Congratulations to Dust Devils manager Freddie Ocasio for earning his second Northwest League manager of the year honor!!
Tri-City got two other nods on the NWL all-star team. One was Christian Bergman – a no-brainer — and the other was left-handed reliever Kenneth Roberts. I knew it was going to be a tough choice in the end, but some awfully good pitchers were going to get left off the team.
I thought Nelson Gonzalez had an excellent shot at being named, and Tyler Gagnon certainly deserved some consideration after winning NWL pitcher of the week twice this season.
But I guess they've got to give us something to argue about. In the end, the right guys got recognized.
It's going to be a chilly night here at Gesa Stadium. At game time it's in the mid-70s, and I expect the temperature to drop at least 20 degrees in the next couple hours.
Should have brought my coat.
I'm pretty weary right now with all the work on the Tri-City Herald 2011 football preview. It's always fun to see the final product, but it sure takes a lot of work to put together.
So far we've gotten a lot of good feedback on our feature stories over the last week. We've had one a day in the main section leading up to Friday's special section.
I think the water-themed pictures with the features are getting people interested about what's coming next.
They won't be disappointed with tomorrow's cover.
Salem-Keizer goes up 2-0, getting runs in the first and third innings. Dust Devils starter Ricardo Ferrer is fighting control issues, falling behind every other hitter, and the Volcanoes have taken advantage.
But S-K is so good at getting guys on base. They lead the league with a .350 on-base percentage and a .279 batting average. If you are a pitcher having trouble throwing strikes, you're not going to do well against the Volcanoes.
Anyway, Jesus Galindo led off the game with a walk, stole second, took third on an infield grounder and scored on Joe Panik's single to right to make it 1-0. Two innings later, Chuckie Jones reached on a fielding error by 3B Jayson Langfels and then took second on a wild pitch. Kaohi Downing drove him in with a single between short and third.
2-0 Volcanoes after three innings.
It's Cougar Night out here at Gesa Stadium. That's Washington State Cougars to those wondering at home.
Dust Devils radio play-by-play man Jason Schwartz just told me he offered DJ Luke $100 to play the USC fight song in full. No doubt that's a risk for Luke. The stands are full of Cougs fans, and he's not supposed to use his position to rock the boat.
But 100 bucks is 100 bucks, man.
So I went over to ask Luke if he was tempted by the offer. He gave me a big smile.
"Maybe if I had it," he said.
Salem-Keizer manager Tom Trebelhorn was just tossed out of the game by base umpire Travis Eggerts with one out and a runner on first in the top of the third.
Kind of an odd moment. No close play on the bases. No hairline ball-strike call. One minute, Panik is taking a first-pitch strike. The next, you see a clipboard flying out of the Volcanoes dugout and Trebelhorn making a beeline toward Eggerts near second base.
Apparently, the two have a history. S-K radio man Michael Trevino told us that this is the fourth time this season Trebelhorn has been ejected by Eggerts and the second time he's done it from the bench. This time, I think Trebelhorn was looking for a balk call on Ferrer.
Anyway, after a few minutes of animated discussion, Trebelhorn started back towards the dugout and then started barking at home plate umpire Matt Czajak. But that didn't last too long.
The best part was, after Trebs was done jawing at Czajak, he stopped, took off his hat and bowed to the crowd. A nice gesture from the old Tri-City Posse skipper. Then it looked like he acknowledged the crowd next to the Volcanoes dugout. Not sure what he said, but I saw him wave to somebody up there.
Very unusual, but also quite entertaining.
I wonder if anybody got that on video. I'd love to see that again on YouTube.
Volcanoes get another run off Ferrer in the fifth on another RBI single from Downing. Now 3-0 S-K.
Brian Humphries has two hits for Tri-City, but otherwise the Dust Devils haven't done much at the plate.
Tyler Massey, however, does have an active 18-game hitting streak he's looking to extend. He's hitless in his first two at-bats, but it's not for lack of trying. He roped a line drive right at third baseman Garrett Buechele back in the fourth. He's probably only going to get two more shots at best.
His hitting streak is the Dust Devils' longest since Charlie Blackmon ended the 2008 season on a 23-game streak.
David Hernandez made a critical baserunning error in the eighth inning. He was on second with nobody out and Brian Humphries at the plate. Humphries hits a grounder between third and short, and Panik has to backhand it. He would have to make an incredibly tough throw to get Humphries at first.
Instead, Hernandez makes it easy for him, taking off for third base. So now all Panik has to do is make a short, and much easier toss to Garrett Buechele at third for the out. Humphries makes it to third on an error by first baseman Ben Thomas, which would have scored Hernandez.
Instead, it's still 3-0.
I'm sorry, did I say 3-0? Salem-Keizer adds one more in the ninth to make it 4-0.
The Dust Devils sure aren't looking like a team that's ready for the playoffs.
But they're not done yet. Volcanoes reliever Cody Hall walks Jordan Ribera and Ryan Casteel to lead off the ninth and then gives up a single by Taylor Featherston to load the bases.
That's the Dust Devils team we were used to seeing earlier in the year. Backs against the wall, they come out swinging in the late innings.
Spoke too soon. Hall starts dealing pure filth, striking out Langfels and Hernandez with some mid-90s heat. Then Phil McCormack comes in to face Humphries, who is thrown off by the submarine delivery and grounds out softly to second to end the game.