Rapp home run saves Volcanoes from shut out

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Volcano Joan Gregorio winds up a pitch during the Volcanoes game Tuesday, Aug. 21. Gregorio improved his record to 7-6 with a win. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

By HERB SWETT
For the Keizertimes

The Volcanoes had only two hits in a 4-1 loss to Vancouver at home Monday and just missed their second straight shutout thanks to a ninth-inning home run by Joe Rapp.

The Canadians’ starting and winning pitcher, Taylor Cole, allowed one hit and two walks in his six innings and struck out six. He now has a 5-0 record and a 1.02 earned run average.

Cole held Salem-Keizer hitless for 3-2/3 innings until Chuckie Jones singled to left field. The righthander recovered quickly, striking out Rafael Rodriguez on a three-ball, two-strike count.

Although it was a scoreless game through four innings, the Canadians threatened in the fourth. Art Charles singled to right field, and Jason Leblebijian did the same, sending Charles to third base. Starting pitcher Chris Stratton loaded the bases with a walk to Matt Newman. Carlos Ramirez hit a line drive to Andrew Cain in right field, and Cain’s powerful throw to catcher Sam Eberle nailed Charles to end the threat.

Manager Tom Trebelhorn decided that it was time to relieve Stratton. After the Salem-Keizer fourth, in which Jones was the only Volcano who did not strike out, Chris Johnson came in to pitch. He gave up two singles but struck out three to leave two on base.

After the Volcano fifth, in which Stephen Yarrow hit the ball almost to the left field wall and into Newman’s glove, and the next two hitters also flew out, Johnson gave up three runs to become the losing pitcher. Leblebijian and Newman singled with one out in the fifth, and Ramirez drove both in with a double to center.

Johnson struck out the next hitter, Tucker Frawley, but Mason McVay then took the mound. Ian Parmley singled Ramirez home for a run charged to Johnson, but McVay struck out the next man to end the Vancouver fifth. Cole set down the Volcanoes in order in the bottom of the fifth.

McVay allowed a leadoff single to Kellen Sweeney in the seventh but struck out the next three batters. The Volcanoes faced a new pitcher, Colton Turner, in the seventh, but he struck out the side.

In the top of the eighth, Gaspar Santiago took the mound and gave up the last Vancouver run. Ramirez tripled to right center, and with two out, Jorge Flores doubled him home.

Tucker Donahue, the final Canadian pitcher, struck out Kentrell Hill and got Stephen Branca to pop out to first base before the crowd of 2,371 saw Rapp hit the ball over the right center field fence for his league-leading 11th homer. Cain then struck out to end the game.

“We battled to hold them to four,” Trebelhorn observed. He praised the fielding of his players and said Cole’s pitching reminded him of Dave Stieb, one of the best pitchers in the history of the Toronto Blue Jays, the parent club of the Canadians.

“It was a good fastball,” Rapp said of the Dohahue pitch he hit for his home run. He called Cole “a tremendous pitcher.”

“I made it a little interesting” was McVay’s first comment. Although he was referring to the two hits he gave up, he had pitched as effectively as any Volcano, striking out four in his 1-1/3 innings.

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