To say that the Boise Hawks have struggled recently against the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes would be an understatement – which makes tonight’s 3-2 victory in 11 innings that much more sweeter. Since the 2004 season, the Hawks had a 11-44 record against the Giants affiliate, never winning more than four games in a season against S-K during that stretch, while the 2007 team went 0-10 against the Volcanoes.So, when Justin Bour (pictured left) singled home Hak-Ju Lee with the winning run – it got the five-game set off on the right foot, the first time since opening night, 2003, that Boise won Game 1 of a series against S-K.
Boise had to do it late against closer Drew Bowlin, who has blown one save and allowed just three runs all year. The previous blown save was in the Hawks first win of the season in Keizer, as Jae-Hoon Ha’s RBI double in the ninth game the Hawks a 5-4 victory. Fast forward to tonight, as Brett Jackson’s one-out triple (thanks to a dropped ball deep in left-center by Jose Medina) in the 9th set the table for Ha, who legged out an infield single to send the game to extras.
THE BACON: S-K is 17-2 this season when leading heading into the 9th – the two losses, against Boise…the Hawks are now 8-3 in one-run games this year and a perfect 3-0 in extra inning games…Tarlandus Mitchell continues to be stellar in a starting role, going four and two-thirds innings of shutout ball tonight, without walking a man…he has now thrown 14.1 consecutive scoreless innings…
Logan Watkins had another multi-hit game, extending his hitting streak to ten games…Jackson has reached safely in all 14 games as a Hawk, while Lee has reached in 25 of 26 games this year…Ryan Sontag tossed two scoreless innings tonight after returning to Boise after he and his wife Amy celebrated the birth of their first child – daughter Emily (pictured with dad)…she weighed seven pounds and was 19 inches in length…Congratulations!!!
NOTES – High temperature in Boise today was 106 degrees, breaking the old record of 103 for today, set in 2003…over the last two games, Hawks opponents have committed six errors – all by outfielders…with Tri-City’s 4-3 loss to Eugene, the Hawks pull within six games of the top spot and at 12-16, it is as close to .500 as they have been all season…Boise has won eight of their last 11 at home.
Boy has the home cooking at Memorial Stadium fattened up the Boise Hawks offense…Winners of five of their last six at home, the Hawks piled up 29 runs and 44 hits in a three-game sweep of the Yakima Bears, including a 6-0 shutout tonight.
Looking back at the series – the pitching was solid, as Josh Whitlock was dominant on Thursday night, allowing just one hit in four innings of work, Robert Hernandez continued to cruise, allowing just two hits in four innings of work, and Yohan Gonzalez had an encouraging outing, going three innings of shutout ball last night, facing the minimum.
On the attack, the top of the order was nearly unstoppable against Yakima – as Hak-Ju Lee posted multi-hit games in all three wins, Logan Watkins had ten hits in the three games, and Brett Jackson lived on base – drawing seven walks in the three wins.
The power for the Hawks began to show up – with newcomer Justin Bour hitting a long homer on Thursday, with Greg Rohan hitting a two-run shot to left to cap the scoring on Friday. Boise also had a pair of triples and eight doubles during the series.
THE BACON: It has been tough to be the on-field Ram Tough Player of the Game this week – as pranksters in the clubhouse have struck each night with shaving cream pies…Watkins, Bour, and Rohan have all drawn chuckles from the fans. In talking with Whitlock today, he stated that it is Jackson, “Who seems to be in the middle of the shaving cream each night.” Bour’s home run was the first this season at Memorial Stadium for the Hawks – dating all the way back to August 28, 2008, when Ryan Flaherty homered in a 9-4 win over the same Yakima Bears…Watkins’ five-hit game on Thursday was a rarity, as only four players last season recorded five-hit games (including the Hawks Sean Hoorelbeke)…the 20 hits by Boise on Thursday marked the second-straight season on July 16 that the Hawks had 20 or more hits – as last year, they recorded 22 knocks in a 10-4 win over Tri-City.
NOTES – With Spokane’s 12-8 victory over Tri-City tonight, the Hawks move within seven games of the Dust Devils in the NWL East – with Tri-City losing their first game in 12 outings against an East Division opponent…down in Mesa, two Cubs draft picks – Chris Rusin out of Kentucky (4th Round) and Wes Darvill of Canada (5th Round) have reported and played in their first game.
AROUND THE MINORS: Former Hawk Sergio Mitre (’01) is set to be called up by the New York Yankees on Tuesday to start against Baltimore…Mitre has been out of the big leagues since 2007, battling arm injuries…Brian Dopirak (’03), the Eastern League’s leader in home runs (19) and RBI (83) was promoted by the Toronto Blue Jays from the New Hampshire Fisher Cats to the Las Vegas 51’s in the Pacific Coast League…
The long ride home from Vancouver on Tuesday night allowed for the Hawks to watch three full-length movies – including the first one I have watched completely in Spanish. Up first was Talento de Barrio, featuring Puerto Rican reggaeton star, Daddy Yankee. The Latin players on the bus loved the movie, with pitching coach David Rosario talking throughout about how realistic the movie was – the film featured a leader of a drug ring who was trying to make his name in music. Despite watching the entire movie in subtitles – it was VERY good.
The second movie was a classic bus movie, Wedding Crashers – with the team staying pretty quiet until Will Farrell’s character Chazz shows up near the end, trying to offer up his mom’s meatloaf. Closing out was the horror movie, Mirrors, with Kiefer Sutherland as an ex-cop trying to figure out why mirrors are causing murders. It was weird seeing Sutherland in a role that wasn’t 24’s Jack Bauer.
After the long night – the Hawks offense woke up against Yakima, setting a season high with 14 hits in the come-from-behind 9-8 win over Yakima. Leading the charge was the resurgent Logan Watkins, who recorded his fourth-straight multi-hit game, going 4-for-5 with the game-winning RBI single in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Danny Keefe picked up his second save of the season, getting a key line-out, throw-out double play in the eighth, then starting a 1-6-3 twin killing in the ninth to help notch the victory. With the win, coupled with a Spokane loss to Tri-City, the Hawks moved into a tie for second in the NWL East – their highest position all season, despite with a 9-16 record.
ROSTER MOVES: The Cubs made six roster moves yesterday – three players up from Mesa, three players down. Headed to Arizona are infielder Jordan Petraitis, catcher Alvaro Sosa, and pitcher Miguel Sierra, while first-baseman Justin Bour, catcher Richard Jones, and pitcher Eduardo Figueroa head to Boise. Bour, a 6-4 250 pounder, hit 46 career home runs at George Mason, while Jones led the AZL with seven homers so far this year.
Maybe it is the good luck from Haru, Chris Farley’s character in the 1997 movie, Beverly Hills Ninja, that has helped the Boise Hawks – as the squad recorded their second-straight victory over Vancouver tonight, winning 6-3.
Why Haru? Following the tough 9-0 loss on Saturday, skipper Casey Kopitzke thought the team needed to loosen up on the bus heading back to the hotel, so he had trainer Dan Golden put the movie in. Everywhere the team has gone – to the field, to the gym, Beverly Hills Ninja has been on. And the team is 2-0.
Tonight, the Hawks took advantage of three Vancouver errors, as five of the six runs tallied were unearned. Pitching was solid, as Boise did not allow an earned run, with three pitchers combining to throw four shutout innings to close out the game.
AT THE NAT: A couple things I really like at Nat Bailey Stadium are the concourses underneath the stadium (pictured to the right), where all of the concession stands are, along with tons of memorabilia on the walls – dating back to the Western International League days. Also today, I had the opportunity to head down to the kids park and test out the C’s mini-golf course, something I mastered – but only after the camera’s stopped rolling (special thanks to the C’s media interns for their help).
THE BACON: Tarlandus Mitchell continued to impress as a starter, tossing three shutout innings, allowing just one hit…Mitchell has not allowed a run in his three starts, spanning 9.2 innings…the win for Larry Suarez was his first since 2007…Joe Simokaitis tossed two scoreless innings – his longest outing of the year, while Ryan Sontag notched his second career save, both in Vancouver…Brett Jackson had an RBI single (video of Jackson taking BP today), as he has hit safely in 8-of-9 games with the Hawks…Jose Valdez extended his hit streak to six, Logan Watkins to five games…Greg Rohan ended an 0-for-19 slump with an eighth inning single.
NOTES: Game time temperature in Vancouver was 62 degrees, Wednesday’s high in Boise for Game 1 of the Yakima series is expected at 102 degrees…with Eugene’s sweep of a doubleheader of Spokane, the Hawks moved just one-half game out of second-place in the NWL East heading into tomorrow’s series finale.
Was trying to find the old pre-Cubs era logo to add to the post, but couldn’t. Short morning blog today, as a new story has been posted on boisehawks.com about former Hawks players in the majors, the minors, and independent baseball. The following document (
AlumniReport7-10-09.doc) is a complete list of former Hawks from AA, AAA, MLB, and the Independent Leagues.
Also of note this morning – Josh Vitters went 0-for-1 with a walk at the MLB Futures Game in St. Louis, and Sergio Mitre (’01) was named International League Pitcher of the Week for the Scranton-Wilkes Barre Yankees.
Providing the big spark was Logan Watkins (pictured left), who drove in four runs in the game – including a key two-run double in the fourth inning (audio –
Watkins2B.wma). The 19-year-old from Kansas also played the final eight innings of the game in leftfield, his first venture into the outfield this season.
Also providing some spark was centerfielder, Brett Jackson, who ended a long Boise home run drought with a two-run shot in the first inning (audio
JacksonHR.wma) and made a couple nice running catches in the field. Runey Davis went 3-for-5, including a two-run single in the third inning that put the Hawks up, 4-1.
Robert Hernandez was outstanding on the mound, going five innings of two-hit ball to pick up his first win of the year. Despite control issues from the bullpen, Dionis Nunez gutted through the final five outs for his first save.
AROUND VANCOUVER: One of the neat things around Nat Bailey Stadium, is adjacent to the park. With the 2010 Winter Olympics coming to Vancouver, many new facilities have been built for the event – including the Vancouver Olympic Centre (pictured right), which will seat when completed 6,500 spectators for Curling events. In Richmond, where we are staying, is the Olympic, a new venue has been constructed for long track speed skating.
OUR HOTEL: The Accent Inn is located in Richmond, a community just south of Vancouver proper – on the south edge of the Fraser River. Outside of a McDonalds and a Sports Pub, there are no eateries within six-blocks of the hotel, but within two miles, there are tons of multi-ethnic varieties to choose from – Indian, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, German, Dutch, along with local diners. I have one of the better rooms at this hotel – two TV’s, including a flat screen, and good internet (check out some video of my room). The hotel staff even brought me a microwave up so I could cook some meals I brought with me on the trip. (Side Note – for the longtime followers of the Hawks, this is the same hotel that caught fire when the team was in Vancouver back in 2005 – but everything has been renovated).
THE BACON: The Hawks have won seven games this year – six by one run margins (6-2 in one-run games)…Jae-Hoon Ha had to leave today’s game after being hit on the left arm by a fastball, forcing Watkins to move into left field – as the Hawks had just two position players available on the bench (Hak-Ju Lee, who went to SS, and catcher Matt Williams)…the home run by Jackson was the first by the Hawks since June 26 – the span of 14 games…Nunez saw his scoreless inning streak ended at 10.1 innings tonight – the first earned run allowed by the righty since June 24.
YOU BE THE JUDGE: To the left is Vancouver’s mascot, Bob Brown Bear – which I think is one of the cutest mascot’s in the league (right up there with Boomer the Bear in Yakima – sorry Humphrey). However, Bob is very similar to the A&W bear that is portrayed all over the ballpark (local A&W owners are part-owners of the C’s). They did have an outstanding promotion this afternoon – $1.00 (Canadian) A&W root beer floats for charity.
A tough night for the Hawks in Vancouver, as the pitching staff was roughed up for 16 hits in a 9-0 loss to the Canadians, before the biggest crowd Boise has played before this season (4,846). Things seemingly were off to a good start (the pic of me was taken before the game – the swelling from yesterday’s bee sting has gone down in my cheek), as Hak-Ju Lee had a perfect bunt single on the first pitch. But on a hit-and-run, George Matheus lined a hot-shot to the first baseman, doubling off Lee – which proved to be an omen.
What ensued was another rough night, as Jon Nagel hit his pitch count in the second, Josh Whitlock barely got through the third, and Miguel Sierra barely got through the fifth. The bright spot on the bump was Ryan Sontag – back at the scene of his first professional outing on the mound, working a 1-2-3 eighth inning.
Talking with Brett Jackson after the game, he was pleased with his at bats, espeically a first inning single – one that was extremely hit hard. He said he had a great round in the cage today and is hoping for a good outing tomorrow.
Something else that really caught me over the last 24 hours is how much skipper Casey Kopitzke will fight for his men. A hit was ruled on a routine ground ball to Lee in the infamous 7th inning rally by the Canadians (whose mascot, Bob Brown Bear is pictured to the right) – one that I, Kopitzke (here hitting some infield-outfield with the team today), and the staff felt should have been an error. Up until the 24th and final hour that the call could be overturned, Boise’s manager was trying to get the call reversed – to no avail, but it was his passion to try and turn a couple earned runs to unearned runs for his pitching staff that earned my respect.
Tomorrow will be a quick turnaround for the club, as the team will leave for the yard around 10 a.m. for the 1 p.m. (Pacific Time) ball game – the first afternoon game of the year for the Hawks. The saving grace for a lot of the guys is that tomorrow night, they will get to explore Vancouver (including the new bridge over the Fraser River as part of the Airport-to-Downtown Sky Train pictured at the left) – which is better than downtown Richmond, where we are staying.
BACON: The loss for the Hawks was their seventh straight defeat away from Memorial Stadium and the club fell to 1-9 on the road…Jackson has now hit safely in 6-of-7 games with the Hawks, while Jae-Hoon Ha has hit safely in nine of his last ten games…Lee had a scary moment in the 3rd inning, colliding with C’s third-baseman Ryne Jurnigan – but he shook off a knee injury…Vancouver scored in each of the first six innings tonight.
TOMORROW – Former Hawk, Josh Vitters, will play for the USA team in the MLB Futures Game in St. Louis, as part of All-Star Week…he is the youngest player on the USA team.
Despite issues with transportation issues in the crown jewel city of British Columbia, the Boise Hawks were able to meet the Vancouver Canadians in Game 1 of the five-game series at Nat Bailey Stadium (pictured left). The day did not start well for the Hawks, as the bus got lost on the way to the gym for the team’s workout at a downtown gym (I am usually the navigator, but I was out for my own run, looking for a Subway – which was two miles from the hotel). The team was also supposed to head for the park at 3 p.m., but traffic woes for our driver (after taking the training staff to the park earlier), or maybe getting lost, forced us to take one bus at 3:45 p.m. – getting to the yard close to 4:20 p.m.
Once there, the Hawks got another quality start by Jeff Antigua in Vancouver (downtown pictured to the right in the distance), retiring 15 of the 16 batters that he faced – striking out a season high six batters. However, the bullpen’s evil head showed up, as the C’s strung together six hits against Joe Simokaitis and Danny Keefe, scoring five runs in a 5-4 victory tonight.
The high point of the night was a tie between the RBI triple from speedster Jose Valdez in the third inning, and the Great Sushi Race in the fifth – Vancouver’s take on the Sausage Race in Milwaukee, which is right there with our Great Potato Race at Memorial Stadium – you make the call on which is better.
THE BACON: Brett Jackson went 0-for-3 in the loss, ending his hit streak at five games…newcomer Runey Davis went 0-for-2 with two walks and two stolen bases in his Hawks debut…the loss was the first by the Hawks in a one-run game that wasn’t a walk-off loss.
ISSUES: Yellowjackets in the press box were bad…one off my cheek hurt, but 13 were killed during the game…Rob Fai, the Voice of the C’s, said a fumagator was going to rectify the situation tomorrow.
Also, here is a couple interviews with Inside the Ivy.com’s Steve Holley, talking about call-ups around the Cubs system (
Holley1.wma) and his trip to New Orleans to watch the Iowa Cubs (
The NWL media guide states that it is 604 miles between Boise and Vancouver – but tell that to the players and staff after this trip.
Things went well early, leaving Memorial Stadium around midnight and making it just outside of Seattle around 8 a.m. (video at truck stop in North Bend) – however, traffic in the Puget Sound metro was tough – not as tough, however, as the crossing into Canada. People have talked about how strict the two countries have gotten in regards to travel between the nations – the lines were outrageous. However, what should have been 45 minutes to maybe an hour (filling out paperwork for the Canadian Governement), turned into two, three, four hours sitting on a hot stagnant bus, as one member of our travel party did not have proper documentation and had to remain in the States until tomorrow (once his documents arrive by FedEx).
ON THE BUS: We watched a bunch of episodes of HBO’s Eastbound and Down, a crude comedy about mullet-toting baseball pitcher Kenny Powers…we watched Quantum of Solace, the latest James Bond movie, which was action-packed, along with Nicholas Cage’s Bangkok Dangerous – which I fell asleep for.
THE BACON: The Hawks headed out of town on a winning note, stopping Eugene, 6-3, winning the series, three games to two…Boise gained two games in the NWL East Division during the homestand, now sitting seven games out of first place…Jackson had an RBI single, part of a two-hit night, and has hit safely in all five games with the Hawks…Jose Valdez had a great all-around game, stealing a base, dropping down a sacrifice bunt, to go along with a key two-run single in the eighth inning…Dionis Nunez continues to put up zeros in relief, extending his scoreless innings streak to 9.1 innings – as he has not allowed a run in four-straight appearances.
ROSTER MOVES: The Cubs made a trio of roster moves over the last 24 hours, as pitcher Mike Perconte has been promoted to Advanced-A Daytona, while outfielder Cliff Andersen has been released. Joining the Hawks here in Vancouver from Mesa is Runey Davis, the Cubs 12th Round pick out of Howard CC in Texas…Davis led his club to the 2009 NJCAA Division I National Championship, hitting .404 with 8 HR and 48 RBI.