Hot Day, Cool Night
The Hawks have had their experiment with day baseball again in August – this time without the pomp and gala of Ryan and Dina Hembree’s wedding to attract fans. I must say, the fans who braved the 97 degree heat were die-hards – although, in talking with the players in the clubhouse, the dugout was cool and the heat nowhere like it is in Mesa.
Robert Hernandez (pictured left) rebounded from a rough outing last Monday in Eugene with another fabulous performance, going 5.2 innings, striking out a season-high night. If it wasn’t for a misplayed ball by converted outfielder D.J. Fitzgerald in left that led to an RBI triple, a booted ball by third-baseman Bobby Wagner, or an over-turned call by the umpire crew on a sinking liner to Jae-Hoon Ha that was originally called a catch, Hernandez would have tossed six no-hit innings.
I was very pleased to see Corey Martin rebound after a tough outing earlier in the series to toss two and a third innings of scoreless relief. An add another left-handed batter to the list of Ryan Sontag’s casualties – lefties are now 0-for-18 against him.
The team left the BOI at 9 p.m. on Sunday night and according to skipper Casey Kopitzke, it felt like the shortest bus ride of the season – since the team had the opportunity to have a good meal after the game and arrived at the Holiday Inn Downtown Everett around 4 a.m. in the morning.
Tonight’s game was the first of ten games in 13 days against the Aquasox (or as everyone in the Puget Sound calls them, the Frogs). A pair of home runs for Everett were the difference in the game – although the Hawks made it interesting again in the ninth – as just as they did in Eugene, three straight batters reached in the ninth with two outs and two strikes. Unfortunately this time, Richard Jones struck out representing the tying run to end the game, with temperatures in the 70s.
Jon Nagel continued to show promise, going three strong innings tonight – getting six ground ball outs, including a double play. Logan Watkins had a pair of hits, including one of three doubles by the Hawks.
The game also marked the debut of Everett’s newest toy from the State of Washington – what they are deeming AquaVision. The Frogs used the state allocated funds to erect the largest video board in the Northwest League and the largest video board of the five minor league teams in the state (Tacoma, Spokane, Tri-City, Yakima, Everett). Broadcaster Pat Dillon told me that they will have rudimentary video and graphics to start – as some of the good games (shell game, boat race, etc.) cost upwards of 5-to-10 grand to purchase).
BACON – The Hawks added a pair of players to the roster today, as Trey McNutt of Shelton State CC in Alabama, and Venezuela native Jose Guevara joined the team in Everett from the Mesa Cubs. McNutt is a hard-throwing right-handed pitcher, while Guevara will serve as the team’s third catcher.
STAFF VS. HOME PLATE: Following Sunday’s game, the Hawks Staff squared off against Home Plate Food Services in a friendly softball game (of which I wasn’t invited to play – which saddened me deeply). No word yet of who won the game – although we’ll probably hear a lot about it when the squad returns on August 12.