A series win, back to the .500 mark

The Tri-City Dust Devils and their 35-man roster full over “older” players have now boarded their charter for home, after the Boise Hawks took 2-of-3 games from the Rockies affiliate, winning their first series of the 2011 season.  No fewer than eight players on the Dust Devils squad are 24-years of age or older – remembering the days of when the Northwest League limited teams to just four players of such age at a single time (in fact, the Hawks one year had to make a quick roster move so that they were not out of compliance).

Pitching was the key in the series for the Hawks – as in the series opener, Ben Wells and Jose Rosario locked down the Dust Devils bats in the 3-2 win, with a nice job in relief tonight by Jin-Yeong Kim, tossing 3 2/3 innings of scoreless relief.  It was Bryce Shafer who impressed me the most, picking up a pair of saves, including working out of a bases-loaded, one out jam in the eighth, getting the final five outs tonight.

Offensively, Tri-City didn’t want any part of Paul Hoilman, who walked six times in the series – clubbing a go-ahead two-run double on Wednesday, adding a 3-for-4, two double, three RBI night in today’s 10-6 win.  Ben Klafczynski has also heated up, hitting safely in all three games of the series, including two RBI doubles tonight.  An Pin-Chieh Chen has just hit – extending his hit streak to seven with an RBI single in the third, though a quartet of base-running blunders in the series marred a stellar three days.

On the flip side, Yaniel Cabezas is struggling mightily, going hitless in his last 18 at-bats, while Wes Darvill snapped an 0-for-9 skid by reaching base four times tonight with two singles and two walks, scoring three runs.

NOTES: Hoilman has made the most of his opportunities with runners in scoring position, going 5-for-9 with 10 RBI – as the Hawks are hitting .278 as a team in such situations…the Hawks have scored first in six of their eight games and are undefeated when leading after the sixth inning…Chen’s hit streak of seven games is the longest in the Northwest League so far this season…Hoilman leads the league in RBI and walks, while Chen is tied for the league in hits.

ROVERS IN TOWN: The Chicago Cubs have made the Hawks clubhouse cozy this weekend – as no fewer than  roving instructors are at Memorial Stadium to evaluate talent.  Catching instructor Marty Pevey, infield instructor Franklin Font, Latin America field coordinator Carmelo Martinez, strength and conditioning coordinator Doug Jarros, and Vice President of Player Personnel Oneri Fleita are all in town watching the Hawks.

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