
Rodriguez faced two batters in the seventh but Sexton and Calabrese chased him from the game with a couple of singles. Miguel Burgos was greeted by a run-scoring single by Combs to plate Sexton to draw the Volcanoes within two. Burgos would handle a bunt by Ziegler to force out Calabrese at third but he walked Matheny to load the bases. A Johnson single and a Kirby sacrifice fly would draw Salem-Keizer even.
Logan Warmoth enjoyed his second straight three-hit game and stole his first base of the season in Salem-Keizer.
The C’s saw Pruitt and Vicuna ground out to short to start the eighth but Warmoth kept the inning going with a base hit off John Russell and he would get to third on a walk to Adams along with a wild pitch. Clemens then lifted a triple to center field to score Warmoth and Adams to help the C’s regain the lead at 7-5.
Orlando Pascual got the victory after recording all of his outs via the strikeout.
Orlando Pascual took over in the eighth and lost Geraldo on a leadoff walk on a full-count pitch but he more than made up for it by striking out the side swinging as he sat down Sexton, Calabrese and Combs.
Vancouver looked for more insurance in the top of the ninth when Obeso collected a one-out single but he was thrown out trying to swipe second. Pascual came back out for the ninth and handed out another leadoff walk to Ziegler and he proceeded to steal second before getting to third on a balk. Pascual would strike out Matheny swinging and catch Johnson looking to put the C’s one out away from victory. Pascual would walk Kirby and manager Rich Miller made the call to the bullpen to William Ouellette but the Cal State San Bernadino product threw one to the backstop that scored Ziegler and brought pinch-runner Logan Baldwin over to second as the potential tying run. That brought Garcia to the plate and he gave the C’s an anxious moment by working the count full before lining one to Vicuna at short for the final out.
William Ouellette got the final out of the nervous ninth for the save.
Vancouver pounded out 15 hits in this one with Vicuna and Warmoth leading the way with three apiece. Adams, Clemens and Obeso all had two-hit performances with Obeso walking twice and Adams walking once. Polizzi had a hit and a walk while Pruitt and Large also contributed with a knock each. Only Barreto went hitless as he was not rewarded for the hard contact he produced according to the radio broadcast. The C’s were 6-for-19 with runners in scoring position and left 11 men on. They were 3-for-4 stealing bases with Clemens stealing his fourth, Vicuna swiping his 13th and Warmoth his first. According to the broadcast, the C’s could have been 4-for-4 in that department but Obeso appeared to have been hosed by the base umpire.
Rodriguez’s pitching line was made a little worse after the two singles he allowed in the seventh came around to score after his exit but he delivered six-plus solid innings of work in which he produced 11 groundball outs. He gave up four runs on seven hits, a walk and a hit by pitch to go along with three strikeouts. Burgos allowed the two inherited runners to score and one of his own in the seventh on two hits and a walk. He helped mitigate the damage by fielding his position and cutting down the lead runner at third on a bunt attempt. Pascual did not allow the ball to be put into play in his 1-2/3 innings as he walked three and struck out five as he was awarded the victory to improve to 2-0. Ouellette uncorked a wild pitch to allow Pascual’s run to score but he recorded the game’s final out for his fourth save of the year.
Dalton Rodriguez tweeted out a video of the C’s celebrating their first-half North Division title.
— dalton rodriguez (@DaltonRdz96) July 23, 2017
Here’s another celebration clip.
Vancouver broadcaster Rob Fai posted a YouTube video of manager Rich Miller’s post-game speech to the players.
Here is the first-half North Division championship logo.
The last time the Vancouver Canadians were in the playoffs was in 2014 and a player who played a big part in that is now a New York Yankee. First baseman Ryan McBroom was traded to the Bronx Bombers for second baseman Ryan Refsnyder. McBroom belted 11 home runs and slugged .502 during his time with the C’s. The Fredericksburg, Virginia native did not have to move too far to join his new organization. McBroom just has to switch locker rooms by moving from the visiting New Hampshire Fisher Cats clubhouse to the Trenton Thunder’s. The 25 year-old right-handed hitter was batting .243 with 12 home runs and 54 runs batted in for New Hampshire.
New addition Ryan McBroom powers through interview, as former teammates shout “Broom don’t go!” In the background pic.twitter.com/x7Pb0r3Zvd
— Trenton Thunder (@TrentonThunder) July 23, 2017
Jason Leblebijian (2012-2013) and Dwight Smith Jr. (2012) homered, Jon Berti (2011) doubled twice and Roemon Fields (2014) had two hits and a stolen base as Buffalo blanked Louisville. Andrew Case (2014-2015) completed the last two innings without a run scored.
McBroom’s last game in the Jays system resulted in a 0-for-3 as New Hampshire lost to Trenton in a rain-shortened game. Daniel Young (2015) had three scoreless frames in relief while Tom Robson (2013, 2015) gave up a run over 1-2/3 innings in his Double-A debut.
Connor Panas (2015) finished a triple short of the cycle whie Cavan Biggio (2016) homered, singled and walked twice as Dunedin came from behind to beat Lakeland. Juan Kelly (2015) and Michael De La Cruz (2014) had two hits apiece with De La Cruz scoring four times. Alonzo Gonzalez (2013) was the winning pitcher with 2-1/3 innings of shutout ball and Jackson McClelland (2015-2016) picked up the save.
Nash Knight (2016) had two hits and Nick Sinay (2016) walked and was hit by the baseball but Lansing was run over by Cedar Rapids.
Patrick Murphy (2016) struck out six over three shutout frames for the win to help the Gulf Coast League Blue Jays beat up the Braves.
Vancouver not only clinched the first-half North Division title but have guaranteed themselves a winning record for the first half as they enter today’s first-half finale against Salem-Keizer with a 20-17 record. Last night’s win helped the C’s outlast the Tri-City Dust Devils who briefly kept their playoff hopes alive with a win over Eugene Saturday night. Now Eugene needs to win and hope Hillsboro loses Sunday as those teams battle it out for the South Division first-half crown.
The C’s can take a breather with their playoff invitation secured. Brody Rodning is expected to get the call for the 5:05 pm start at Volcanoes Stadium. That game can be heard on CanadiansBaseball.com.