The Tri-City Dust Devils put themselves in position to win the first-half Northwest League championship on Saturday, sweeping Vancouver in a NWL doubleheader to pull even with Everett for first place in the North Division.
The Dust Devils beat the Canadians 5-4 in eight innings in the first game of a doubleheader at Nat Bailey Stadium. Jose Carlos Urena hit a pinch-hit single to center, driving in Kodie Todwell with two outs in the top of the eighth inning to break a 4-4 tie. Tidwell also had a pair of RBIs. Phil Maton (2-1) earned the victory for Tri-City.
In the nightcap, the Dust Devils scored three runs in the top of the third inning, thanks to six walks by C’s pitchers. Rod Boykin drew a one-out walk from starter Tom Robson, and Peter Van Gansen followed that with a single. Robson then walked Urena to load the bases and was relieved by Brandon Hinkle.
Hinkle didn’t help. He walked Austin Allen, Ty France and Carlos Belen with the bases loaded to bring in three runs. Belen was picked off first base, preventing another run when Tidwell was walked.
The C’s scored two runs in the bottom of the third but that’s as close as they got. The Dust Devils tacked on another run when Boykin scored on a sacrifice fly from Allen to make it 4-2.
Jerry Keel (2-0) got the win in the nightcap, allowing just one hit in two innings in relief of Jose Castillo. Corey Kimber earned his fourth save with a scoreless ninth.
Tri-City (22-15) will open a three-game series against Spokane (18-19) at 7:15 p.m. at Gesa Stadium, while Vancouver (15-22) will travel to Everett (22-15) for a three-game set.
Since Tri-City holds the first-half tiebreaker, either a Dust Devils win or an Everett loss Sunday will clinch the title for Tri-City.