Hawks fall to Volcanoes in opener, lineup becomes more balanced

BOISE
— Typically, losing efforts are marked by distressed fans and heckling
critics, but in the Boise Hawks Monday night opener at Memorial Stadium,
baseball fans seemed satisfied with the Hawks 5-2 loss to the Salem-Keizer
Volcanoes. In the seventh inning, with a three run deficit, the sold out crowd
actively participated in their rendition of the timeless “Macarena” dance.

Austin
Kirk received the loss for Boise, going four innings and giving up five hits,
three runs and two walks. Though he gave up two homeruns in the game, Kirk
still showed strong movement on his pitches while earning five strikeouts.

Although
the loss can be disheartening to a young ball club, the Hawks season opener was
highlighted by a complete offensive attack throughout the batting order,
something absent in their previous series against the Yakima Bears. The Hawks
won their in Yakima, 2-1.

“Most
of those guys down at the bottom [of the order] are more speed guys, so we have
to create a little havoc down there, so that we can at least put a little
pressure on the defense,” said first-year manager of the Hawks, Jody Davis.

When
they played the Bears, Boise was carried by the offensive production of Brandon
May, Jesus Morelli and Wes Darvill at the bottom of the order. They combined
for nine of the team’s 11 RBIs, 14 of the team’s 21 hits and five of the team’s
12 runs.

Despite
a relatively calm first two innings, Kirk began to lose composure in the fourth
inning when he gave up back-to-back homeruns to Salem Keizer right fielder,
Jose Medina and designated hitter, Jesse Shriner, on consecutive pitches over
the right and left field walls respectively.

It
was clear that newly appointed Davis aimed at giving Kirk a set amount of
innings before the start of the game after he chose to leave Kirk to finish the
fourth following a visit to the mound.

“I
thought Kirk did a pretty good job even though he gave up those two home runs,”
said Davis. “We’re developing these guys, and they’re all on a pretty strict
pitch count and when they’re out there we expect to win some games. Developing
these guys and getting them to Chicago is the ultimate goal.”

Boise
narrowed the gap with the Volcanoes in the bottom of the fourth inning when
Richard Jones doubled to score Jesus Morelli from second after Morelli turned a
single into a double on an error by Salem-Keizer third baseman, Kyle Mach.
Jones was left on base to end the fourth with a 3-1 score in favor of the
Volcanoes. Jones was one of two Hawks left on base.

After
taking over for Kirk in the top of the fifth inning, right handed pitcher
Carlos Rojas took control of the game. Despite an error by Boise shortstop Arismendy
Alcantara that scored the Volcanoes’ fourth run, Rojas was able to force
Salem-Keizer into an inning-ending double play.

Rojas
finished with one walk, three strikeouts and one earned run in three innings.

Darvill – one half of the 6-4-3 double play in the fifth – was able to cut the
Volcanoes lead down to two in the sixth, when his ground ball out scored Alvaro
Ramirez from third following a sacrifice by Boise catcher, Jose Guevara.

The
final blow came by way of a pass ball in the top of the eighth inning, scoring
Kyle Mach of Salem-Keizer, increasing the lead to 5-2 Volcanoes.

Christopher
Huseby and Andres Quezada each pitched one inning for the Hawks. Huseby gave up
two hits and one run and had one walk with one strikeout.

Though
a loss wasn’t the desirable way to kick off the season for anybody, the
fireworks show to cap off the night was met by cheers and laughter from
thousands of fans, relieved that the true first day of summer had finally
arrived.

The
Hawks will try and once again emerge above the .500 mark with a win over the
Volcanoes tomorrow night. Game time is once again 7:15 pm, and gates will open
to fans at 6:45 pm. 

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