If you can’t go out with a championship, at least go out with a win.
The Tri-City Dust Devils got to blow out the speakers in the Dave Lemak Clubhouse one last time in 2013, beating the Vancouver Canadians 11-1 in the team’s Northwest League finale Monday at Gesa Stadium.
The Dust Devils won in memorable fashion, cracking double-figures in runs for just the fourth time this season.
Not bad for a team that averaged just 3.6 runs a game to finish seventh out of eight NWL teams.
But every Tri-City hitter contributed to the offensive outburst Monday, either scoring or driving in a run to give the 2,504 fans in attendance something to remember.
The fans themselves were something to remember in 2013.
While a rainout on Aug. 25 eliminated one of the Dust Devils’ box office dates and prevented the team from breaking the team’s total attendance for the year, they still broke the franchise record for average attendance.
Over 37 dates, Tri-City averaged 2,270 fans, which eclipsed the record of 2,266 set last season.
“That’s certainly our expectation every year,” Dust Devils General Manager Derrell Ebert said in regard to the record. “The support we get here allows us to do that.”
It wasn’t just the offense that stood out in the finale.
Konner Wade, the Colorado Rockies’ seventh-round draft pick out of the University of Arizona, won his third consecutive decision after losing his first seven starts.
Wade, a 6-foot-3 right-hander, allowed one unearned run on seven hits over 52⁄3 innings to improve to 7-3.
“Unfortunately, we’re not going to the playoffs, but it’s definitely fun to finish on a strong note,” said Wade, who went 3-1 with a 0.63 ERA over his last five starts. “Early in the season, I wasn’t consistently in the (strike) zone. I made some adjustments.”
Kyle Von Tungeln looked like he might make a (literal) run into the NWL record books, stealing four bases in the first three innings.
But Tri-City took a 9-1 lead in the bottom of the fifth, which eliminated the need for stolen bases.
But the Sugar Land, Texas, native scored three times to finish tied for second on the team with Patrick Valaika with 27 runs.
Julian Yan had the big hit of the night, highlighting Tri-City’s seven-run fifth inning with a three-run triple to right. He finished 2-for-5. with a pair of RBIs.
Justin James (1-7) took the loss for Vancouver, giving up three runs — two earned — on just three hits in 3 2⁄3 innings. But he walked three batters, two of whom came around to score.
Note: Tri-City 3B Michael Benjamin made a strong defensive play to end the sixth inning, hustling up the third base line to barehand a throw to first, just in time to get Melvin Garcia.
NWL playoff outlook
North Division, Everett vs. Vancouver, Game 1, 7:05 p.m. today, Nat Bailey Stadium. Games 2-3: Wed-Thurs. at Memorial Stadium in Everett. Top players — Everett: RHP Lars Huijer (8-2, 3.03 ERA); OF Austin Wilson (last 10 games: .382, 10 RBI, 9 runs). Vancouver: RHP Chuck Ghysels (13 saves, 2.15 ERA), L.B. Dantzler (.302, 9 HR, 35 RBI, 20 2B).
South Division, Boise vs. Salem-Keizer, Game 1, 5:45 p.m. today, Hawks Stadium. Games 2-3: Wed-Thurs at Volcanoes Stadium in Salem-Keizer. Top players — Boise: 3B Jacob Rogers (.278, 8 HRs, 47 RBI, 37 runs); OF Yasiel Balaguert (.261, 8 HRs, 48 RBI, 33 runs); RHP James Pugliese (4-3, 2.32 ERA). Salem-Keizer: SS Jeremy Sy (.294, 8 HR, 41 RBI, 37 runs, 13 SB); RHP Andrew Leenhouts (9-2, 2.39 ERA).