Posts Tagged ‘Salem-Keizer Volcanoes’

The No-Hitters Keep Coming

August has been a good month for minor league no-hitters – there have been approximately 412 so far (that might be a slight exaggeration), with three more added to the list on Saturday.

In the Arizona League, three Athletics pitchers combined to hold the Angels hitless – payback, perhaps, for August 14, when the Angels did the same to the A’s.  There was only one problem: the Angels won both games.

Hector Garcia started and went five innings, striking out five and walking two.  One of those walks came in the fifth, to the leadoff batter, who advanced to second on a passed ball, to third on a groundout, and to home on another groundout.

After Christopher Mederos pitched two perfect innings, Daniel Tenholder got the call.  He pitched a perfect eighth, but in the ninth, two consecutive errors and an intentional walk loaded the bases with nobody out.  The end was anticlimactic: a walk-off walk to Randal Grichuk.  So I guess, technically, it was an eight inning no-hitter.

The outcome of the Northwest League game between Salem-Keizer and Everett was a bit more traditional.  Three Volcanoes pitchers combined for the no-hitter, but these guys managed to win the game, 8-0.  Craig Westcott went the first five, striking out six and walking two to run his overall record to 6-0 between two levels (he also has 51 strikeouts in 33.1 innings), before turning things over to Brandon Graves and Wilber Bucardo for the last twelve outs.

The finest performance of the day was turned in by Erie’s Thad Weber.  Weber went the full nine innings against Akron, striking out ten without walking a batter.  Only a third inning error and an eighth inning hit batsman stood in the way of a perfect game.  His teammates made it easy for him, scoring seven runs in the fourth en route to a 16-0 drubbing of the visiting Aeros.

Salem-Keizer Volcanoes vs. Eugene Emeralds, 8/27/08

In the wake of the ever so slight disappointment of Portland Beavers baseball, I knew I couldn’t wrap up my Oregon visit without checking out at least one other team. The opportunity arose midweek when the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes (A-ball affiliate of the San Francisco Giants) hosted the Eugene Emeralds (junior San Diegers), an hour south of Portland on I-5. We found some excellent Ecuadorian food before the game, paid three bucks to park the minivan car, and stepped up to get some seats.

The ticket booth of Volcanoes Stadium, aka “The Crater.” The park is right alongside I-5, its lights a Bus Leagues beacon for miles around. Throughout the game, trucks pulled their air horns in ballgame solidarity.

The concessions stand, a little more old-school than some of the other places I’ve visited this season. Don’t try to get a sandwich at the Healthy Hut. They don’t sell them there anymore.

And here we are: field of dreams. Eat your heart out, PGE Park.

It’s a beautiful place.

Crater, the mascot, is a lavender dinosaur with a baseball for a head. Kind of like if Mr. Met got left in a radiation chamber for a long, long time. While several children were reportedly running away from Crater, screaming, I have to confess great affection for the guy. Otherwise he might eat me.

On to the picnic area. People chilling on the hill, playing catch, watched over by a line of older folks with lawn chairs and blankets.

The Sno-Cone girl and the soda guy. I told them I was a reporter from the Bus Leagues Blog. The soda guy was skeptical. Eric and Brian, I need some business cards.

The volcano mounted on the left-field scoreboard erupts whenever a Volcano hits a home run. After getting kicked around pretty good—the Emeralds were up 13-3—we finally got to see some seismic action in the bottom of the sixth, courtesy of DH Michael Ambort (1.059 OPS this year).

Also, further mitigating the slaughter, it was Volcanoes Idol Night. After every other inning, local rising stars would sing their hearts out behind home plate. I don’t think this girl won, but in my book, everyone’s a winner.

At the end of the seventh, Eugene was up 17-4. These ladies deemed it time to bust out the knitting, and we hit the road.

Inspiration For 50th Round Picks Everywhere

Mike Loree is too good for the Northwest League.

I first considered writing about Loree about two weeks ago, when he was in the midst of a remarkable stretch in which he retired 62 of 63 batters over four starts for the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes (A-, Northwest League).  If you want empirical proof that Wins and Losses are vastly overrated, look no further than Loree’s results from those games:

June 25: 5 innings, 0 runs, 2 hits, 0 walks, 3 strikeouts – NO DECISION
June 30: 6 innings, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 7 strikeouts – WIN
July 5: 7 innings, 1 run, 1 hit, 0 walks, 7 strikeouts – LOSS
July 11: 7 innings, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 7 strikeouts – NO DECISION

In his next two outings, on July 16 and 21, Loree came back down to earth, allowing six runs on fifteen hits in nine innings.  He struck out a total of just six batters and also issued his first walk of the season.

So why mention him now?

Because yesterday, 21-year-old righthander was at it again, carrying a no-hitter into the seventh inning for the fourth time.  He allowed two hits, a walk, and a run before leaving after 6.2 innings, but his team managed to get him some runs and the bullpen held the line for a 3-1 win that evened his record at 2-2.