Just a quick hitter today as the 10 day, nine game homestand continues tonight against the Spokane Indians, as the Hawks and Indians are deadlocked atop the East Division with 4-2 records. Boise has won a season-best three-straight games – thanks to their first back-to-back shutout wins since 2006.
Ian Dickson was honored yesterday as Northwest League Pitcher of the Week after tossing 11 shutout innings, allowing just four hits and striking out eight in two wins.
It is a who’s-who of Cubs brass in town, as former Boise manager and Cubs Minor League Hitting Coordinator, Tom Beyers, Infield Coordinator Bill Dancy, Catching Coordinator Marty Pevey, and Outfield/Baserunning Coordinator Lee Tinsley are all in town. They picked the perfect five games – two vs. Tri-City, the off day (in which the group went rafting on the Payette River), then the three vs. Spokane.
For my off day, I spent it in the office at The College of Idaho, migrating web pages for our new athletic web redesign. Was able to grill chicken and vegetables, and took a nice walk last night (though the mosquitos got me).
FOOD UPDATE: They have changed things up here at home, as both radio guys are fed by Home Plate Food Services, while the rest of the pressbox gets vouchers for what they want in concession fare. The food has been solid throughout this trip…Food Standings through 7/29 – Chicken Sandwich (5), Pizza (5), Ham/Turkey Sandwich (5), Hot Dogs (5), Smoked Sausage (4), Pulled Pork Sandwich (4), Hamburger (4), No Food (2), Pulled Pork Nachos (2), Meatball Sandwich (3), Chicken Caesar Wrap (3), Salisbury Steak (1), Philly Cheesesteak (1), Fish & Chips (1).
A Saturday night crowd of 2,436 fans watched the Hawks throw their first 1-0 shutout in 122 games, dating back to the end of the 2010 season (a victory over Spokane at Memorial Stadium – with 2,900-plus fans in attendance during football season). Tayler Scott was solid, gutting through a tight strike zone to put up five zeros, helped by a pair of double play balls, while Hayden Simpson had his best outing of the season, retiring 9-of-10 men. Eddie Orozco slammed the door with a pair of strikeouts in the ninth to pick up his first save.
The win featured a ton of ground balls – as 16 outs on the night were the direct results of outs on the infield, and featured the Hawks winning for the first time when Mark Johnson had been ejected (fifth time he’s been tossed, this time for arguing a debated ball/strike call with home plate umpire Louis Williams). Video replay seemed to back up MJ’s claim, but it is the beauty of baseball – the judgment call.
Speaking of attendance, it has been a grind at the gate for the team – most pointing to the 16-27 record this season as to the reason that fans have stayed away, as the community “only supports a winner”. The Hawks have had only three crowds in 24 home dates this season above the 3,000 fan mark – while last season (with a losing record), the team had six 3,000 fan crowds at this point; and in 2010 (with a losing record), the team had nine 3,000 fan crowds by July 28. The thought of a winner was prevalent in 2010, as Boise was in a first-half pennant chase vs. Yakima – drawing three-straight 3,000-plus crowds in late July (on a Tuesday-Thursday), drawing 10,192 fans during the series – more fans than the first five games of the current five-game series combined. Even in 2003 – the worst record ever by a Hawks team (which, ironically, had a 16-27 mark through 43 games), had five 3,000-fan crowds. Has the hot weather this summer (day after day of 95-105 degree days over the last three weeks) been the issue, as the nice weather in Everett (and the best team in the NWL) has helped the Aquasox to a huge jump in attendance, while Vancouver leads the league with 11 sellout crowds of 4,900 or more.
But where do the Hawks stand amongst other short-season teams in the MILB? The team sits in sixth place among the Northwest League teams and 21st among the 34 short-season affiliates in attendance – ahead of towns like Great Falls, but behind Ogden, Billings, and even Idaho Falls.
Short Season Attendance – Aberdeen (NYP) 6,487, Brooklyn (NYP) 6,479, Spokane (NWL) 4,587, Lowell (NYP) 4,610, Hudson Valley (NYP) 4,290, Tri-City (NYP) 4,242, Vancouver (NWL) 4,122, Staten Island (NYP) 4,083, Ogden (PIO) 3,683, State College (NYP) 3,537, Billings (PIO) 3.418, Mahoning Valley (NYP) 3,117, Eugene (NWL) 3,000, Grand Junction (PIO) 2,821, Salem-Keizer (NWL) 2,747, Vermont (NYP) 2,701, Idaho Falls (PIO) 2,656, Everett (NWL) 2,513, Orem (PIO) 2,484, Missoula (PIO) 2.481, Boise (NWL) 2,388, Tri-City (NWL) 2,165, Williamsport (NYP) 1,946, Great Falls (PIO) 1,720, Connecticut (NYP) 1,612, Yakima (NWL) 1,598, Greeneville (APP) 1,456, Jamestown (NYP) 1,158, Burlington (APP) 1,151, Kingsport (APP) 1,132, Bluefield (APP) 1,025, Bristol (APP) 991, Danville (APP) 975, Johnson City (APP) 975, Elizabethton (APP) 949, Batavia (NYP) 928, Princeton (APP) 903, Helena (PIO) 879, Pulaski (APP) 811 (pictured left).
Despite the attendance woes (as typically, the Hawks average between 2,500-2,700 fans a game), they are outdrawing many teams at the long-season levels – including Cedar Rapids, Clinton, Beloit, and Burlington in the Midwest League (Burlington IA would be second to last in the Appalachian League – and is pictured right), Asheville, West Virginia, Hickory, Savannah, Kannapolis, and Hagerstown in the South Atlantic League (Yakima actually outdraws Hagerstown – where Bryce Harper made his pro debut), Rancho Cucamonga, Lancaster, High Desert, Visalia, and Bakersfield in the California League (Bakersfield draws just 686 fans a game), 10 of the 12 teams in the Florida State League, ahead of Mobile, Huntsville, and Jackson in the AA Southern League, and just behind Tucson in the Pacific Coast League – who would fall in the middle of the short-season pack.
Though we’d all hope for better attendance, we can see that it could be a whole lot worse.
Things got a bit chippy in the final game of the series with Yakima on Thursday night – a night after the Bears blew up Hawks catcher Willson Contreras not once, but twice at home plate.
It started with Contreras getting plunked by Yakima starter Blake Perry (one of the best control pitchers in the Northwest League), then Boise starter Jose Arias hit Josh Parr with two out and no on in the third. The next time Contreras came to the plate, he was drilled again by Perry, which forced the umpire crew to warn both benches (meaning any other “intentional” hit by pitch would result in an ejection of both player and manager). Arias, who tossed six shutout innings, went “out” for the seventh – but his purposeful first pitch hit Shaun Cooper, with the big righty and his skipper each being ejected.
Was it over…no, as in the bottom of the inning with two on and two out, Xavier Batista singled, with Contreras bowling over Yakima catcher Ronnie Freeman (who hung onto the ball) in a violent collision to end the inning – earning Contreras an ejection as well (and both dugouts spilling onto the warning tracks in front of them). I would think the series August 19-21 in Yakima may be interesting.
It brought back memories for me of some benches clearing situtations I have seen, along with the one “Base Brawl” I witnessed. The last time the Hawks cleared the benches was in 2009, when Everett manager John Tarmago took offense to a bunt by Hak-Ju Lee with Boise up 7-2 in the eighth inning – having his pitcher buzz Logan Watkins with the next two pitches, earning an ejection. During his rant with the umpires, he popped off with Hawks skipper, Casey Kopitzke, as the duo went toe-to-toe, emptying the benches, as you can see from the amateur video.
The previous benches clearing moment was way back in 2005, this time against Yakima, as a Boise pitcher Edgar Baez plunked the Bears Lester Contreras with a pitch – taking two steps to the mound while pointing his bat at the hurler. What was memorable about it was Hawks’ third-baseman Elvin Puello and Yakima’s Ricardo Sosa going nose-to-nose without a punch being thrown.
I did witness a full-fledged baseball fight in my younger days at the Kingdome, when the Mariners were playing the Brewers (back when they were an American League team). It was mini bat night and we had moved from the cheap seats down behind the Brewers bullpen. Not one, but two benches clearing altercations took place, the second one moving down the right field line into the aforementioned bullpen – punches and wrestling taking place right in front of some 12-year-olds at the ball park. It was crazy!!!
ATTENDANCE NOTE – The Hawks had 2,310 fans at Wednesday’s $1 night, while across the parking lot at Les Bois Park, the track attracted 3,937 fans (having drawn just under 5,000 fans last Saturday).
It was a great way to open up the longest homestand of the season – as the Hawks “took” a no-hitter into the eighth inning and eventually defeated the East Division first half champion, Yakima Bears, 2-1. However, when one looks at the box score this morning, things will look a bit different. Ian Dickson was outstanding – by far the best outing of the season for the former Lafayette start, retiring the first 15 men in order. However, officially, he allowed one hit – as an error charged to Stephen Bruno on a grounder into the hole by Ronnie Freeman was changed this morning to a hit.
If you were listening to the game last night, I was very critical of the scoring decisions – which are not easy on a regular night, let alone when a no-hitter is in the making. My thought is that you have to take everything surrounding a play out and rule on whether or not it was a routine play that should have been made without any extra effort – which is what the scorer decided on after the fact, as Bruno was on the outfield grass with a backhand and Freeman is a catcher that runs well.
So, instead of the first two-hitter by the Hawks since J.R. Mathes and Jon Hunton combined on a 2-0 shutout in Everett in 2004, it is the second three-hitter of the season by the Boise staff.
Nonetheless, it was fun for me as a broadcaster – as one thinks, do you mention the perfect game (through five innings), do you mention the no-no through seven? Many broadcasters say no, I mentioned it, but in a round about way – using not allowed a hit, no base-runners, shutout, etc., but I don’t think I used the no-hitter or perfect game cliches. The Hawks as a franchise have yet to throw a no-hitter, though the team was no-hit by Tri-City in 2001. I have never called a no-hitter in baseball, but can remember a couple intense fastpitch softball perfect games – including one at Pacific Lutheran University in 1997 in the District title game to send the team to the NAIA Women’s World Series.
Roster moves continue – as the Hawks roster has been maxed out with the addition of Dan Vogelbach (boy does he have a quick, strong bat) and the addition of Justin Amlung (12th Round, Louisville) today. Though the Hawks do not have the full allotment of players in Boise, they are hamstrung by the Cubs farm system, who has too many players in Mesa – which means there are players on the Hawks roster (Pierce Johnson, Brian Smith, Rashad Crawford) who have never came to Boise, but are on their DL to free up space in Mesa.
Wanted to share a great picture from the trip home on Monday night from Eugene, as skipper Mark Johnson allowed my son, P.J. to ride the bus back to Boise with us. He was so excited to be on the same bus as the “Cubbies” and for a four-year-old, he was very well behaved – didn’t goof off and even did a great job making it to the back of the bus when he had to use the facilities. As you can see, he also crashed extremely hard (which made it a long night for sleep for his Dad) – but it is a memory he’ll always have.
It has been a downer of a road trip through Sunday night for the Boise Hawks – four-straight losses, with the one thing that had been stellar through the first 33 games, starting pitching, letting the team down the past few nights. Timely hits have gone by the wayside, and defensive miscues have compounded innings. (Click for the Eugene-Boise Series Finale Game Notes)
Sounds a lot like the Chicago Cubs of the 1960s and 1970s – the years in which Ron Santo was a standout third baseman at Wrigley Field. It was an amazing day yesterday to hear his widow give his induction speech was inspiring, as Santo was inspiring to all ball players and broadcasters alike. I will play the entire induction speech tonight on Hawkstown Tonight, to hopefully inspire those who missed it in the Treasure Valley.
Back to the troubles in Eugene – how do you flush your system and try to get the negatives out of the way? For some of the pitchers, it was an evening trip to the gym with strength coach Ryan Claussen, for a broadcaster – how about a drive to the beach. That is what my family and I did last night – as Eugene is just an hour from Florence, on the Oregon Coast. It was the first time that I had been on a beach since 2010 and the first time my wife had been on the beach since we made a trip to the Carribean back in 2004. But for our son, P.J., it was the first time that he had ever seen the ocean – so it was an amazing time, and watching him go absolutely crazy was enough to recharge the battery for the final game of the first half of the season. The coincidence of the trip was back in 2003 (the worst season for the Hawks as an affiliated team) – when manager Steve McFarland took the entire team to the exact same beach and a dinner at Mo’s Seafood and Chowder House (guess where the Safford ate dinner?).
MORE ON EUGENE: Gotta love the Valley River Inn, the staff has been outstanding (including $5 vouchers to the hotel restaurant if you do not have your room serviced – which come in handy after a game. PK Park is awesome for a broadcaster – the booth is so large that PJ was able to watch a movie and my wife was able to read a book and I didn’t even realize they were there (plus there is a door on the booth for privacy), while the window opens and closes if need. Now if they could turn the air conditioning (yes they have AC) off of 70 degrees, that would be great.
FOOD REPORT: Interesting eats in Eugene (including Salisbury Steak without mashed potatoes), but I give the staff here props, they have popcorn and peanuts for the pressbox to munch on throughout the night – which other parks in the league (Vancouver and Everett also do this) should look at. The condiment bar is average, as everything is coming from a big Heinz dispenser (Ketchup, Mustard, Mayo, Relish, Ranch, BBQ Sauce) – not a fan of the big dispenser. Found only one place with onions. Food Standings through 7/22 – Pizza (5), Ham/Turkey Sandwich (5), Hot Dogs (5), Smoked Sausage (4), Pulled Pork Sandwich (3), Chicken Sandwich (4), Hamburger (3), No Food (2), Pulled Pork Nachos (2), Meatball Sandwich (2), Chicken Caesar Wrap (2), Salisbury Steak (1).
Two days into our exodus in Eugene, Ore., and it is hard for me to believe that the State of Oregon is struggling as bad financially as the news reports have been saying. Or maybe I should change the statement to say, the State of Oregon is struggling, but the University of Oregon’s football program is flourishing. (Click Here for Saturday night’s Boise-Eugene Game Notes)
When we arrived at PK Park on Thursday, the first thing we noticed is that we were being housed in a temporary clubhouse, a bit closer to the ballpark. Instead of a 1/2 mile walk around Autzen Stadium (the Ducks’ football home) – and being housed in the visiting football locker room, we have a 1/4 mile walk from a football storage room that has been converted into a clubhouse. The new clubhouse is equipped with six outdoor portable showers (I had never seen portable showers before), with a very small training room. The showers were interesting when it is storming on Thursday night, as after getting out of the shower, the players had to walk through the rain back to the clubhouse.
Maybe people have mentioned that the playing surface at Memorial Stadium plays very slowly – which it does. I honestly think the artificial surface at PK Park is even slower – it is as if George Horton and the Oregon baseball team put down extra rubber pellets in the FieldTurf to slow balls to the gaps. As I mentioned on the broadcast last night, the foul lines are raised from the rest of the turf, as when a slow bunt hits the “chalk” it rolls back into fair territory.
Last night was a great effort by Rock Shoulders, setting a season-high for the team with eight total bases, including his fifth home run of the season. It was the highlight in a downer of a night, as the Ems used a pair of safety squeezed to plate three runs in the seventh inning to break a 2-2 tie in a 7-2 win. The loss dropped the team to 12-23 on the season (four games behind the worst 39 game mark in franchise history) and just 2-14 on the road – a combined 12-42 away from Memorial Stadium the past two season.
Tonight will be an adventure, as with Izaac Garsez still out and Trey Martin needing a day off, Stephen Bruno will make his first start in center field tonight. On the flip side, Dong Yub Kim will return to the line-up for the first time since being hit in the head last Saturday against Vancouver. To say that the fellas are a bit tired is an understatement.
I do love Eugene’s mascot Sluggo – best looking mascot in the league (sorry Humphrey). Mark Johnson’s son Will came up to the booth on Thursday and got to meet the furry green thing.
What a way for the Boise Hawks to arrive in Eugene this morning – by the soothing sound of a fire alarm at 8:30 a.m. at the Valley River Inn. After leaving Memorial Stadium at midnight and making the eight hour bus trip across Central Oregon – through the thriving towns of Juntura, Burns, Brothers, Sisters, Nimrod (yes Nimrod) and Vida (close to a unique covered bridge on the McKenzie River) – the Hawks arrived just after 7 a.m. local time, and less than 90 minutes later – the fire alarms at the hotel screamed.
When it was all done – I found out that there had been a new fire system installed at the hotel (which has completely been rennovated – see right), and that the Eugene Fire Marshall had a complete walk-through to make sure everything was in working order. But for me, it was very real and surreal – as in 2005, a similar event happened at the Accent Inn in Vancouver, but when I went to the door to see what was going on, there were flames shooting out of the building about six rooms down – and eight units were destroyed by the fire on a getaway day.
After nearly two weeks without a roster move, the revolving door of the clubhouse has begun again – starting with the additions of Hunter Ackerman (who will make his Hawks debut on the back side of a piggy-back with Ian Dickson) and Matt Iannazzo on Monday, the departure of Bijan Rademacher (to Peoria) and addition of Izaac Garsez on Tuesday, and the departure of Bryce Shafer (to Peoria) on Wednesday. Following the game last night, I ran into Pete Levitt in the parking lot at the stadium as I was grabbing my bags for the bus and he let me know he was on his way back to Peoria. Since I had both Rademacher and Levitt on Hawkstown Tonight recently, I joked with the veterans that if you come on the show with me, you might get called up.
Last night looked as if the team ran out of gas after taking a 4-2 lead in the third inning. Tayler Scott struggled with his command and committed a pair of balks that helped lead to runs, while Hayden Simpson did not look comfortable on the mound. It was great to see Gioskar Amaya back on the diamond after missing two games after getting plunked in the heat on Sunday night – smashing his fourth homer of the season in his first at bat.
The series with Eugene ends the first half of the season – the Hawks trying to end on a good note, having won three of their last five games.
I opened the broadcast last night with the comment – July 17, 2012 could go down as the greatest day in baseball history for the Treasure Valley. I’d love to find another that would rival the excitement on the diamond in our community on a single given day. Maybe when the South Central Little League team went to the Little League World Series in 1999, maybe when The College of Idaho won the NAIA title in 1998, maybe one of the days in which the Hawks won a Northwest League title, maybe in 1967 when Caldwell’s Mike Garman was selected third overall in the MLB Draft.
None of those to me ranks with the two big storylines of yesterday – as most thought that the debut Izaac Garsez, a kid who grew up in Caldwell, led CHS to the 4A state tournament, then went on to a record-setting career at The C of I, would be the talk of the town. It was big news, but when even bigger news broke out of Los Angeles that former Borah High grad and University of Utah star Stephen Fife was called up by the Dodgers to make his MLB debut against Roy Halladay and the Phillies, it made it an amazing day. And it went off the charts when Fife tossed six innings of four-hit ball, outpitching Halladay, leaving with a 2-1 lead that was eventually blown by the LA bullpen. To cap the day, the Hawks won their second in a row, blanking Yakima, 5-0.
On the big picture, the Fife story is amazing – since Boise isn’t a hot bed of MLB talent. Rick Bauer, who spent parts of seven seasons in the big leagues, went to Centennial High – but wasn’t born in the Valley. Baltimore right-hander Jason Hammel went to Treasure Valley Community College, but was born in Washington. Bill Buckner lives in the Valley, but was originally from California. You have to go back to 1991 – 21 years, since a player born in the Treasure Valley played in a MLB game, that being infielder Vance Law, who played in Montreal, in Oakland, in Pittsburgh, and both Chicago teams from 1980-91, including hitting .293 with 11 homers and 78 RBI for the Cubs in 1988.
The story of Garsez for me is an amazing one, as I have watched him grow up before my eyes. A phenomenal athlete at Caldwell High – where he could have had a football scholarship, and a Division I baseball talent, he decided to stay home and play for Shawn Humberger at The C of I, alongside his brother Jacob (now a collegiate coach at Corban University). Garsez helped the Yotes to a 2010 NAIA Tournament berth (their first in eight years), then earned back-to-back NAIA West Player of the Year honors as a junior and senior – leading the NAIA with 12 triples this spring. He was a key contributor in the Coyotes’ run to the NAIA World Series, where his team was in the the same 10-team tournament as current teammates Mike Heesch and Lance Rymel. People asked me how it was going to be watching “Ike” take the field and it was a bit surreal to me, especially when he walked out onto the field just as the gates opened and 10 of his friends and teammates from college greeted him. I can’t be more proud of him – but in the same sense, it is now professional baseball and he has a job to do, and hopefully I’ll be able to brag about the hometown kid.
Even more impressive was the game on Tuesday, as James Pugliese tossed a gem, with Mike Heesch and Pete Levitt helping on a three-hit, 5-0 shutout of Yakima – keeping the Bears from clinching the Northwest League East Division pennant for at least one more day. Pugliese allowed just one hit, struck out five, and did a great job of mixing his fastball and off-speed stuff. Heesch has not allowed a run in each of his four two-inning appearances, while Levitt has turned the corner after a tough start to the season, putting up zeros for a third-straight apperance.
Trey Martin reached base five times, including two walks, and hit his third homer of the year, while Marco Hernandez drove in a pair with two singles – extending his hit streak to seven. Rock Shoulders has also quietly gone about his business, recording a two-hit game, and has now hit safely in 8-of-9.
The Hawks go for a sweep of Yakima tonight – and with just six games left in the first half, the Hawks are just two games back of Tri-City in the standings, and we all remember how Boise got to the playoffs last year after Tri-City won both halves, so every game is important.
What a crazy way for the latest series to come to a close – rallying from 5-3 down heading into the eighth inning to pick up a victory on a walkoff home run from Jeimer Candelario, 6-5. It was keyed by two shutout innings from Eddie Orozco, who has not allowed a run in his five appearances with the Hawks, and capped by Candelario, who crushed a 1-0 fastball to end a 21 game homerless drought.
Not to go Cole Hamels on anyone, but after watching the “celebration” by Candelario after his home run (which was about as crazy as I’ve ever seen), I wouldn’t be surprise if the Yakima Bears have something “special” for him during tonight’s game. It was the first walk-off home run since July 4th last season (Paul Hoilman) against the same Yakima Bears – which started a started a strange stretch against the Diamondbacks affiliate, as five of the last seven games have been walkoff wins by the Hawks at home against the Bears (game-winners by Hoilman, Kenny Socorro, Ben Klafczynski, and Ryan Cuneo last season).
It was a monster night for Bijan Rademacher, who had three doubles and scored three runs – then found out after the game the hitting .399 in the Northwest League earns a promotion to the Peoria Chiefs, joining teammate Chad Krist, who is hitting .500 after four games in the Midwest League. To take his place, former College of Idaho All-American Izaac Garsez has been promoted from the Mesa Cubs to take his place. Garsez, the fourth local player to suit up for the Hawks in the last 12 years (joining Vallivue High grad Pat McIntyre, Capital High and NNU product Roger Evenson, and Centennial High grad Jordan Latham) – so expect a nice walkup crowd coming to the park from Canyon County.
I mentioned it on the broadcast last night – what is it like for Mike Safford when we are at home? Typical days are the same, getting up around 7 a.m. to get Game Notes done ((Speaking of Game Notes, Here They Are for Game 2 of the Yakima Series) and have a chat with my wife Liza before she goes to work. My son PJ (the one I say hi to each night on the broadcast) gets up around 7:30 and after we dink around for a bit, I take him to school and I head to my fulltime job as Associate AD for Athletic Communications at The College of Idaho. I will spend 5-6 hours at the College (right now working on website migration) – also getting interviews ready for Hawkstown Tonight, then making the 40 minute trek to the yard to get ready for the game. Following the game, I write the story you see on BoiseHawks.com each day and make the trip home, arriving around 11:30 p.m. (if I am lucky). Weekends are a bit different – we try to get out of the house as much as we can, whether that means taking a walk, going to Roaring Springs, going grocery shopping, washing the car, or working in the yard, we try to get out as a family and spend time together (since I am on the road 38 days a summer). We try to have a Sunday dinner before I head to the park (we made some jalapeno sausages on Sunday, with corn on the cob and grilled vegetables) – much, much better than the typical dinner I get each night. I also spend time getting things ready for the next trip – including mowing the yard (spent 2 hours working on sprinklers yesterday morning) and pruning of bushes.
On Thursday night, a six-run lead in the seventh inning wasn’t enough…on Friday night, a two-run lead in the eighth with two outs wasn’t enough…so what were fans at Memorial Stadium thinking when the Boise Hawks took a seven run-lead into the top of the ninth inning on Saturday?
Thankfully, the third time was the charm – or the luckily charm of the rainbows that formed over the stadium midway through the game.
THE GOOD – Trey Martin continues to be on a huge roll, going 2-for-4 last night, driving in a career-high four runs. The 13th Round pick in last season’s draft is 11-for-19 over his last five games, which includes four multi-hit games and has to be one of the players who will be considered for Northwest League Player of the Week. Marco Hernandez had a quality game as well, rapping a pair of run-scoring doubles and playing quality defense at shortstop. Pete Levitt recorded his second-straight solid relief appearance, working out of a bases-loaded jam in the fifth and throwing a scoreless sixth inning, while Mike Hamann rebounded after two-straight rocky appearances to toss two shutout innings of relief.
THE BAD – The weather at the park kept a lot of fans away on a comfortable Saturday night (temperatures were in the low 90s – a nice night in Boise in July). We were lucky as a Severe Thunderstorm Watch was in effect throughout the game and big storms just missed the yard to our west and east. I am guessing it also kept many of the Treasure Valley mascots from joining us for the Mascot Mania (only four other mascots showed up), or all of the other mascots were at the Twilight Criterium in downtown Boise. I have to give props to my wife Liza (Mrs. @BoiseHawksRadio) for promoting The College of Idaho in the Coyote mascot outfit when no other student, faculty, or staff member stepped up to the plate for the event. (you can watch the Mascot Mania Race with Humphrey below).
NOTES – At 10-19, the Hawks are two games clear of Spokane from the cellar of the East Division, as the Indians are mired in an eight-game losing skid. On the flip side, a Boise loss or a Yakima win eliminates the Hawks from the first half pennant chase, as the Bears currently have a five game lead on Tri-City with nine games to play (Yakima may be able to clinch the playoff berth at Memorial Stadium in the upcoming three-game series). The Hawks have a chance to win back-to-back games for the first time since mid-June tonight, with the piggy-back of Felix Pena and Willengton Cruz on the mound.