The Tri-City Dust Devils missed a golden opportunity to grab a share of the Northwest League North Division lead in front of 2,830 fans Saturday night at Gesa Stadium.
The Dust Devils, needing a win to pull even with first-place Everett — which lost 2-1 at Hillsboro — ran into some strong pitching in a 1-0 loss to the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes, who trail Hillsboro by a game in the South Division race.
Volcanoes pitchers Mike Connolly and Cory Taylor combined for 14 strikeouts and prevented the Dust Devils from tying the score despite putting the tying run in scoring position four times over the final five innings.
Tri-City starter Brett Kennedy put together a good start, too, striking out five batters and allowing a run on three hits in 2 2/3 innings. Griffin Russell, Elvin Liriano and Wilson Santos combined for 6 1/3 scoreless innings of relief for the Dust Devils.
Salem-Keizer scored the game’s only run in the top of the second inning. Scott Price hit a two-out single and then scored on John Riley’s RBI triple into the right field corner.
Around the league
The top of the NWL standings will remain the same, as the top three teams in the North Division — Everett (17-13), Tri-City (16-14), Spokane (14-16) and Vancouver (11-19) all lost to the South Division. Hillsboro (18-12) and Salem-Keizer (17-13) stayed separated by one game.
Don’t see this every day
Tri-City pitchers accomplished the rare feat of striking out four batters in an inning. Starter Brett Kennedy struck out Brad Moss, Ronnie Jabavy and Kevin Rivera in the top of the third inning, but Jabavy reached base on a dropped third strike. Griffin Russell came on in relief and, after a walk to Steven Duggar, struck out Jose Vizcaino Jr. to end the frame.
Dust Devils shortstop Peter Van Gansen made two strong plays at shortstop. With one out and a runner on first, he ranged behind second base to glove a grounder up the middle. He flipped the ball with his glove to second baseman Kodie Tidwell to get the force. Van Gansen made a similar effort in the sixth inning, going behind second to snag a grounder up the middle. With his momentum still heading into right field, he made the throw to first with plenty of time.
Streaks & stats
Tri-City: Jose Carlos Urena extended his hitting streak to six games and has reached base in each of his last 20 contests. ... Justin Pacchioli is tied with Vizcaino for the NWL lead in on-base percentage at .434. ... Van Gansen, who is fifth in the NWL in hitting at .316, ran his hitting streak to six games. ... Rod Boykin, who has scored 15 runs in his last 10 games, is tied for second in the NWL with 23 runs scored. ... Carlos Belen went hitless in his fourth consecutive game and is 0-for his last 14 at bats. Salem-Keizer: C.J. Hinojosa’s fourth-inning single pushed his hitting streak to nine games. ... Vizcaino waited until his fourth and final at bat to extend his hitting streak to 10 games.
The Dust Devils will host a youth baseball clinic for boys and girls ages 4-14 at 4 p.m. today at Gesa Stadium. Sponsored by Lourdes Health Network, the clinic will be free with the purchase of a ticket for Sunday’s NWL game between Tri-City and Salem-Keizer. Clinic attendees should bring a glove and athletic shoes.