Eighth inning surge not enough for Hawks to top Indians

With only a week left in the Northwest League baseball
season, the Boise Hawks (12-20) took on the Spokane Indians, who clinched the
East Division in the second half of the season, in one of the “dog days” of fall
at Memorial Stadium Tuesday. The Indians looked as excited as Kirstie Alley at
a salad bar.

Despite their lifeless play, Spokane managed to show why
they will be facing the Yakima Bears in the playoffs at the end of the series
in Boise. Literally no effort was yielded by the Indians in the first three
innings, yet they were still able to outscore the Hawks 4-0 on a flurry of
hits. Indians designated hitter Brett Nicholas blasted a line drive shot down
the right field line only to be called foul by the home plate umpire. It took
Nicholas nearly two minutes to stroll back to the batter’s box while receiving
a plethora of insults from the home crowd.

Though the season is all but over for the Hawks players, and
fans, Tuesday night attendees saw the return of Tarlandas Mitchell who spent
the majority of the second half of the season in Mesa, Ariz. for rehab with the
Arizona Rookie League Cubs. Mitchell threw two quality innings out of the
bullpen, allowing one run on four hits with two strikeouts and two walks after relieving
starter Juan Serrano.

While down five runs in the bottom of the eighth inning, the
Hawks rallied to spawn a late game comeback, scoring three runs on three hits,
a walk, and a hit by pitch. The revolt was ended abruptly on a devastating double
play on a Dustin Harrington ground ball to Spokane shortstop Jurickson Profar.

In the ninth, Colby Killian earned his seventh save of the
season for the Indians, striking out two to finish the game.

INJURY REPORT

Hawks shortstop Elliot Soto left the game Tuesday when he
injured his ankle on a hit by pitch in the eighth inning. Manager Jody Davis
immediately removed him from the game.

Alcantara, Na lead Hawks past Aquasox, 7-6

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With Alvaro Ramirez out of the lineup and manager Jody Davis still under suspension, the Boise Hawks (6-11) had to look elsewhere for both leadership and production Saturday night against the Everett Aquasox.

Second baseman Arismendy Alcantar and center fielder Kyung-Min Na – with the help of four Everett errors – gladly filled the gaps. Alcantara’s two run home run in the sixth inning gave the Hawks a 6-4 lead, just as it seemed the game was slipping away from, while Na’s double in the seventh increased Boise’s lead by two after an Everett run in the top of the inning. Together the pair totaled six hits and three RBI in the club’s 7-6 victory over the Aquasox.

Pierre LePage and Jeff Vigurs also had two hit ball games, while three other Hawks finished with one hit.

Eric Jokisch got the start for the Hawks, but it was Dustin Fitzgerald who received the win for his four innings of work down the stretch, allowing one earned run on five hits and four strikeouts. Home-grown pitcher, Jordan Latham earned his first save on the season for his work in the ninth inning to close out the revolting Aquasox.

With radio announcer Mike Safford taking advantage of his off day, media relations assistant Chad Bates took over the mic and highlighted his skills as a future play-by-play man.

Sunday, the Hawks take on the Aquasox in the second game of a five game series against Everett, as they look to escape their East Division worst 6-11 record.

Alvaro Ramirez and Pierre LePage: Two players that don’t belong in Boise

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With a commanding 6-3 win over the Tri-City Dust Devils (5-10)
Thursday night, the Boise Hawks moved into a tie for third place in the
Northwest League East Division, and will look to complete the sweep with Austin
Kirk on the mound, in front of an anticipated sold out crowd at Memorial
Stadium tonight.

Still, the Hawks (5-10) sit four games behind the division
leading Bears, who, are on pace to capture the final playoff position in the
East.

Clearly the second half of the season hasn’t started out as
planned but with the amount of roster moves made by the Chicago Cubs (Matthew
Szczur led the Hawks in hitting during his 18 games in Boise with a .397
batting average), consistency can be hard to come by.

The only people keeping this sinking ship afloat for the fifth
worst offensive team in the NWL: Alvaro Ramirez and Pierre LePage.

Since arriving in Boise from his home in Wolcott, Conn.,
LePage, 21, has had nothing but success for the Hawks. In 42 games, the little
man with high hopes is second on the team in the majority of offensive categories;
behind only Ramirez.

Ramirez is now in his fifth season in the Chicago Cubs
organization, but has yet to be promoted higher than Class-A Boise for more
than 12 games. He now leads the team in average, hits, runs, plate appearances,
stolen bases, on-base percentage, slugging percentage and OPS (on-base plus
slugging).

In last night’s game, Ramirez went 2-for-4 with an RBI, while
making a pair of jaw dropping catches in right field. LePage also went 2-for-4,
but showed off his speed with a stolen base.

Each of these players have voiced themselves as leaders on
the team not with their screaming or intricate handshakes, but with their
hustle and everyday love for the game, though neither has seen any love from
scouting director, Tim Wilkins, and his team.

Though it would pain me to see them leave, Ramirez and
LePage don’t deserve to be in Boise, and, if they return next season, questions
should be asked of the Cubs’ scouting “genius.”

With only 12 home games left in the season, Hawks fans are
running out of time to see possibly two of the best players to call Boise home.

Hawks road update, playoff procedures

After what seemed like an eternal road trip, the Boise Hawks
will wrap up their eight game stint away from Memorial Stadium Monday, and will
resume play at home on Wednesday.

While on the road, the Hawks capped a July month that
yielded little success and a drastic drop in the Northwest League East Division
standings. In July, the Cubs’ Class-A affiliate went 13-16, dropping them out
of contention for the first-half playoff position.

This season, the winner of each division, in each half of
the season, will clinch a playoff position come September. If one team wins the
division in both halves of the season, the second place team will assume the
final playoff spot.

Though the Hawks are currently 22-27 this season, their
second half record (3-8) will determine their postseason involvement.

For Boise to participate in the playoffs this September,
they need to either win the East Division outright or finish second to the
first-half division winner, Spokane.

The Everett Aquasox and the Spokane Indians have already
secured their positions in the playoffs after winning the West and East
divisions respectively.

Currently, the Yakima Bears (25-24) are in first place in
the East Division with a second-half record of 7-4.

Though unsupportive of their playoff push, the Hawks were
forced to forfeit against the Aquasox, after failing to return to the field
following a 20 minute rain delay Saturday night.

The Hawks will kick off their three-game home stand against
the Tri-City Dust Devils Wednesday, followed by a five-game series against the
Everett Aquasox; two crucial series for the Boise’s postseason future.

Slumps and Streaks: Hawks fall to third in the East, lose eight straight

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It was about time.

After somewhat of a miraculous first half of the season, the
Boise Hawks have fallen to third place in the Northwest League East division
following eight straight losses by way Tri-City, Yakima and Vancouver.

On the season, the Hawks still sit at second place in the
NWL in batting, second only to the first-place Spokane Indians. Despite the
losing streak, however, Boise is only .021 off of their season average of .260.

Now that 41 games are in the books, the Hawks will have to
fight to maintain some composure for the first time in the 2010 season.

The key to their success: the little things. In those eight
games, five have been decided by one or two runs.

Tonight’s game will feature the Battle of the Caribbean when
Cuban defect, and Hawks pitcher, Juan Serrano, faces the Canadians’
left-hander, Anvioris Ramirez in the fourth game of the series.

Szczur on the move, Hawks reunited with former local star

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The Boise Hawks front office announced the newest set of
moves by the Chicago Cubs, which includes recent standout Matt Szczur, just
before their five-game series against the Vancouver Canadians.

Szczur and third baseman George Matheus were promoted to
Class-A Peoria to join 2009 Boise standout, Hak-Ju Lee; while three players –
Alvaro Sosa, Marcos Perez and Wes Darvill — were demoted to the Mesa Cubs in
the Arizona Rookie League for further instruction.

In 18 games for the Hawks this season, Szczur is leading the
team in average (.397) and on-base percentage (.439) , and is third in runs
(17) and doubles (9) for the club.

Matheus was sent down to the Hawks after starting the 2010
season in Peoria, where he played in 16 games, hitting .160 with an OBP of only
.208. After returning to the Hawks, Matheus had a .237 batting average, while
increasing his OBP to .423.

Joining the Hawks for the home stand is former Centennial
High School pitcher, Jordan Latham, who went 2-0 with a 2.74 ERA for the Hawks
in 2007. Latham went 1-3 with a 4.81 ERA in 35 appearances for the Peoria
Chiefs this season.

Three rookies were also added to Boise’s roster Wednesday;
infielders Ryan Cuneo and Dustin Harrington, as well as pitcher Eric Rice, will
be joining the team from the AZL.

The Hawks (19-19) currently sit at second place in the East
Division to the Spokane Indians after losing five in a row, including a series
sweep by the Yakima Bears.

Fans should look to see how Boise responds after losing one
of its most consistent hitters, Szczur, who has provided a large amount of
offensive support for a lackluster lineup at times.

Hawks say goodbye to star closer, win third straight

It was just a matter of time. The one consistent component
of the Hawks pitching staff, Corey Martin, was promoted to Class A Peoria on
Thursday, after earning seven saves in as many chances for Boise.

In nine innings, Martin gave up five hits, no walks and one
earned run; all-the-while recording an ERA of 1.00 throughout the eight games.

One of the many downsides to the brutal life of minor league
baseball once again surfaces: consistent, strong players don’t stick around for
long.

Martin began the 2010 season with the Peoria Chiefs, but was
sent down to short season Boise after going 1-1 with a 10.38 ERA in only seven
appearances.

The loss of Martin will leave a vacant spot in the closer
position, most likely to be filled by Aaron Kurcz, who received his first save
against the Emeralds on Thursday.

Thursday was a day of movement for the Chicago Cubs
organization. Five new players were added to the Hawks roster, four of which
were 2010 draftees. Pitchers Brent Ebinger, Matthew Loosen and Eduardo Figueroa
each joined the team Thursday, with Figueroa making his second stint with the
club.

Position players Elliot Soto and Matt Szczur also joined the
team, while outfielder Runey Davis was released by the organization after
hitting .174 with two home runs and three RBI in 14 games to go with 19
strikeouts.

Two players were demoted to the Arizona Rookie League’s Mesa
Cubs as well. Joe Zeller was 0-1 with a 6.14 ERA in only four appearances,
while Yao-Lin Wang went 0-2 with a 6.43 ERA, allowing 19 hits in 14 innings.

Offensive juggernaut Brandon May was placed on the 7-Day
Disabled List after hitting three home runs and driving home 14 RBI for the
Hawks this season. May will rehab his injured left knee along with pitcher
Tarlandus Mitchell, who strained a muscle during the pregame workouts in
Spokane on Monday.

GAME NOTES:

Offense was plentiful for the Boise Hawks on Friday Night,
allowing the team to recover after one disastorous inning – the fifth – and maintain
their East Division lead over the Spokane Indians, who defeated the Everett
Aquasox.

Despite a relatively sound first three innings of work by
Hawks pitcher John Mincone couldn’t find his first win of the season. Mincone
received a no-decision after being removed in the fifth inning in the midst of
a Eugene offensive surge.

Though the Emeralds scored six runs against one of the worst
statistical offenses in the Northwest League, Boise was able to hold onto the
lead after two four run innings, allowing them to defeat Eugene 9-6.

Alvaro Ramirez and Arismendy Alcantara both had multi-hit
ball games Friday, finishing 3-for-5 and 3-for-3 respectively. In his first
game with the Hawks, Elliot Soto had one hit in three tries, driving in two
runs in the fourth for the club.

Brent Ebinger received the win for the Hawks after taking
over for Mincone, throwing 2.2 innings while giving up four hits and walking
two Eugene hitters.

In the stead of Corey Martin, Daniel Keefe was called on to
close for Boise, throwing one inning and striking out the side in the top of
the ninth.

Hawks take one from the Indians, falter in Spokane

kirk.jpgAlthough the Boise Hawks (10-9) have been on the road in
Spokane for the last three games against the Indians, that doesn’t mean there
hasn’t been plenty of notable baseball news for Hawks fans.

After losing two or three games against the Indians, the Hawks
have once again joined the Yakima Bears (10-9) as co-leaders of the Northwest
League’s East Division. Though the series may be viewed as a failure in the
form of wins and losses, it is still a mystery why Boise is even in the
position of division-leading contention.

Boise is currently last in the NWL in hitting with a
combined .219 batting average and a seventh ranked (out of eight) run
production at 72. Only Vancouver has fewer runs this season with 58. The
Canadians are also in a three-way tie for the worst record in the league.

The secret to their “success” isn’t their pitching either –
save the consistency of closer Corey Martin. Boise has a combined ERA of 4.23,
third worst in the NWL, while Martin has an ERA of 1.00 in nine innings
pitched, with a league leading seven saves to match. The next closest pitcher
is Vancouver’s Mike Hart who has four in seven innings.

Tuesday, Austin Kirk earned his second win of the season, and
second in a row, striking out three and allowing four hits in five innings.
Richard Jones tied Brandon May for the team lead in home runs after he belted
his third of the season in the eighth inning of the final game against Spokane,
adding another insurance run to their 4-2 win to salvage a small piece of the
series.

Six Hawks hitters had multi-hit games against the Indians –
Alvaro Ramirez, Pierre LePage, George Matheus, Runey Davis, Richard Jones and
Jesus Morelli – while six also had multi-strikeout games: Micah Gibbs, Jose
Guevara (2), Arismendy Alcantara, Kyung-Min Na, Jones and Morelli.

A bright spot for the Hawks following the holiday break was
the return of center fielder Na, who was sidelined for three games after
suffering an elbow injury against the Emeralds in Eugene. Na had previously
played in 11 straight games before the injury.

Some rust was apparent with Na in Spokane, however. Na only
reached base in one plate appearance in 10 opportunities.

LePage continues to show off his various talents on the
field; both offensively and defensively. He went 4-for-13 against the Indians,
and is currently hitting .351 for the Hawks with 13 hits and 10 RBI.

The Hawks will face off against the Eugene Emeralds (8-11) in
their next home stand that begins on Thursday, with the routine fireworks show
on Friday, in an inter-division matchup. The series spans five games across the
weekend, and could pose as another exciting couple of games for Hawks fans. The
Emeralds are second in the league with a .266 batting average and 175 hits;
trailing only the explosive Salem-Keizer Volcanoes.

Save it aint so: Corey Martin continues to dominate Northwest League hitters

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On Saturday night, in front of 3,901 fans at
Memorial Stadium, the Boise Hawks held on to defeat the Yakima Bears, 4-3, as a
preemptive celebration of  our great nation’s
birthday. The real story of the night was, however, the collaborative team
success by the Hawks; and ultimately the triumph of closer Corey Martin, who has
the Northwest League best, six saves in as many opportunities.

Martin has a 1.23 ERA in 7.1 innings pitched for the
Hawks and shut down an attempted comeback by the Bears in the eighth and ninth
innings. In little over one inning pitched Saturday, he also had three
strikeouts, fanning three of the final four Yakima batters with one home run
allowed.

Boise’s famed closer wasn’t the only contributor
against the Bears; however, first baseman Richard Jones provided the majority
of the Hawks offensive production in the sixth spot in the lineup. Jones went
2-for-4 with a double and a single that drove in two strong RBI in the sixth
inning, despite striking out twice to start the game.

NOTES:

The first five hitters in the Hawks lineup – Alvaro Ramirez,
Pierre LePage, Jose Morelli, Brandon May and Micah Gibbs – went  3-for-17, and average of .176.

On the mound for the Hawks, John Mincone had 4.2
quality innings pitched, giving up six hits and two runs to match his three strikeouts.
Making his third professional appearance, Eric Jokisch was awarded his first
win of the year, throwing one inning Saturday, with four strikeouts and one
walk.

HAYDEN SIMPSON UPDATE:

According to MLB.com’s Chicago Cubs beat writer,
Carrie Muskat, first-round draft pick Hayden Simpson was expected to be
assigned to a minor league team this month, but has come down with a “viral
infection” and won’t be reporting until he is healthy. 

The French Revolution: LePage shines in Hawks debut

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Once again, the French have come to our aid, and the
arrival couldn’t have come at a better time. At arrival of Pierre LePage – one of
four new players to arrive in Boise selected in the 2010 First-Year Player’s
Draft – the Boise Hawks (8-6) were the worst hitting team in the Northwest
League with a .216 batting average and a league low, 93 RBI heading into a new
three game home stand against the Yakima Bears (6-8). That’s all about to
change.

In only his fifth professional game since being
drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 13th round of the draft, Pierre LePage went
2-4 with two hits and four RBI for the Hawks in their 7-0 win over the Bears
Thursday.

With the score tied 0-0 in the bottom of the second
inning and the bases loaded, LePage hit a base-clearing triple to left field,
scoring George Matheus, Arismendy Alcantara and Alvaro Ramirez.

The added run support proved crucial to left-handed
pitcher, Austin Kirk’s success in his third start of the season. Kirk went five
complete innings, giving up only three hits, while fanning five Yakima hitters –
arguably one of the best starts by a Hawks starter thus far.

LePage boasts a high baseball IQ, as well as plus
speed and contact hitting ability. With this new charge to the lineup, the
Hawks could see continued success on the back of the University of Connecticut
product.

NOTES:

Right-handed relief man, Carlos Rojas, had another
successful outing for the Hawks, showing off his impeccable curveball,
finishing with two hits allowed and one strikeout in three innings pitched.
Rojas has a 1.54 ERA on the season.

Four Boise sluggers had two hit ball games in the
win; Alvaro Ramirez, Jesus Morelli, Runey Davis and LePage. Davis had a double
in the third and an opposite-field home run in the fifth inning.

LePage wasn’t the only player to make his Boise
debut; Micah Gibbs, the most anticipated prospect of the draftees who arrived
Thursday, went 0-4 with two strikeouts as a designated hitter for the club. However,
Gibbs is regarded as one of the best catchers chosen in the draft and will
flaunt his strengths defensively behind the plate in the ensuing games against
Yakima.