June 2013

Saturday Game Notes – June 29

GameNotesHere are the official Boise Hawks Game Notes for Saturday night’s game vs. the Eugene Emeralds at Memorial Stadium.  The Hawks will be gunning for their first three-game win streak of the 2013 season at 7:15 p.m. tonight.  Listen live on 1350 KTIK-AM and also online at MILB.com.

Game Notes for 6/29/13

Roster Moves – Hamann Up, Draft Picks in

MasekThe Boise Hawks, in conjunction with the Chicago Cubs, have announced multiple roster moves prior to tonight’s 7:15 p.m. game with the Eugene Emeralds.

Closer Mike Hamann has been promoted to Class-A Kane County. The right-hander has been outstanding this season, going 3-for-3 in save opportunities, while not allowing an earned run in six appearances, spanning seven-plus innings.

Two 2013 draft picks head to Boise, as right-handed pitchers Trey Masek and Scott Frazier will make their professional debuts in Boise. Masek, a fifth-round selection out of Texas Tech, had a 5-2 record with a 1.82 ERA in 79 innings for the Red Raiders this spring, while Frazier, a sixth-round pick out of Pepperdine, went 5-5 with a 4.06 ERA in 88 innings for the Waves.

The Hawks roster is currently at 29 players, including 15 pitchers.

Quick Hits from Home

LifeflightHalfway through the six-game homestand and there have been some interesting things have happened at the yard in three days.  The first rain out in Boise since the 2004 season; a walk-off bunt single (that wasn’t a squeeze bunt); a Life Flight helicopter landing in the outfield (luckily not for an injury); and the beer batter going a perfect 6-for-6 in home games this season.

The rain out was an interesting one – considering the tarp had been on the infield for over 30 minutes prior to the rain squall that enveloped Boise 90 minutes before Tuesday’s scheduled game.  Though the rain was about to halt when the game was postponed, right field had turned into a quagmire (reminiscent to the fiasco in Everett back in 2010) – with the staff doing the right thing and calling the game.

The win in Game 1 of the doubleheader was wild – a hit by pitch, a bunt single, and then the bunt by third-round pick Jacob Hannemann with an errant throw allowing the tying and winning runs to score.  In talking with many “baseball guys” after the game, none had seen a conclusion like that one in many moons.

The helicopter landed as part of a “Strike out Strokes” promotion with St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center and delivered a first pitch participant to the ballpark…it was pretty sweet.

And one must be happy about the beer batter – even though the price has doubled from $1 to $2 (though it is cheaper than the $3 beer batter in Eugene, though that was a micro brew)…as Hawks hitters have given the fans some suds each of the first six games.

 

Encarnacion to Kane County

EncarnacionBOISE, Idaho – The Boise Hawks, in conjunction with the Chicago Cubs, have announced that outfielder Kevin Encarnacion has been promoted to the Class-A Kane County Cougars.

Encarnacion hit .298 with two home runs, three doubles, and four RBI in 13 games with the Hawks – including an eight-game hitting streak that is the longest in the Northwest League so far this season.

No corresponding roster move has been made.  It marks the first-ever promotion by a Boise player to the new Class-A affiliate of the Cubs.

Roster Moves – McKirahan and Hankins to Boise

HankinsThe Boise Hawks, in conjunction with the Chicago Cubs, have announced a pair of additions to their roster prior to tonight’s doubleheader against the Hillsboro Hops.

Former Hawks LHP Andrew McKirahan and 2013 draft pick Jordan Hankins will join the team this afternoon and will be in uniform for the twinbill tonight.

McKirahan, a 21st-round draft pick in 2011 out of the University of Texas, posted an 0-1 record and a 2.25 ERA in four appearances with the Hawks in 2011.  He began the 2012 season in Peoria, posting a 1.80 ERA in nine appearances, before an injury sidelined him for the season – forcing Tommy John Surgery.  He made two rehab apperances over the weekend in Mesa, allowing a run on four hits, striking out four in two innings of work.

Hankins (above, courtesy of letsgopeay.com) was drafted this year by the Cubs out of Austin Peay State University, where he was a third-team All-American as selected by Louisville Slugger.  The infielder hit .352 with 11 home runs, 14 doubles, and 54 RBI, leading the Governors to a 47-15 record.  He saw action in two games in Mesa, going 1-for-8 with a triple and two RBI.

The additions bring the Hawks roster to 29 players.

Blackburn named NWL Pitcher of the Week

Blackburn-PaulBoise Hawks right-hander Paul Blackburn was named Northwest League Pitcher of the Week for games from June 14-23, announced today by MILB.com.

Blackburn did not record a decision in his two starts, however, posted a 0.00 ERA in 10 innings of work. The supplemental first-round pick from the 2012 draft tossed five innings of one-hit ball, striking out eight in his Hawks debut on June 15 at Eugene, followed by a five inning stint in Spokane on Friday, allowing an unearned run on four hits, walking one and striking out four.

He currently leads the NWL in ERA and ranks second in strikeouts.

Salem-Keizer third-baseman Sam Eberle was named NWL Player of the Week.

The Hawks close out their five-game series tonight (weather-permitting) at Spokane, with first pitch schedule for 6:35 p.m. (PDT)

Video of Hannemann and Lang

Had a chance to take some video before the doubleheader yesterday of Cubs’ third-round pick Jacob Hannemann during a round of batting practice (albeit a hit-and-run round)…our first look at the former BYU Cougar in a Hawks uniform.

I also had a chance during our workout at Spokane Falls CC to get a close-up of 2012 draft pick Trey Lang during his bullpen session.

Life in Spokane

AvistaRainThings here in the Spokane Valley are about to get a little draining today, as the Boise Hawks will play their first doubleheader since the 2007 season against the Spokane Indians.

As you can see from the pictures, there was a reason why Thursday’s game at Avista Stadium was postponed – in fact, if you look closely behind second base, you can see a mud puddle that formed in the outfield grass.

One needs to give some kudos to the grounds crew at the yard for getting the diamond playable for Friday night’s game – though they had to do some mound-scaping in the second inning after both Yohander Mendez and Paul Blackburn struggled with mud in their spikes in the opening frame.

However, at least for me – it comes down to having a tarp.  When you have arguably the biggest (and one of the best) facility in the Northwest League, you need to have a tarp.  It may only be used once a year, but the money the franchise lost out in ticket and concession sales from the rain out pales in comparison to purchasing a tarp that not only would have saved that game (since the rain turned to a drizzle around 8 p.m. that night), but future games as well.

MirabeauHOTEL – Year in and year out, the Mirabeau Park Hotel and Convention Center ranks among the top stops in the NWL for all broadcasters.  The sprawling hotel has my room this trip literally in the back-40 – as I am closer to Walmart than the front desk, but it is a huge room and the only thing missing is a refrigerator (so I have to keep ice on hand or else my water bottle stays warm).  It is one of the few NWL hotels with a restaurant on property – with the Max Restaurant having the best happy hour menu around (have been a fan of their sliders on homemade buns, with a red pepper aioli for years, along with fries topped with garlic, balsamic vinegar, and feta cheese).

ISSUES – I apologize to the fans in Boise for the quality of our radio broadcasts, as a non-dedicated phone line at Avista Stadium has forced me to use a different set of radio gear.  Typically, we use equipment that sends digital quality audio – which provides crystal clear sound to fans on KTIK, however, the phone line does not allow that equipment to connect to the Cumulus studio.  Therefore, I have “borrowed” my radio gear from the College of Idaho (which I use to call basketball games during the winter) to get us on the air – but it makes the broadcast sound like it is coming out of a tin can.

Hamann2FRIDAY NIGHT – Another great effort by the pitching staff, as Paul Blackburn worked around his own throwing error in the second inning that plated the lone Spokane run, retiring the final eight batters in order.  He has walked just one man, allowed four hits, and struck out 12 in his first 10 innings in Boise.  Carlos Martinez, the big-burly Cuban, kept the Indians off-balance for three innings, mixing a low-90s fastball with a devastating change up.  And Mike Hamann slammed the door – throwing 15 pitches, 13 for strikes, in picking up the save.  The Hawks used the long ball – and I mean LONG BALL, to win, as Kevin Encarnacion tried to hit the lights in right field with his moonshot, and Yasiel Balaguert’s home run ball wanted to either go to Home Depot or Costco, it was hit so far.  Was impressed by both rookies – Jacob Hannemann plays the game hard and I thought Cael Brockmeyer called a great game behind the plate (and gunned out his first base-stealer by five feet).

ABOUT THE DOUBLE HEADER – Skipper Gary Van Tol made a change to the pitching rotation for tonight, trying to keep the arms on a typical schedule.  Loiger Padron will get the start in the opener, while Orbandy Rodriguez will make a spot-start for Game 2.  The one thing that benefits the Hawks was the off day due to the rain out, giving the pitchers who saw action on Tuesday/Wednesday an extra day of rest.  Duane Underwood will now pitch Sunday afternoon, with Trey Lang tossing the series finale.

Recap of Opening Homestand in Boise

EncarnacionThe Northwest League is off and running – with the Boise Hawks off to a 3-3 start to the season…which is an interesting number in itself.  Since the 2004 season, the Hawks have recorded a 3-3 start to a season only three times during that stretch (failing to reach the postseason in either of the seasons).

HOMESTAND #1: It was great to be home, back in the cozy confines of Memorial Stadium.  What was interesting to me, and it really hit me after Opening Night on Monday, was that the Hawks now have the smallest stadium in the league.  I can already hear the Boise media clamoring when the team draws 2,400 or 2,500 or 2,600 a game this season – saying that fans don’t want to come to the yard.  But when you have the smallest stadium in the league, that’s not a bad crowd – as we do not have the ability to put 5,000 fans in the park like Vancouver, Spokane, Hillsboro, and Salem-Keizer, or even 4,000 fans like Everett, Eugene, and Tri-City can. I was really pleased with the new hats that the Hawks will wear at home – and even more excited when I saw a boatload of fans wearing the hats in the crowd.  In talking with fans, they are fans of the batting practice tops, with the new home whites coming in second.

BoteSTRANGE NUMBERS: A couple of anomalies during the series – including the Hawks woes with runners in scoring position.  Boise recorded just two hits in their first 22 at bats at home with men in scoring position, and were 9-for-64 through their first five games.  The other was the “wild pitch fest” on Tuesday, as the Hawks combined for seven wild pitches in the contest, joining the 2008 Tri-City Dust Devils as the only teams in the last decade to achieve the dubious feat.  Trey Lang recorded six of the WP’s, two off a 30-year Northwest League record.

FAIR OR FOUL: David Bote’s home run on Tuesday night down the left field line drew Salem-Keizer manager Gary Davenport out of the dugout, thinking it was a foul ball.  The Hawks were discussing the play on the trip to Spokane and asked skipper Gary Van Tol, who said he thought the ball hit the screen of the foul pole, hit the top of the fence, and bounced onto the field of play.  Hitting coach Bill Buckner had a different view – he said he thought it was foul, but that didn’t matter, he said “It was a home run!”

Underwood2PUTTING UP ZEROS: James Pugliese started the season with nine and two-thirds innings of scoreless baseball (before an inside the park home run put a crooked number in his ERA line).  The righty has allowed just six hits, walked two, and struck out 11.  Corbin Hoffner has retired 18 of the 19 men he has faced over the span of two games – with just one walk and five strikeouts.  Mike Hamann tossed a 1-2-3 ninth inning and has retired 11 of 12 men out of the pen.

COLD, COLD NIGHT: Thankfully, Memorial Stadium has a tarp – and thankfully it was on the field at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, as a rare June rainstorm hit the Treasure Valley.  The tarp saved the contest that evening, thought the game-time temperature of 57 degrees was the coldest start to a Hawks game at home in at least a decade.  I can say, I have never worn a sweater, and a sweatshirt during a home game.

FOOD UPDATE: Six games into the season and there has been no changes to the pregame meal routine…three times hamburgers have been delivered, twice hot dogs came to the booth, and once I had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (gave up another hamburger to the S-K radio crew so they could eat).  Heading to Spokane – and have a feeling chicken sandwiches will have the lead when we return home.

Official Game Notes – 6/21

GameNotesHere are the official game notes for tonight’s Boise Hawks-Spokane Indians contest at Avista Stadium.  You can listen to the game live in the Treasure Valley on 1350 KTIK-AM or online at milb.com.

Boise Hawks Game Notes for 6-21-13

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