On Saturday, Spokane started the scoring in the top of the third against C’s righthander Paxton Schultz. An RBI single by Jack Blomgren with one out scored a leadoff walk by Niko Decolati. A two-out Aaron Schunk double brought in a Daniel Montano single home but Blomgren was thrown out at home on a 7-6-2 play to end the inning. Zac Cook got to the ball in left field, hit the cutoff man Rafael Lantigua at short and Lantigua threw it to Philip Clarke who applied the tag on Blomgren at the plate.
Schultz ran into more problems in the fourth as he issued leadoff walks to Grant Lavigne and Brenton Doyle and loaded the bases one out later by hitting Decolati with a pitch. Montano walked to score Lavigne, a wild pitch brought in Doyle and a two-run single by Javier Guevara scored Decolait and Montano Spokane’s lead to 6-0. Willy Gaston replaced Schultz but reloaded the bases when Isaac Collins doubled Guevara to third and walked Blomgren. Lavigne then doubled to drive in Guevara and Collins to put Spokane up by eight.
Vancouver got its only run in the fourth off Jared Biddy when Will Robertson ripped a solo home run to right field with two away.
A pair of walks by Gaston kickstarted another Spokane rally when Hunter Stovall and Decolati heard ball four. Montano then blooped a single to left that allowed Stovall to score. Though Guevara flied out into a 7-2-4 double play that saw Montano tagged out at second base, Collins picked up a two-out base hit to bring in Decolati with Spokane’s 10th run.
Another leadoff walk in the top of the ninth began another Spokane uprising. Montano worked the count to ball four against Gabriel Ponce and raced home on a Guevara double and fielding error by Robertson in center. Guevara got to third on the play and he made it home on a Collins groundout to first to give Spokane a dozen runs on the scoreboard.
On Sunday, Spokane started the scoring with a two-run inning again but this time one inning earlier in the second. Base hits by Brenton Doyle and Niko Decolati off C’s starter Alejandro Melean and a swipe of second by Decolati put two runners in scoring position. Kyle Datres singled home both runners with one out but was thrown out at second on a 9-3-4 play started by Will Robertson.
Vancouver cut the Spokane lead in half in the third when Rafael Lantigua launched a one-out solo homer to right-center off Trent Fennell.
Monty’s Mounties then got into the spirit of NFL Week 1 action by putting up a converted touchdown in the fifth. A Trevor Schwecke double to center and an Andres Guerra single to center forced Fennell’s exit from the game. One out later, Lantigua struck again for another home run by belting a three-run shot to right off Will Tribucher to give Vancouver a 4-2 lead. Tanner Morris reached on an infield single to second and Robertson doubled to left to place Morris at third. Philip Clarke was given an intentional walk to load the bases and Davis Schneider came up with a two-run double to center to get Morris and Robertson home. Tribucher then uncorked a wild pitch to score Clarke with Vancouver’s seventh run and after a Trevor Schwecke walk, Guerra dunked a single to left to drive in Schneider.
Spokane tried to crawl back in the seventh against Hayden Juenger. A one-out single by Daniel Cope, a wild pitch, a Jack Blomgren single and an Isaac Collins sacrifice fly got Cope home to make it an 8-3 game.
In the top of the eighth, Decolati got on base after a two-out throwing error by Schneider at third. Decolati would score when Daniel Montano singled to center off Roither Hernandez that Morris could not handle at short.
The Canadians could not take advantage of a Cook double to center to begin the first inning. He remained at second base as Biddy retired the next three hitters in a row.
The C’s strung together a pair of two-out singles to center by Cook and Tanner Morris in the third inning but Spencer Horwitz struck out on a foul trip to end the inning.
Davis Schneider drew a two-out walk after Robertson’s homer in the fourth and went to second on a wild pitch but Trevor Schwecke went down swinging against Biddy.
Lantigua had a one-out walk in the sixth against Jake Sommers but he was forced out at second when Clarke grounded into a 4-6-3 twin-killing.
The C’s had two more baserunners in the seventh when Schwecke worked a two-out walk against Sommers and Eric Rivera reached on a bloop single to center but Cook struck out swinging.
Boby Johnson stranded a two-out Lantigua double in the eighth and a two-out walk to Schwecke in the ninth. Vancouver was hitless in seven at-bats with runners in scoring position and left eight men on base.
Cook picked up his 16th double of the year among his two hits and earned two assists from left. Lantigua also reached base twice with his 22nd double and a walk.
Morris ran his on-base streak to 35 games with a single but Horwitz saw his hit streak end at 28 games after going 0-for-4.
Schultz erased a couple of singles in the first inning. He picked off Collins after his leadoff single and induced an inning-ending 5-4-3 double play from Aaron Schunk to take care of a Blomgren base hit.
Schultz was knocked around for seven runs in 3-1/3 innings on six hits, four walks and a hit by pitch. He struck out three and all three of his outs in play were on the fake turf.
Gaston allowed a Schultz runner to score and three more of his own on four hits and three walks to go along with two strikeouts in 1-1/3 innings.
Jol Concepion stranded a runner for Gaston to end the fifth and worked around a hit and a walk to start the sixth to pitch 1-1/3 shutout innings in which he struck out one.
Will McAffer walked a pair but struck out the side in the seventh and walked two more in the eighth before getting another strikeout and escaping the inning.
Ponce struck out a pair after a double, a walk and Collins’ RBI groundout in the ninth.
Defensively, the C’s turned three double plays in this one.
The Canadians tried to jumpstart the offence in the first inning when Robertson singled to center with two outs and Clarke drew a walk but Fennell struck out Zac Cook to keep the C’s off the board.
Schwecke singled with one out in the second inning but was thrown out trying to steal second base.
Clarke started the third inning with a single but was forced out on a 3-6 fielder’s choice from Cook. Schneider was then called for batter’s interference to end the inning.
A Morris one-out walk in the sixth and a Schneider two-out single in the seventh against Fineas Del Bonta-Smith went for naught. A one-out single by Lantigua off Shelby Lackey in the eighth was also stranded.
Morris’ on-base streak is now at 36 games after a single and a walk.
Lantigua and Schwecke had three hits apiece with Lantigua clubbing his 10th and 11th homers of the season while driving in four. Schwecke was a perfect 3-for-3 and also drew a walk. Robertson and Guerra had two hits apiece.
The C’s were 4-for-9 with RISP and left seven men on base.
Melean retired the side in order in the first inning and stranded a Blomgren leadoff walk and one-out Ezequiel Tovar single in the third. He completed his four-inning outing by striking out the side to strand a Datres double. Melean departed with two outs in the fifth inning after surrendering a Blomgren leadoff single. He gave up two runs on six hits and a walk with five strikeouts.
Juenger stranded Melean’s runner and gave up a run on two hits to go along with two whiffs in 2-1/3 innings to get the win. Hernandez had an unearned run on his line with one hit and one strikeout on his line in the eighth. Hagen Danner tossed a one-hit shutout ninth, ending the game by striking out Tovar swinging.
Congratulations again to C’s catcher Philip Clarke for winning his second straight High-A West Player of the Week award. The Vanderbilt catcher went 6-for-21 with two doubles, two home runs, two walks and 12 runs batted in for the week of September 7-12. Eight of those 12 RBI came in Thursday night’s win over Spokane.
If Spokane cannot catch Eugene for first place in the High-A West standings, the Canadians will have been a big reason why as the C’s won 17 out of 30 games in the season series. Eugene is one game up on Spokane and 3-1/2 ahead of Everett in the standings. Vancouver can do no better than a .500 season as they sit fourth with a record of 54-60.
The C’s head back to Hillsboro to host the Hops for the final six-game series of the season. Adam Kloffenstein will get the start in Tuesday’s opener. He’ll be followed in the rotation by Andrew Bash, Sem Robberse and Paxton Schultz. The weekend starters are TBA. The first five games are 7:05 pm starts, Sunday’s season finale is at 1:05 pm.