Indian surge topples Volcanoes in 9-8 loss

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Volcano Stephen Branca rounds third base in a game Thursday, Aug. 9 at Volcanoes Stadium. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

By HERB SWETT
For the Keizertimes

A seesaw game Aug. 10 that included five Salem-Keizer errors ended with the Volcanoes losing to Spokane at home 9-8.

Many in the crowd of 4,242, who before the game watched Striking Out Meth in Marion County ceremonies featuring many law officers, must have figured after two innings that the Volcanoes were almost certain to win. Others, recalling several recent contests, must have realized it was still a game.

With two out in the bottom of the first inning, Mitchell Delfino singled to center field and Joe Rapp singled to left. A double to left by Matt Williamson drove both runners in. Stephen Branca scored Williamson with a double to left. Trevor Brown scored Branca with a single to right.

Starting pitcher Chris Johnson, who had allowed the Indians two singles but no runs in the first inning, gave up one in the second and struck out two.

With two out in the Volcano second, Brennan Metzger was hit by a pitch from Spokane starter Abel De Los Santos. Delfino came to bat, and Metzger stole second base and reached third on a wild pitch. Delfino drove Metzger home with a double to left. Rapp singled to right, scoring Delfino.

Trailing 6-0, Spokane scored five runs in the third. Saquan Johnson reached first on an error by Delfino at third. A throwing error by Chris Johnson put Gabriel Roa on first and let him reach second, with Saquan Johnson scoring. Patrick Cantwell and Cam Schiller walked to load the bases. Ryan Rua doubled to right, bringing home Roa and Cantwell.

Steven Okert came in to pitch, and Preston Beck singled to right, scoring Schiller. Brandon Garcia grounded out but drove in Rua.

The Indians tied the score in the fourth. Saquan Johnson again reached second with a throw into the dugout, this time by shortstop Branca. Roa accomplished the same with a wild throw by Okert, and Johnson scored.

Ryan Harvey relieved De Los Santos at the start of the Volcano fourth and set the hitters down 1-2-3.

Okert loaded the bases with one out in the fifth, and Ian Gardeck took the mound. After another out, he walked Cantwell to score Brandon Garcia. Spokane led 7-6.

The Volcanoes went ahead by a run in the sixth. Kentrell Hill reached second from the batter’s box on a wild throw from Harvey, and Metzger hit his first home run in a Volcano uniform. It was his second of the season; he hit one during a brief stay with San Jose of the high class A California League.

Chris Stratton pitched the top of the seventh, walking two but striking out two and allowing no hits or runs. Carlos Melo pitched the bottom of the seventh, walking Stephen Yarrow, who pinch hit because Rapp had been spiked by a baserunner. A force out and two strikeouts followed, however.

With Armando Paniagua pitching in the eighth, Spokane went ahead by a run. Royce Bolinger doubled and reached third on an error by Mike Mergenthaler in right. Rua singled him home. Beck scored Rua with a triple to right center.

The Indians loaded the bases in the ninth with two out, but a line drive to Mergenthaler ended their half of the inning.

Salem-Keizer threatened in the ninth, with Joe Burns on the mound. Delfino hit an infield single. Matt Duffy ran for him and went to second when Yarrow grounded out. Williamson walked, but Burns retired the next two batters to save the win for Melo. Paniagua took the loss.

“We swung the bats well and then didn’t defend very well, Volcano manager Tom Trebelhorn said. “They got their hits going.”

Stratton, who had the most effective pitching performance for the Volcanoes despite his two walks, said, “We had a chance, but we’ll see what we can do tomorrow.”

Metzger, who had been called up when a San Jose player was injured, expects to stay with the Volcanoes the rest of the season but did not see his home run as typical of him.

“Power’s not really part of my game,” he said.

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