The Tri-City Dust Devils are on one of the more amazing runs I've ever seen as far as pitching is concerned. Over the last nine games, they have recorded five shutouts. The pitching has always been good here for as long as I can remember, but this is an exceptional statistic.
To put it in perspective, the Northwest League record for shutouts by a team is 10, shared by Boise (1990) and Vancouver (2002). In just that 9-game span, from July 28 to Aug. 7, the Dust Devils are halfway there. Plus, they had two even before they went on their incredible run. *******
Interesting press box tidbit No. 1: Jason Schwartz eats dried seaweed.
Good to see Erik the Peanut Guy back in the house. Man, that guy's got a gift with crowds.
I finally got a twitter account and subscribed to a few of my favorite comedians, athletes, actors, etc... (jackbull61 if you're interested in following).
But perhaps my favorite twitter subject so far has been Dust Devils pitcher Kyle Hancock. Dude posts some very funny stuff.
For some reason, Twitter isn't loading up on my laptop, but I'll try to recall some of the best ones over the last couple day's.
One from yesterday after he and Jayson Langfels went to see the movie 'Rise of the Planet of the Apes' — "Them apes were crazy! Caesar was pretty legit...."
Another from today went something like this: "Kangaroo Court today... I'm sure Casteel will owe $15 bucks or so".
He'll tweet about whatever's on his mind, and it's quite a bit. But he writes pretty well and will make you laugh.
Interesting press box tidbit No. 2: Official scorer Scott Tylinski grew up in Indiana and not only hates basketball, he hates Notre Dame football, too.
No score through four innings between the Dust Devils and Boise Hawks.
Tim Smalling led off the bottom of the fourth with a double down the left field line, but the meat of the order — No. 4-6 hitters Leonardo Reyes, Jared Simon and Jayson Langfels — went down in order without bringing Smalling home.
Fortunately, the Hawks do the same thing in the top of the fifth. Wes Darvill, the No. 8 hitter, led off the inning with a pure hustle double to right center field. But Tri-City starter Ben Alsup got Oliver Zapata to fly out to shallow left. Then Darvill tried to steal third and appeared to beat a high throw from Dust Devils catcher Ryan Casteel, but he was called out by base umpire Matt Czajak.
The entire press box thought he was safe. So did Boise manager Mark Johnson, who promptly went nose-to-nose with Czajak in protest.
The next batter flied out to center field to keep the game scoreless.
Dust Devils squander another opportunity in the fifth after Casteel and Taylor Featherston led off with walks. But Matt Argyropoulos, the No. 8 hitter, popped up his bunt attempt for out No. 1. David Hernandez flied out to first and Humphries lifted an easy out to Zapata in center to end the inning.
Lots of missed opportunities here. This one's still up for grabs.
But a good pitching battle, too, between Hawks' starter Willengton Cruz and Alsup.
I almost forgot it's the Media Longball Competition tomorrow here at Gesa Stadium. That's where all the people who cover the Dust Devils for a living can come out and take a few hacks in the cage, courtesy of manager Freddie Ocasio. He throws a nice fat BP ball, with just enough on it to put a charge into it.
Of course, none of us are really worth our salt at the plate, but every once in a while someone will get a good cut in.
I got lucky for a couple years, but former KEPR anchor Chris Bach was a legitimate player at one point, having played for Gonzaga in 2002.
Bach could swing at 80 percent and still hammer pitches off the wall. But he was a gracious winner.
Last year the winner was The Brad, a DJ from KXRX radio (97.1 FM), who sported the Zach Galifianikis-style full beard. I wouldn't have pegged him as someone who could really smack it, but he took one out to the warning track in right for the win. I expect he'll be back to defend his title.
Anyway, should be fun.
Tri-City finally puts one across, and it couldn't have come at a better time. Casteel reaches on an error by second baseman Zeke DeVoss and then scores on an RBI triple off the wall by Featherston. He hit it just well enough that it had a chance of going out, but a slight breeze kept it in the park. Would've been his second home run in two nights.
Now Hernandez gets into the act with an RBI double to the wall in left.
Better late than never. Dust Devils lead 2-0.
The lead holds up, and Tri-City wins it 2-0. That's six shutouts in 10 games, and when you look a little closer you see that every Dust Devils' win over that span has been a shutout. Incredible!!