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Salem-Keizer loses wild one to Ems

Volcano Will Callaway hits a single in the game with the Eugene Emeralds Monday, July 28. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)
Volcano Will Callaway hits a single in the game with the Eugene Emeralds Monday, July 28. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

For the Keizertimes

Salem-Keizer had the series with Eugene won, but different problems kept the Volcanoes from a sweep at home Tuesday.

The Volcanoes led 3-1 after one inning and 5-2 after two, but the crowd of 2,187 saw them leave 12 runners on base, make two wild pitches and a passed ball in the seventh inning, and end up losing 8-6.

Drew Leenhouts, the Volcanoes’ starter, allowed six runs, five earned, in his 4-1/3 innings. In the first inning, Travis Jankowsky led off with a walk and was out on a force out, right fielder Austin Slater’s throw to shortstop Christian Arroyo, with Auston Bousfield reaching first base. Bousfield went to second as Franchy Cordero grounded out and scored on a Texas League single to left center field by Marcus Davis.

In the bottom of the second, Johneshwy Fargas led off with a home run over the left field fence. Newcomer Ryder Jones doubled to right center and went to third on a wild pitch by Emerald starter Thomas Dorminy. Christian Arroyo scored Jones by grounding out. Skyler Ewing walked, Austin Slater singled to right, and Will Callaway singled to left to load the bases. Travious Relaford walked, forcing Ewing home.

Eugene scored again in the second as Michael Miller homered over the left field wall.

The Volcanoes answered with two runs in the second, facing a new pitcher, Griffin Russell. Fargas was hit by a pitch, Jones walked, and they pulled a double steal. Arroyo singled to center, driving both runners in.

The Emeralds tied the score in the third. Jankowsky hit an infield single and stole second. Bousfield drove him in with a double to center and stole third. Franchy Cordero struck out but reached first base after catcher Fernando Pujadas dropped the third strike and made a bad throw to first that let Bousfield score. Nick Torres scored Cordero with a double to left.

In the Eugene fifth, Bousfield led off with a triple to right and scored on a wild pitch. After Cordero doubled to right and reached third on a ground out, Armando Paniagua replaced Leenhouts and retired the side.

Salem-Keizer came back with a run in the fifth, facing Wilson Santos on the mound. Brett Kay walked, reached third on a double to right by Fargas and scored as Jones grounded out.

Steven Neff pitched the top of the seventh and gave up the last two runs. Jankowski singled to left and went to third on a double to left by Bousfield. A wild pitch let Jankowski score and Bousfield reach third. Davis drew a fourth ball on a passed ball that brought Bousfield home. Another wild pitch did no harm, because it was followed by a strikeout that ended the Eugene seventh.

No one on either side reached base after that. In the ninth, Relaford struck out and ran for third after Miller dropped the third strike. He was called out on a close play at first and argued vehemently enough that he was ejected.

Neff, the losing pitcher, was followed by Kirk Singer, who struck out two in his two innings. Santos was the winning pitcher, followed by Seth Lucio and then Bryan Verbitsky, who got his sixth save.

“We didn’t play very well,” manager Gary Davenport said of his Volcanoes. “We could have sewn that game up early.”

Singer, who had the best pitching performance among the Volcanoes, has improved rapidly in recent games. Formerly an infielder in the Pittsburgh Pirate organization, who had been converted to a pitcher, released and signed by the San Francisco Giants, he said Bert Bradley, pitching coordinator in the Giants organization, had changed his grip and movement with his sinker.