The first half of the season has been a struggle for the Tri-City Dust Devils. In fact, at times downright painful. But there is always a silver lining somewhere.
And for Tri-City that lining happens to be that everything starts over Tuesday when the records are wiped clean as they start the second half of its Northwest League schedule in Eugene.
But before then, the Dust Devils have a chance to upset some Canadians.
With a win today over Vancouver, Tri-City can spoil the Canadians bid for the first-half North Division title. Vancouver is tied with Spokane after its 9-0 win Sunday night at Gesa Stadium over Tri-City. First pitch is 11:15.
Vancouver and Spokane are tied for first at 24-13 with one game remaining in the first half. The Indians will win the title if the two teams finish tied for first because of its 4-2 head-to-head record.
So why not play spoiler, and head into the second half with a win?
"You never want somebody clinch the first half on your field," said catcher Robbie Perkins, who was 2-for-3.
In order to do that several things will have to change quickly for the Dust Devils. Tri-City (14-23) has not won at home this month (0-8), and has been outscored 35-3 In their last three home games.
In the series finale against Spokane on July 13, Tri-City lost 14-1. On Saturday night against Vancouver, it was 12-2, then Sunday.
"It's one of those things; the ebbs and flows of the game," said Dust Devil manager Drew Saylor. "I think we swung the bats well tonight. We just didn't get too many to fall."
Vancouver starter Chase Mallard threw 5 1/3 scoreless innings to improve to 2-0 on the season. He allowed five hits and struck out five.
Vancouver broke the game open in the fifth inning, scoring four runs on four hits off of Jerad McCrummen. Max Pentcost delivered the first blow with bases-loaded single to right field to push the lead to 5-0. Ryan McBroom followed a double to the right-centerfield wall to plate two more to extend the lead to 7-0.
Ryan Castellani went 3 2/3 innings, allowing three runs on four hits. All three runs came in the first inning, including a two-run home run by Ryan McBroom. McBroom finished the night with three hits and four RBI.
Castellani settled down after the first inning, allowing just a third-inning single to Roemon Fields. He retired eight of the last nine batters he faced in his first home start. He left the game with two outs in the fourth because of his pitch count.
"I thought he did a good job of coming back," Saylor said.
Sean Dwyer added two hits for Tri-City.