I started the day right, winning the annual Dust Devils media long ball event.
It's one of the great pleasures in life to be able to swing a bat and feel solid contact, and then watch the ball come off the bat and just hang for a while before coming down. I managed a few good shots today, thanks to some good pitching by hitting coach Anthony Sanders.
Because I can hit a 50 mph batting-practice fastball doesn't make me a good hitter, but it made me feel terrific to hear Sanders — a former major-leaguer — compliment my bat speed. And towards the end of the competition, Dust Devils pitcher Kyle Hancock walked down to take a look at the media hacks. An hour later, I checked Twitter and he had posted a shout out to me on his page (hancock5954).
Don't worry, I promise I won't let it get to my head. However, Dust Devils radio man Jason Schwartz isn't helping. I overheard him on the radio, joking that my winning hit went an estimated 480 feet. I would say more like 360 at best. Didn't even hit the warning track.
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Shout out to Jason's mom, Karen — thanks for tuning in!!
I'm a big fan of you and your son!!
Tri-City ahead 2-0 after four innings. Back-to-back doubles by Ryan Casteel and Juan Crousset put the first run up in the second inning. Jared Simon reached on a fielder's choice in the fourth, and with one out, Casteel sliced a triple down the right field line to make it 2-0.
Dust Devils starter Chris Jensen trying to extend the team's scoreless-innings streak, which was 23 1/3 coming into tonight. He didn't allow a hit through the first 4 1/3 innings but gave up a one-out double to Dustin Harrington in the fifth and then a hard single to Blair Springfield that sent Harrington to third.
Wes Darvill finally ended the scoreless streak at 27 2/3 by laying down a beautifully-executed suicide squeeze down the third base line, as Harrington charged in form third. A nicely-called play and a well-earned run by Boise.
Still 2-1 Tri-City after 5 1/2 frames.
Strange call with two outs in the bottom of the fifth. Jaron Shepherd, the Dust Devils leadoff man, grounded a ball to Wes Darvill at shortstop. The throw pulled first baseman Paul Hoilman off the bag, and base umpire Travis Eggerts called Shepherd safe despite a good swipe tag effort by Hoilman.
But Boise manager Mark Johnson, came over from the third-base coaching box and got in Eggerts' face a bit. After a minute or so, Eggerts walked over to converse with home plate umpire Matt Czajak. After a few seconds of conversation, Czajak and Eggerts overturned the call. They both walked over to Tri-City manager Fred Ocasio to inform him of the call, and the inning was over.
It had to be deja-vu for Ocasio, who watched the same thing happen to him last week during the team's road trip to Eugene. Coincidentally, Shepherd was also directly involved in a play at first in that situation, too. He was called safe on a pickoff play, but after some arguing from Ems manager Pat Murphy, the call was reversed. That didn't make Freddie too happy, and he got run.
But this time, Freddie managed to keep his cool.
Jason just invited me to spend a few minutes on the air to chat about the longball competition and I committed a major faux pas by calling him Justin.
Sorry about that Jason. That's what you get when you put this newspaper guy on the radio.
If I remember correctly, I also forgot a name the last time I was on the radio with you. I was trying to recall the name of a former Dust Devils pitcher from the 2005 team that fell just short of an East Division title.
Zach Simons was his name, by the way.
I think maybe you should turn it into a Dust Devils' radio promotion: Let's play whose name will Jack forget next?
Happy birthday to Tri-City pitcher Jesse Meaux, who turned 21 today. Jesse's on the shelf right now, but let's hope he can get back to action soon this year.
Dust Devils add another run in the bottom of the sixth, getting a single to left by Tim Smalling followed by an RBI double from Tyler Massey to make it 3-1.
But Boise comes right back in the top of the seventh after Springfield reached on an error by Hernandez at third base. Darvill grounded out to move Springfield to second, and Willson Contreras bounced an RBI single back up the middle to cut it to 3-2.
And Tri-City holds on with some nice relief work by Ken Roberts, who collects his team-high seventh save of the season.
Dust Devils win 3-2 and increase their lead in the East Division to three games.