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Timely hitting and dominant pitching resulted in a 2-1 weekend

April 8, 2024

Stormy skies provided an ominous setting for opening weekend. The three games that ensued couldn’t have been further separated from the weather. Baseball is back. Really, that’s all that matters. Here’s a look at how the Emeralds fared over their opening three-game homestand. Game one The emotion resembled a team

Stormy skies provided an ominous setting for opening weekend. The three games that ensued couldn’t have been further separated from the weather.

Baseball is back. Really, that’s all that matters. Here’s a look at how the Emeralds fared over their opening three-game homestand.

Game one

The emotion resembled a team that had played months together, not one that had been introduced just three days prior.

Onil Perez stood posed at second base, his helmet tossed high into the night sky. His teammates ran out of the dugout in crazed celebration, A one-hour and 59-minute game had come down to one fateful swing of the bat.

With Scott Bandura on first and two outs, Perez launched a double just out of reach of centerfielder Werner Blakely. Bandura had been off with contact, the ensuing throw home was far too late.

On a night where three different Ems pitchers combined to shut out the Dust Devils, southpaw Jack Choate got the dominance started. Choate fanned four and allowed just two baserunners.

Choate worked 90-93 with his fastball and used his breaking ball effectively en route to four scoreless frames. His sweeper kept numerous Tri-City batters off-balance and was used in all counts as his most reliable weapon.

Dylan Cumming entered in relief of Choate and struck out five over two scoreless frames. The Dust Devils mustered just two hits on the day in an opening-day contrast devoid of hard contact and offense at all.

Cam Cotter relieved Cumming and continued the dominance on the bump. Cotter recorded the first win of the season, striking out four and needing just 20 pitches to complete his two innings of work.

Joel Hurtado, Dylan Phillips and Jared Southnard combined to fire eight scoreless frames for Tri-City. The trio of arms allowed six hits but limited the damage, Eugene left six runners on base compared to three from the Dust Devils.

Camden Minacci did not have the same success as all pitchers prior.

Bandura lined a single to center two pitches into the right-handers' night. Minacci retired the next two batters he faced before Perez lined an elevated fastball into left-center. Blakely’s sliding catch attempt came up empty, sending a restless P.K Park crowd into oblivion.

It’s fitting that players who have been in Eugene for less than a week combined for the epitome of a team win. Perez’s double was the second extra-base knock of the day. And the only one that mattered.

Game two

It’s hard to quantify the amount of swings an average minor-league takes in a game.

Between batting practice, tee work and a bevy of other drills, the average player might take hundreds of hacks before the game has even started.

Regardless of the number of swings Quinn McDaniel took Saturday evening, the result on all four balls he put into play was the same.

All four went for singles, his quartet of knocks were instrumental in Eugene’s (2-0) 7-1 victory over Tri-City (0-2).

Familiar face Hayden Wynja took the mound for the Whales and was superb. He mixed pitches well and fired four innings of one-run ball. Wynja worked 89-92 with his heater and located all three pitches effectively, filling up the strike zone with ease.

Eugene got the scoring started much earlier than the 1-0 walkoff win the night before. A Diego Velasquez leadoff double was followed by a Quinn McDaniel single to center. The pair of knocks brought up Scott Bandura who grounded to first bringing home a run.

The Whales continued to add on in the first, RBI singles to center from Zach Morgan and Justin Wishkoski made it 3-0 after one.

Jorge Marcheco got the start for Tri-City and struggled to settle in. The righthander’s night was done after 4.2 innings in which he allowed four runs. Marcheco was tagged for six hits and struggled with command, leaving a plethora of pitches over the middle of the plate.

After cruising through his first two innings of work, Wynja allowed back-to-back doubles to Caleb Ketchup and Ronaldo Lopez. The second of which came on a poorly located fastball and went down the left-field line. Lopez’s knock plated the Dust Devil's first run of the season.

It would be the only run they could muster, Tri-City has combined for seven hits and just the lone run through 18 offensive innings this year.

Nick Sinacola — who snagged his first victory of the year — delt, he fired three scoreless innings striking out two. He utilized his fastball and slider well and was key in keeping the Tri-City offense at bay in game two.

Three more runs came around to score in the bottom of the eighth on Diego Velasquez’s bases-clearing double. The knock extended the Whale's lead to 7-1, providing them with more than enough insurance on a night where Tri-City’s bats were lethargic.

Former top prospect Seth Corry fired a scoreless eighth, setting up Tyler Vogel who finished off the game for Eugene.

Game three

Two wins in front of a spirited P.K Park crowd meant baseball was back in Eugene. Unfortunately, that means the less fun parts too.

Los Monarcas De Eugene (2-1) fell to Tri-City (1-2) 4-3. Eugene put up three runs in the first two innings of action but the Dust Devil's bullpen combined to shut down the once lively offense down the stretch. Matt Higgins was Eugene’s offensive catalyst, adding three knocks in the loss.

Tri-City starter Walbert Urena had early issues with command and loaded the bases with no one out. The Monarcas — in their fresh new orange jerseys — would make Tri-City pay. Higgins added an RBI single before Thomas Gavello was hit by a pitch, bringing in the second run of the frame.

Tri-City got a run back in the second off of Monarcas starter Manuel Mercedes. Matt Coutney singled and came around to score via an error.

After Mercedes’ unearned run came across to score, Eugene relied on some Tri-City sloppiness to bring across its third run of the game. Tanner O’Tremba led off with a walk before stealing second and advancing to third via an errant throw from the catcher. A misplaced breaking ball from Urena brought O’Tremba around to score on a wild pitch, extending the Monarcas lead back to two.

Mercedes' previously reliable command waivered in the third, the right-hander flashed an effective sinker but walked a pair before allowing an RBI single and sac-fly to Tri-City who tied it up in the third.

Leonard Garcia — who came away with his first victory of the season — entered in relief of Urena with two runners on and one out. Garcia was effective throughout and retired the ensuing pair of batters.

Tri-City took its first lead of the night in the sixth via a Joe Stewart single. Eugene threatened with a pair of hits in the bottom of the inning but failed to score on new arm Carlos Espinosa.

Unfortunately for the lively Eugene crowd, there was nothing doing for the Monarcas down the stretch. Camden Minacci — who allowed the walk-off double on opening night — shut down the Eugene offense and earned his first save of the season. Velasquez singled in the ninth bringing Perez up to the dish as the winning run but Minacci induced a ground ball leaving the “rally sasquatch’s” first appearance unanswered.


Eugene leads its division with eight stolen bags, four of which went to Quinn McDaniel who went 6-8 at the dish.

The Emeralds allowed just four earned runs over the opening series, their team ERA of .167 is good for first in the Northwest division.