The Vancouver Canadians will close out the first half with a series victory under their belts and have a chance for a sweep. They dumped the Tri-City Dust Devils 10-1 at Nat Bailey Stadium Sunday afternoon.
The C’s struck first in their first at-bat when Trevor Schwecke and Philip Clarke singled off Nick Thwaits with Schwecke able to jump over the ball hit by Clarke to right field. McGregory Contreras doubled to center to bring home Schwecke but Clarke was thrown at the plate on an 8-6-2 putout. Will Robertson would drive in that second run with a single to cash in Contreras.
The fourth inning saw Vancouver add to its lead when Contreras launched a home run to left-center field to begin the frame. Thwaits would walk the bases loaded by issuing ball fours to Robertson, Brett Wright and Luis De Los Santos. Ronny Brito tapped one in front of home plate just far enough for catcher Jonny Homza to vacate his spot. He had to settle for throwing out Brito at first and that allowed Robertson to score the fourth Vancouver run.
The C’s were poised for a bigger inning with Wright at third and De Los Santos at second with Abbadessa at the dish and just one away. However, Abbadessa hit a ground ball to second and it resulted in Wright getting hung up between third and home and he was tagged out. De Los Santos also got caught in a rundown between second and third and was tagged out.
Tri-City got its first run in the fifth when Homza led off with a double against Adam Kloffenstein. Homza would complete his journey home by tagging up on fly balls from Jack Stronach and Reinaldo Ilarazza.
Vancouver was held at bay by Dan Dallas in the fifth and sixth before erupting in the seventh against Jake Sims. The Guelph, Ontario hurler walked Brito but it looked like he would get out of the inning after Dom Abbadessa flied out and Brito was thrown out trying to steal second. Schwecke kept the inning going with a walk on a 3-2 pitch and Yorman Rodriguez ripped a thunder bolt that cleared the left field porch in a hurry, so much so that left fielder Sean Guilbe did not even move. The C’s continued the onslaught as Clarke doubled and Contreras singled him to third. Clarke was held up at third after he was thrown out at home plate in the first. Both Clarke and Contreras would come home on a two-run single by Robertson. Ilarraza was waving off everyone from second base on the Robertson popup but the ball touched down on the grass and the result was two runs crossing the plate. Brett Wright knocked Sims out of the game with a two-run home run to left-center to give the C’s double digits in the run column. Wright had just missed a home run to left in his previous at-bat.
Starlin Cordero had trouble throwing strikes as he walked the bases loaded with De Los Santos, Brito and Abbadessa all getting on base before striking out Schwecke to stop the bleeding.
Kloffenstein worked six innings of one-run ball by scattering four hits and walk. He struck out four and produced six outs on the ground to get the win. Josh Almonte, Nicolas Medina and Luke Gillingham pitched shutout relief over the final three frames.
Radar Gun Rundown
Kloffenstein registered offerings of 80, 82-84, 87 and 89-94 miles per hour on the radar gun with strikeouts at 80, 85, 82 and 82. Almonte was at 78, 79, 81, 87, 90 and 92-95. Medina checked in at 73, 74, 79, 88 and had a strikeout at 90. Gillingham got a strikeout at 88 and was also clocked at 84.
Schwecke showed good range on a ground ball by Luis in the second and made a nice off-balance throw to help Kloffenstein record a 1-2-3 inning. Kloffenstein looked to have completed the frame one pitch earlier as Clarke caught an 83 mile per hour pitch that appeared to be strike three. The former Vanderbilt catcher was about to head to the dugout but Nick McFarland called the pitch a ball. Kloffenstein would settle the issue by getting Homza swinging at an 85 mile per hour offering to finish the inning.
Clarke was robbed of a hit in the third inning as Jack Stronach ran down a ball in right field and made a snow-cone catch.
Medina came out of the bullpen to get a key out when it was still only a 4-1 ballgame in the seventh. He stranded the bases loaded for Almonte by getting an inning-ending ground ball to third. Almonte issued four walks but did not give up a run thanks to a double play that was turned by Brito at short. Nick Gatewood led off the seventh with a walk and took off for second when Luis hit the ball right to Brito who was covering the bag. Almonte could not settle in despite the twin-killing as he walked three straight hitters before being bailed out by Medina. The eighth inning saw Medina work around a flare single to Acosta and a hit by pitch to Gatewood to put up another zero on the board.
Dust Devils infielder Kelvin Alarcon was warming up in the bullpen during the marathon seventh inning but he did not enter the game. The Canadians sent 12 men up to the plate in that six-run outburst.
All nine Canadians hitters got on base at least once by a hit or a walk. The 11 hits Vancouver recorded all came from the top six hitters in the order with Contreras and Robertson getting three apiece. The offence also added eight walks.
The C’s wrap up the first half with one more game against Tri-City. The C’s have listed William Gaston as their starter. Ignacio Feliz goes for the Dust Devils. The game can be heard on Sportsnet 650 and CanadiansBaseball.com beginning at 7:05 pm. 16-year major leaguer Ryan Dempster of Gibsons, BC will be at the Nat to sign autographs on the first base concourse.
Should Vancouver win the North Division in the second half, they will need to go through Spokane to get to the Northwest League final. The Indians clinched the first half title with a come-from-behind win in Everett Sunday. The Salem-Keizer Volcanoes clinched the first-half South Division flag to outlast Hillsboro.