The Vancouver Canadians completed the first half of their Northwest League season with a walk-off win. The C’s rallied from 3-0 down to defeat the Tri-City Dust Devils 4-3 in 10 innings at Nat Bailey Stadium Monday.
The first run of the game came in the fourth inning and it belonged to the Dust Devils. Reinaldo Ilarraza handcuffed Trevor Schwecke at first with a ground ball that deflected into right field and Ilarraza sped into second on the two-base error. Carlos Luis would double off William Gaston with one out by lifting the ball over the head of Dom Abbadessa in left to bring home Ilarraza. Gaston got into a bases loaded jam with just one out but he limited the damage by inducing a pair of fly outs to end the Tri-City threat.
Tri-City tacked on two more runs in the eighth when Luis Quinones gave out a free pass to Ilarraza to start the frame. The Northwest League leader in stolen bases swiped second. Luis drew a one-out walk to force Quinones’ exit from the game. Andy McGuire came into the contest and got Logan Driscoll to fly out to center for the first out but he hit Jonny Homza with a pitch before giving up a two-run single to Mason House that scored Ilarraza and pinch-runner Kelvin Alarcon. Homeza tried to go from first to third but he was thrown out on a 9-3-5 play started by Adrian Ramos for the third out.
The C’s had five outs to play with in the bottom of the eighth inning. Tanner Morris got on base when Alarcon dropped a sky-high pop-up at first base. Schwecke would also get on base on a miscue when Homza’s throw from third base was off the mark. Morris nearly overran the second base bag but was able to stay on the pillow. Dust Devils reliever Deivy Mendez walked Philip Clarke to load the bases and then plunked Ramos on the batting helmet to send home Morris with Vancouver’s first run. Ramos was able to remain the game after being checked over by the trainer. Mason Fox relieved Mendez and was greeted by a Jesus Lopez base hit that plated Schwecke. Luis De Los Santos tied the game on a fielder’s choice grounder to third that scored Clarke but Ramos was thrown out at the plate on a 5-6-2-4-6 play to keep the game tied into the 10th.
With Philip Clarke at second to start the inning, Dust Devils pitcher Deacon Medders issued an intentional walk to Morris but gave up a single to Lopez to load the bases. Tri-City manager and former Toronto Blue Jay Mike McCoy opted to bring in left fielder Jack Stronach to man the second base side of the infield and as it turned out, Cameron Eden hit a ball right to Stronach who forced out Clarke at home for a 7-2 putout. Stronach went back to left field and he would be the one to see De Los Santos’ walk-off hit to left to score Morris with the winning run.
That base hit by De Los Santos snapped a 0-for-22 skid for him against Tri-City. De Los Santos was also responsible for Vancouver’s first walk-off win against Spokane earlier in the season.
Radar Gun Rundown
Gaston was at 73, 77, 81, 88-94 and 96 miles per hour with a strikeout at 89. Gaston was pretty animated after that punchout. Quinones checked in 79-81, 91-93, 95 and 98 with strikeouts at 93, 93, 83, 79 and 83. McGuire ranged from 88-92 and 94-95. He quick-pitched Ilarraza to get a strike. Huffman was around 93-96 with a strikeout at 94.
Vancouver’s defence helped Gaston face the minimum in the first inning. Lopez threw out Jordy Barley trying to steal second after he started the game with a walk. Morris showed good athleticism by making a swipe tag Javy Baez-style as he came over from short to cover the bag. It appeared Morris may have been spiked on the play but he was able to stay in the game. On the next play, Ronny Brito ranged towards right field before spinning and firing to Gaston covering the bag at first to get Matthew Acosta on a 4-1 inning-ending putout.
Eden had the first Vancouver hit with a double off Ignacio Feliz with two away in the second. De Los Santos drilled one up the middle that appeared to go off the rear end of Feliz but the ball deflected to Luis at first and he made it to the bag in time to get Tri-City out of the inning.
McGregory Contreras made a nice leaping catch at the wall in right field to rob Tre Carter of a hit in the third.
Brito singled to start the third and was bunted to second by Abbadessa. A ground ball to Barley at short by Morris pushed Brito to third. Barley thought about throwing over to third before uncorking a high throw to first but Luis was able to come down with the ball and jump on the first base bag for the second out. Schwecke would go down on strikes for out number there.
Contreras was drilled right in the back by an Ignacio pitch in the bottom of the fourth. A two-out bunt single by Eden extended the inning but the C’s came up empty De Los Santos grounded out.
Vancouver tried their luck again in the fifth when Brito reached first on a throwing error by Homza at third. Abbadessa was robbed of a hit on a running catch by Carter in right-centre field. Morris got Brito to second with a base hit to left but Schwecke hit into a room service 5-3 inning-ending 5-3 double play as the ball was hit right to Homza near the third base bag.
Contreras was lifted for a pinch-runner after a base hit in the sixth inning. Ramos took over and would later drive in the first Canadians run and score the eventual winner.
Brito hit one well to the warning track in center field before Carter caught up to it in the seventh inning. Abbadessa then picked up a two-out base hit off Tom Colletti but was throwing out stealing to end the frame.
Tri-City got one runner on in the ninth when Carter singled off McGuire with one out but Lopez threw out him trying to swipe second to send the game to the bottom of the ninth.
The C’s got Brito aboard with a leadoff single in the ninth and rumbled over to third on a Fox wild pitch and a Quintero throwing error behind the plate. Abbadessa struck out before Morris was walked intentionally to set up the double play. Vancouver could not put the ball in play as Schwecke and Clarke went down swinging.
Grayson Huffman found himself in quite a pickle in the top of the 10th. He balked Barley to third base but induced a pop-up to first from Ilarraza for the first out. Huffman got Acosta to hit a grounder to second where Brito threw home to nail Barley at the plate. Huffman tried to pick off Acosta at first but Schwecke was charged with an error on a missed catch. Huffman then struck out Alarcon to leave Acosta 180 feet away.
Congratulations goes out to Adam Kloffenstein as he was named the Northwest League Pitcher of the Week. The Magnolia, Texas native allowed just one run over 11 innings to win starts against Tri-City July 15 and 21.
The second half of the season gets underway tonight as the Everett Aquasox pay a visit to the Nat. Rob Fai will have the call of the game at 7:05 pm on Sportsnet 650 and CanadiansBaseball.com. Seattle first rounder George Kirby is slated to start for the Frogs. The C’s have not yet named a starter.