Saturday night found me in the stands at an arena in downtown Baltimore watching the season opener for the Charm City Roller Girls and frequently checking the score from Boise. As the Hawk’s game wound into the middle innings, I probably spent more time waiting for the box score to refresh on my phone than I did watching the action on the track. This was a fantastic, nail-biter of a game in which the Hawks staged two late inning rallies to tie the contest and did not lead until the bottom of the ninth. When it was all said and done, however, Boise had tied up the Northwest League Championship Series and forced a decisive Game Three with a 3-2 win.
In all honesty, Vancouver should have won this game. They out hit Boise 8 to 6 and were helped by a Boise error while yielding none in return; that is going to be a winning formula most of the time. The Hawks were able to draw more walks (4 to 1), though, and in the ninth inning one of those walks played a key role.
- Pierce Johnson struck out six over three innings and allowed just three hits and an unearned run. Pitching in one of the biggest games of his life, Johnson came up with one of his best performances of the season. That is good to see.
- Jose Arias pitched the next 4.2 innings, and he also pitched quite well. He finished having allowed a run on three hits while striking out five.
- Nathan Dorris made his four outs in the eighth and ninth more exciting than he really had to, but despite the two hits and a walk he escaped without a runner crossing the plate.
- Doubles by Stephen Bruno and Jeimer Candelario were the only extra base hits for the usually slug-happy Hawks. Bruno’s double came with two outs in the bottom of the eighth and tied the score. Candelario’s double opened the ninth inning and eventually resulted in the young third baseman scoring the winning run.
- Rock Shoulders had one of the Hawk’s four walks Saturday night. His was the ninth inning pass that sent Candelario to third and set up…
- Willson Contreras’s game ending single. Contreras had the only multi-hit game for Boise as he finished 2 for 4 with two RBI. The second RBI was the ninth inning game winner.
- Albert Almora left in the 8th inning after crashing hard into the wall in center field. He hit his head and chest, and is not expected to play today.
- Not to end this on a further down note, but somehow only 1,897 fans tunred out to watch an absolutely loaded team play a Saturday night game in the League Championship Series. The Hawks are exactly what every minor league fan dreams of watching – a prospect laded team that wins games. So where are the fans?
And so we come to Sunday. Boise will send South Africa native Tayler Scott to the mound for the game that decides it all. First pitch is scheduled for 6:45 local time, and as always the radio broadcast will be streamed live through the Boise Hawks website. If you’ve never listened to a minor league game, I can’t think of a better time to start.