Remember how, last year, the NWL East was so cod-ordinary that all it took for an eastern team to make the NWL Championship series was being 5 games under .500?
Everything old is new again, as the C’s tonight dropped their first game since opening day to go to a 6-2 record, which is fantastic… except that, in the NWL West, EVERYONE is 6-2.
On the other side of the Green River, the gourmet loving town of Yakima moved into 2nd spot (with a 3-5 record), while Boise is yet to win a single game from their first 8 played.
Maybe it’s time to move the team to Kamloops. Anyhow, there was a game tonight.
With Michael Richard, Julio Rivera and Angel Sierra inserted into the lineup, the continuing search for a stable 7-9 rolled on, but in the top of the 3rd it was the everydayers who served up a healthy serving of "how you like me now?", starting with Beanball Pruitt, who drew a 1-out walk, followed by a Walt Correa single, and a Doolittle HBP (if not for the presence of Pruitt in the lineup, we’d possibly be discussing how often Doc is getting nailed instead).
With bases loaded, up to the plate came Matt Sulentic, he who has had to take a minor league demotion on the chin and work his way back into blue chip form with the rooks. And it looks like the Oakland farm bosses know what they’re doing, because with Sulentic driving a shot into deep left field, Pruitt and Correa made it home in short order. 2-0 Vancouver.
A 2-run Mark Hallberg homer off the pitching of
Fabio Fabian Gomez brought the Bears back into the equation at 2-2, but the C’s were brutalizing Yakima pitcher Omar Arif (I loved his work in Lawrence of Arabia) by the time the 4th inning came around, and the game looked to be going the way their last six had.
It all opened with a leadoff double to Julio "Old Man" Rivera (he just keeps rolling along) [seen right], bringing up Michael "Runway" Richard.
The 9th round draftee dropped a nice bunt which should have been a sac, but for the wayward arm of Yakima 3rd baseman Hatin’ Clayton Conner, which allowed Rivera to score by sending a baseball where the first baseman weren’t.
That led the Bears to pull Mike "Mini" Mee out of the game, to be replaced by ‘Razor’ Ramon Ramirez at 1st, who apparently has a better range when receiving Conner’s dogcrap throws. Still, he’s not much in holding runners, however, as Mike Richard took off for 2nd base and stole it comfortably.
A Sierra ground-out moved Richard to the hot corner, which was the end of Doctor Zhivago’s pitching performance for Yakima. He was duly replaced by Daniel Vasquez, and left the stadium early to go play some bridge.
And that’s when:
You know there’s a C’s game happening when you hear those words, don’t you?
Unfortunately, WAAALT! Correa then hit into a fielder’s choice with saw Runway Richard thrown out at home plate, but a subsequent infield single to Doc Doolittle (that Hatin’ Clayton Conner once again couldn’t do anything with) loaded them up for Amblin’ Danny Hamblin to tattoo a 2-run double to left field. C’s lead 5-2, and the skies are red and blue over Yakima.
Or are they?
A scoreless 4th for Fabio saw off the Bears hitters, while the top of the 5th saw Runway Richard stealing another base for the C’s, and then scooting to 3rd on a catching error by Yakima CF JoJo Batten, but the C’s couldn’t capitalize when it mattered most, with Angel Sierra striking out swinging.
As the 5th rolled around for the Bears hitting staff, Fabian Gomez started to lose the handle, hitting the showers with 2 runs conceded on four innings of work,but with two on the bases and no outs. He was duly replaced by the 22nd round draftee out of the University ofIowa, Aaron "Junebug" Jenkins, for the first appearance of his procareer - and Jenkins did okay, getting himself out of a 1-out bases laoded jam with a pop-out and a swinging K.
For the C’s, getting on base wasn’t a problem, but scoring seemed to be getting harder and harder, with two stranded in the top of the 6th, while Jenkins got tagged by the Care Bears in the bottom of the frame - or rather, he didn’t, but his team had a case of the dropsies.
Arrieche subbed in and threw a ball away, then Richard booted one, leaving two on for Jenkins as Carlos Hernandez entered the fray.
Who is Carlos Hernandez, you say? He’s a 36th rounder from 2006, which means on the depth chart he sits somewhere in between Jeff Reboulet and Rogers Hornsby.
Which would explain the double he gave up, scoring two, the single he gave up that scored one, and the double he gave up the following inning. Scores tied at 5-5.
With the C’s unable to score Uptown Corey Brown after a lead-off triple in the 7th, and two walks suffering a similar fate in the 8th, it all came down to My Name Is Earl Oakes, who isn’t exactly nimble of foot, and was caught off guard by a lead-off bunt from Andrew Beshenich to open the bottom of the 8th for Yakville. Credit where it’s due, however, as he kept the ball in the infield for the following three outs, stranding the runner at 3rd to get out of a potential game losing jam.
So going into the 9th it was all tied up. How did the C’s respond?
Uptown Corey Brown? K.
Old Man Rivera? K.
Runway Richard? Pop-up.
The Bears, on the other hand, were being inspired by the great american war-cry of the fat: "Chalupa! Chalupa! Chalupa!"
Yes, folks, the Yakima front office had promised them free snacks if the home team scored six runs, and rather than yell, oh, something like "Ya-Ki-Ma! Ya-Ki-Ma!", they went for the processed foodstuff.
Still, it worked, with Shane ‘3rd Degree’ Byrne singling to open the frame, before a ground-out pushed him to scoring position, and an Aaron ‘Snotty’ Hanke single to left scored Byrne for the win.
Bah, freakin’ humbug.
|June 26, 2007|
| Final || 1 || 2 || 3 || 4 || 5 || 6 || 7 || 8 || 9 || || R || H || E |
| Vancouver || 0 || 0 || 2 || 3 || 0 || 0 || 0 || 0 || 0 || || 5 || 7 || 2 |
| Yakima || 0 || 0 || 2 || 0 || 0 || 3 || 0 || 0 || 1 || || 6 || 9 || 2 |box
W: C. Christianson (1-0, 2.35); L: E. Oakes (0-1, 4.91)
HR: YAK: M. Hallberg (1).