Subscribe to get tough, fair journalism seven days a week.
Subscribe today

Bears’ claws come out, stymy Volcanoes

Matt Duffy knocks a ball foul during the game with the Everett Aquasox Sunday, July 15. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

For the Keizertimes

Tough Yakima pitching and a few big hitting blows held the Volcanoes scoreless Saturday at home, with the Bears winning 4-0 before a Cancer Awareness Weekend crowd of 3,464.

Kendry Flores, Salem-Keizer’s starting pitcher, took the loss for a 1-2 record despite slightly lowering his season earned run average to 3.30, striking out four in his six innings, and allowing only four hits and one walk.

Daniel Watts, Yakima’s left-handed starting pitcher, did not allow a baserunner until the fourth inning.

The damage was done in the top of the fourth inning. With one out and Jimmy Comerota having doubled,  Joe Loftus hit a home run over the left field fence.

In the bottom of the fourth Kentrell Hill led off with a bunt single, the first Volcano hit of the game. He became Salem-Keizer’s second baserunner, Dashenko Ricardo having reached first base in the third on an error by third baseman Mark Ginther. Matt Duffy then flew out to center fielder Danny Poma. With Chuckie Jones at bat, catcher Steven Rodriguez threw to second baseman Josh Parr, who nailed Hill trying to steal second. Jones then ended the inning with a fly to Poma.

The next baserunner of the game was the Volcanoes’ Stephen Branca, who doubled to right in the sixth with two out. Hill, however, hit a foul fly to first baseman Comerota to end the inning.

Armando Paniagua came in to relieve Flores at the start of the seventh. With two out and Ginther on first with a walk, Rodriguez doubled to drive Ginther home. Mike Lang reached first on an error by shortstop Duffy, with Rodriguez moving to third. Lefthander Steven Okert then came in to pitch and retired Kevin Medrano with a fly to right fielder Andrew Cain to end the top of the inning.

The Volcanoes threatened in the seventh. Duffy was hit by a pitch, Jones lined out to Medrano at short, and Joe Rapp walked. Mitchell Delfino forced out Rapp at second, with Duffy going to third. Rafael Rodriguez then grounded out to end the inning.

In the eighth, the Bears scored their last run. Parr singled to center and went to second as Comerota grounded out. Loftus singled Parr home.

Victor Capellan relieved starter Daniel Watts in the eighth. A submariner, he loaded the bases on a one-out walk to Ricardo, a single by Branca and a walk to Hill. Duffy hit a grounder that Capellan fielded; he fired home to force out Ricardo. Jones struck out to end the threat.

Ian Gardeck took the mound for the Volcanoes in the ninth. He allowed two singles, but neither runner got past second. In the bottom of the ninth, Capellan set down the Volcanoes in order.

Watts won his second game as a Bear and dropped his earned run average below 1.

“It’s hard if you don’t score,” Salem-Keizer manager Tom Trebelhorn said. “Flores pitched well. We just gave up a lot of runs out of the bullpen in this series.”

Flores, who has been steadily improving, said through an interpreter, teammate Gaspar Santiago, that he has been throwing the cutter more than he did previously.

Branca, who got two-thirds of the Volcanoes’ three hits and played well at second base, played for Tennessee Wesleyan College before starting this season with the Arizona League Giants. He said adjusting to the pitchers was more important than switching from a metal to a wood bat. He was a shortstop in college but said he liked playing second.

He is not related to Ralph Branca, the Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher best known for serving a home run pitch to the New York Giants’ Bobby Thomson to decide the 1951 National League championship.


YAK 000 200 110    4  9 1
S-K 000 000 000    0 3  1

W – Watts (2-1)
L – Flores (1-2)

HR – Yakima (Loftus)

Salem-Keizer picks up one win in tough week

For the Keizertimes

July 11: Yakima 8, Volcanoes 7

Salem-Keizer fought hard in the ninth inning, scoring five of its runs and ending up with more hits than visiting Yakima, but the Volcanoes came up a run short.

Yakima scored three runs in the first inning and one each in the third, seventh and eighth. After the Bears scored twice in the top of the ninth, the Volcanoes scored three before their first out and then another, but the next two batters were retired.

In the first, trailing 3-0, Kentrell Hill singled, advanced on a passed ball and a grounder, and scored on a single by Joe Rapp. In the second, Rafael Rodriguez hit his second home run of the season.

Stephen Branca singled to lead off the Volcanoes ninth. Hill doubled, and Michael Mergenthaler reached first on an error that scored Branca. Matt Duffy singled Hill home, and Rapp singled Mergenthaler home. After RJ Hively, who was to get a save, came in to pitch, he threw a wild pitch that scored Rapp. He then retired newcomer Mitchell Delfino and Dashenko Ricardo.

Yakima starter Blake Perry was the winning pitcher and Volcanoes starter Joe Biagini was the loser despite his 10 strikeouts.

July 12: Yakima 8, Volcanoes 5

The Volcanoes had a 3-0 lead through four innings, but the Bears scored five in the fifth.

Salem-Keizer almost caught up with a run in the fifth, but Yakima came back with three in the seventh, and all the Volcanoes could get after than was one in the eighth.

The first Volcano run came in the second inning, when a triple by Andrew Cain scored Joe Rapp. Rapp scored again in the fourth when, with the bases loaded, Cain hit into a force out. Sam Eberle then singled to drive in Mitchell Delfino.

Yakima’s five fifth-inning runs came on five hits, including a home run by Jimmy Comerota. The remaining Volcanoes runs were scored on ground outs. Doubles drove in each of the Bears’ last three runs.

Jose Jose was the winning pitcher in relief, and starter Joan Gregorio took the loss.

July 13: Volcanoes 6, Yakima 4

The Volcanoes led all the way, overcoming five extra-base hits for Yakima to none for Salem-Keizer.

Two of the Volcanoes’ runs came in the first inning. Kentrell Hill reached first base on an error and third on a single by Matt Duffy and scored on a sacrifice fly by Chuckie Jones. Duffy stole second, and Mitchell Delfino singled him home.

In the fourth, Andrew Cain singled, stole second and scored on a single by Dashenko Ricardo.

The Bears got their first run in the fifth on a bases-empty home run by Michael Lang. Yakima added two runs in the seventh and one in the eighth, but that was it. In the Volcanoes eighth, Stephen Yarrow ran for Delfino, who had singled. He advanced on a single and a walk and scored on a wild pitch.

Raymundo Montero was the winning pitcher, and Tyler Mizenko got his fifth save. Bears starter Alexander Carreras took the loss.

July 14: Yakima 10, Volcanoes 8

Each club went through six pitchers in a game that had Salem-Keizer ahead 6-2 after five innings.

The Volcanoes scored four runs in the second inning and Yakima eight in the sixth. The Bears had seven of their 17 hits in the sixth, which included three pitchers, three of Salem-Keizer’s four errors and the ejection of  Volcano manager Tom Trebelhorn.

In the Volcano second, Rafael Rodriguez singled, stole second base, went to third on a single by Sam Eberle and scored when Kentrell Hill doubled. Matt Duffy walked, and Chuckie Jones singled Eberle and Hill home. Joe Rapp drove in Duffy with a single.

Jose Jose was the winning pitcher in relief, and RJ Hively had a save. Randall Zeigler took the loss in relief.

July 15: Everett 11, Volcanoes 2

Fourteen hits, including three home runs, gave visiting Everett the first game of the series.

Pitcher Joe Biagini blanked the AquaSox for the first three innings but gave up two runs in the fourth and two in the fifth before giving way to Franklin Noel after five. Noel gave up four more and Armando Paniagua three.

Taylor Ard, Patrick Kivlehan and Mike Zunino homered for Everett. There was one Salem-Keizer home run, by Rafael Rodriguez in the seventh with Mitchell Delfino on base.

The Volcanoes loaded the bases in the eighth and had runners on second and third in the ninth but could not cross the plate.

Starter Rusty Shellhorn was the winning pitcher.

July 16: Everett 6, Volcanoes 2

Salem-Keizer scored twice in the first inning and led until the seventh.

That was when the AquaSox, who had a run by then, scored three. Mike Zunino led off with his second home run of the game. Two singles, a sacrifice bunt, an RBI ground out and a passed ball followed.

In the Volcano second, Ryan Jones singled, reached second on a walk to Chuckie Jones and went to third after tagging on a fly. Rafael Rodriguez singled to score both baserunners.

Blake Hauser was the winning pitcher in relief. Starter Joan Gregorio took the loss for a 3-3 record.