Run production lags as Volcanoes’ season ends

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The Volcanoes’ Mike Murray pulls up at second base on a hit by Jesus Galindo earlier this season. (KEIZERTIMES/Brian Rennick)

By HERB SWETT
For the Keizertimes

The Volcanoes, in their final game, again outhit the opposition but lost.

The opposition was the Tri-City Dust Devils, who have clinched the East Division championship of the Northwest League. Tri-City won 3-1 on Saturday despite a 9-6 edge in hits for Salem-Keizer.  The Volcanoes finished third in the West Division for the second half, at 18-20.

Chris Jensen, the starting and winning pitcher, went seven innings, allowing four hits and no walks and striking out eight. He is 2-1 with a 2.65 earned run average.

In the top of the first inning, the Volcanoes threatened with two out. Leo Ochoa doubled to right field and went to third base as Ben Thomas hit an infield single. Ochoa then tried to steal home but was caught in a rundown.

The Dust Devils scored their first run in the second. Leonardo Reyes was hit by a pitch from starter Kendry Flores, went to third when Juan Crosset singled to center, and scored as Taylor Featherston grounded out.

Tri-City scored twice in the fourth. Jared Simon singled to left, went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Leonardo Reyes, and scored as Crousset singled to center. Featherston drove in Crousset with a triple.

Flores was then relieved by Matt Graham, who struck out Jayson Langfels to end the inning. Flores became the losing pitcher at 4-3.

The fifth, sixth and seventh innings went quickly. Chris Gloor relieved Graham to start the bottom of the sixth.

Jensen was relieved at the start of the eighth by Rafael Suarez, who loaded the bases with successive one-out singles by Dan Burkhart, Danny Brock and John Eshleman. Jesus Galindo hit an infield single to score Burkhart. Suarez retired the next two batters.

Cody Hall relieved Gloor at the start of the Tri-City eighth and allowed only one baserunner, walking Simon.

Thomas singled to center to start the ninth, with Nelson Gonzalez pitching. Gonzalez struck out Garrett Buechele and Joe Staley, and Burkhart grounded into a force out, ending the Volcanoes’ season.

Most observers had expected the Volcanoes to have a better season than they did. Manager Tom Trebelhorn said the main problem was “very young starting pitching.” However, he noted that the overall play and especially the pitching were much better after the first 18 games of the season, when the win-loss record was 2-18.

Asked whether anything about this Salem-Keizer club was better than he expected, he pointed to the offense. Noting the Most Valuable Player performance of Joe Panik; the hitting of Brett Krill and Mike Murray; and the hitting and baserunning of Jesus Galindo, he said, “How do you predict that?”

Looking at 2012, Trebelhorn said the Volcanoes should do much better if they have “more guys who are draft picks.”

Even the 2011 season, he commented, showed a “fine line between contending and not contending.” The Volcanoes, he noted, led the league in runs and slugging percentage and were second in home runs and stolen bases, but gave up more runs than they scored.

“We just needed help pitching,” he said, “and we never got it.”

Aug. 31: Volcanoes 4, 

Tri-City 0

Cameron Lamb, Chris Gloor, Cody Hall and Phil McCormick combined on the shutout, with Lamb (4-6) the winner and McCormick getting his sixth save.

Salem-Keizer scored one run each in the first, third, fifth and ninth innings. It was the Volcanoes’ fifth shutout in August.

In the first inning, Jesus Galindo walked, stole his 44th base, went to third on a grounder and scored on a single by Joe Panik. Chuckie Jones, who had reached first base on an error and advanced on a wild pitch and a sacrifice bunt, scored the third inning run as Kaohi Downing singled.

Also in the third, manager Tom Trebelhorn was ejected after arguing that Ricardo Ferrer, the Dust Devils’ starting and losing pitcher, should have been charged with a balk.

Galindo singled, stole his 45th base and scored on another Downing single in the fifth.

Ben Thomas doubled in the ninth. Shawn Payne ran for him, reached third on a wild pitch and scored on a sacrifice fly by Galindo. Hall loaded the bases with two walks and a single in the ninth but struck out the next two men. McCormick came in to face Brian Humphries, who grounded out.

Sept. 1: Tri-City 7, 

Volcanoes 2

Salem-Keizer, facing one of the stingiest pitchers in the Northwest League, scored a run in the top of the first inning but fell behind in the second inning and stayed behind.

Facing starter and winner Tyler Gagnon, Jesus Galindo led off the first getting hit by a pitch. He stole his 46th base, tagged and reached third on a fly, and scored on a 2ground out. Gagnon, now 4-3 with a 2.57 earned run average, got tougher in his remaining five innings.

In the Tri-City second, a single by Jared Simon and doubles by Jordan Ribera and Richard Pirkle produced two runs. Two more came in the third on a double by Leonardo Reyes, a triple by Taylor Featherston and a Tyler Massey single.

Joe Panik singled in the Volcanoes’ seventh, and Shawn Payne ran for him. Payne advanced on singles by Ben Thomas and Joe Staley and scored on a double play.

Singles by Pirkle, Reyes and Featherston, an error by first baseman Danny Brock and a ground out added two Dust Devil runs in the seventh. Jarod Berggren singled in the eighth, advanced on a wild pitch and an error by Payne, playing second base for the first time this season, and scored on a sacrifice fly by David Hernandez.

Jack Snodgrass started for the Volcanoes and took the loss, his first against four wins.

Sept. 2: Tri-City 3, 

Volcanoes 1

The Volcanoes outhit the Dust Devils 7-6, but Tri-City pitchers did a better job of scattering the hits.

Each starting pitcher allowed one run and struck out six, Paul Davis for Salem-Keizer going six innings and Ben Alsup for Tri-City going 6-2/3. The first Volcanoes reliever, Stephen Shackleford, lasted one-third of an inning and gave up two runs.

The first Dust Devil run came in the second inning, on a home run by Juan Crosset. The Volcanoes’ only run happened under unusual circumstances in the seventh. John Eshleman, who had singled and gone to second base on a single by Shawn Payne, noticed that when several Dust Devils descended on the base umpire over a call at first no one had called time. He easily stole third and then home.

Tri-City responded with two runs in the bottom of the seventh. Jaron Shepherd doubled and went to third on a ground out. Jared Simon then homered.

Kenneth Roberts, the first of two Tri-City relievers, was the winning pitcher and is now 4-2. William Rankin got a save. Shackleford, the loser, is 2-2.

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