To say the 2011 season has been a bit different would be an understatement, and the Thursday and Friday night games at Memorial Stadium were definitely right on par with this year. Seeing the Hawks allow 17 runs in a game for the first time since 2003 (a 17-5 loss at Spokane) might have been tough to watch, but the craziness that happened the following night, was just plain wacky.
A night after allowing 10 or more runs for just the second time this season (but Boise gave the fans something unique, a home run for a Coors Beer Batter in the sixth inning), the Hawks joined the Ems in the strange game. It started with Eugene’s Kyle Gaedele in the second inning, gapping a ball to left-center with the bases-loaded that Pin-Chieh Chen missed after a diving try (getting up slowly) – allowing the first-year professional to circle the bases for a rare inside-the-park grand slam (the first in the NWL since Tyler Colvin accomplished the feat during the 2006 season)…it was the first inside-the-park homer I’ve seen at Memorial Stadium since Pedro Strop of Tri-City in 2004…after Boise responded with five runs in the bottom of the inning to take the lead for good, it was the strangest double play of the season – with Jace Peterson on third and no outs, Justin Miller hit a hard one-hopper to the mound that reliever Joe Zeller turned and threw to third, with Willson Contreras swiping a tag on Peterson for the first out, then in one motion fired across the diamond to get Miller to complete the double play.
MORE NUMBERS: The Hawks have been shutout a NWL season high seven times this season – the most by a team in the league since Yakima was blanked nine times in 2009. On the flip side, Boise is the lone Northwest League team this season that hasn’t thrown a shutout – as all eight NWL teams have tossed at least one shutout each season from 2006-10 (Eugene in 2005 was the last team without a shutout in a season).
MORE NUMBERS (PART 2): Chen leads the Hawks with 16 multi-hit games, including two of the three four-hit games this season – but does not have a three-hit game in 2011…both Rafael Lopez and Paul Hoilman led the club with five three-hit games…despite a tough start on Friday, the Hawks won again with Willengton Cruz on the mound, as Boise is 7-4 this season in his 11 start, while the club is 10-8 when Blair Springfield starts in left and 5-2 when Dustin Harrington gets a nod at third…on the flip side, the team is just 5-15 this year when Lopez earns a start behind the plate (9-9 when he is the DH).
HOME RUN WATCH: Hoilman crushed his league-leading 12th longball of the season on Thursday night, a massive shot over the scoreboard in left-center – the first such home run at Memorial Stadium since Chris Dominguez of Salem-Keizer launched a ball in 2009…it brought back memories of a Ryan Harvey blast in 2004, a bomb that some say was the longest homer in the history of the park. He is now one of just 12 players in franchise history to club 12-or-more HR’s in a season…next on this list is Brian Dopirak (’03), Kevin Collins (’02), Jeff Mace (’88), and Jason Dewey (’97), who each hit 13…Stephen McQuail of Vancouver is second in the loop with 10 homers, with Yakima’s Justin Hilt third with nine.
COMINGS AND GOINGS: Cam Greathouse was recently sent to Mesa to work on his control issues, while the Hawks received a pair of players from Mesa – LHP Sheldon McDonald, a draft pick from the University of British Columbia, and 1B Ryan Cuneo, who began the year at Peoria, but was sent to Mesa due to an injury…Cuneo spent the second half of 2010 with the Hawks, hitting a pair of homers and driving in 10. Jose Ceda has been promoted to the Florida Marlins, while former Hawk, Alfredo Amezaga was traded by Colorado to Florida and joins Ceda and Ricky Nolasco with the Marlins.