Final takes from Yakima

Getaway day in the Yakima Valley and the final day of a six-game road swing through Eastern Washington.  After a error-filled 7-2 loss to the Yakima Bears last night, the Hawks face a must win tonight to win the series and to finish the trip with a 3-3 record.

The game yesterday could have been a bit different, as the Hawks loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the first inning, but the RBI guys – the 4-5-6 hitters in the order, each struck out to end the threat.  The follies on the infield then began – an error by Paul Hoilman (though I thought it should have been ruled a hit) brought in Yakima’s first run and Kenny Socorro had a ball roll up his arm, allowing another to score, making it 2-0.  A fielding error by Socorro and a throwing miscue by Willson Contreras helped Yakima push the lead to 7-1 in the fifth, while Wes Darvill added to the parade by booting a ball in the eighth – though a run didn’t score.

It was the most errors by a Boise team since seven miscues against Tri-City on June 20, 2009 – and overshadowed a great pitching performance by Jose Rosario, who allowed just one hit in four innings of work.

WHO’S HOT, WHO’S NOT ON THE TRIP: Two players are hitting below the .100 mark on this road swing, as Yaniel Cabezas (0-for-9) and Paul Hoilman (1-for-17) have hit a rut in the road nearing the midway point of the first half.  Hoilman has struggled with the strikeout bug, have swung and missed for strike three in 12 of his 16 outs this trip.  On the flip side, Reggie Golden (5-for-12), Rafael Lopez (6-for-13), and Contreras (7-for-19) each have swung a solid bat this trip.

TOP WRITERS, PAPERS IN THE LEAGUE: Major props have to go to the beat writers of the Tri-City Herald and the Yakima Herald-Republic for their coverage of their respective teams.  Jack Millikin for the Tri-City Herald does a great job and his online blog gives the Northwest League outstanding coverage, while Roger Underwood of the Herald-Republic has front page news on his squad day in and day out.  In fact, in Sunday’s Herald-Republic – they have a half-page spread with the league statistics, league leaders, and updates on former Yakima players and local players in the Big Leagues…if only we could have that sort of coverage back home.

FAMILY TIME: The trip to Yakima also allowed the Safford’s to have some fun, as my wife and son made the trek up to the “Palm Springs of Washington” on Friday.  Saturday was spent with two long stints in the pool (sunburns are a must), a long walk around the area, and a scouting trip to a fruit stand, where I was able to find two jars of AJs Walla Walla Sweet Mustard (which I fell in love with at Gesa Stadium last season).  PJ got to do something he’s always wanted to do – rode the team bus back to the hotel following the early bus to the stadium, while he got to come on the pregame show with his dad, and promptly told the fans back home that the Yakima Bears were his favorite team.

COMMENTS GALORE: Lastly, there was a lot of buzz around County Stadium yesterday regarding my blog – which focused on my take of the Bears potential move to Vancouver, Wash.  No fewer that six front-office staffers came up to me at the stadium – with all of them saying thank you for the support and appreciated my honesty.

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