Class A Short Season Tri-City jumped out to an early lead against Spokane on Friday night, but things got pretty quiet after that. Once it got to the ninth inning, however, events quickly kicked into high gear.After Tri-City squandered a lead in the top of the ninth, Sean Guilbe drew
Class A Short Season Tri-City jumped out to an early lead against Spokane on Friday night, but things got pretty quiet after that. Once it got to the ninth inning, however, events quickly kicked into high gear.
After Tri-City squandered a lead in the top of the ninth, Sean Guilbe drew a bases-loaded walk in the 10th as the Dust Devils walked off with a 3-2 win in the decisive third game of the Northwest League semifinals at Gesa Stadium.
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It may not have ended the way the Dust Devils expected, given they had a 2-0 lead heading to the ninth, but all that matters is that they're heading to the Championship Series.
"It was a great win," Tri-City manager Mike McCoy said. "Maybe not how we drew it up, giving it up there in the ninth a little bit. But the boys are pumped up. ... It was a fun win."
The Dust Devils jumped ahead in the first. Kelvin Melean and Logan Driscoll drew two-out walks off southpaw starter Joshua Javier and Luke Becker drove in Melean with a single to right field. The story was similar in the second as Jordy Barley worked a leadoff walk and came home on a base hit by Reinaldo Ilarraza to make it 2-0.
Nobody scored again until the ninth, when Alexander Ovalles raced home on Barley's miscue at shortstop. Tri-City's Tom Colletti nearly escaped the jam with a double play, but Northwest League MVP Blaine Crim beat the throw to first to keep the rally alive. David Garcia followed with a single to left that scored Kellen Strahm and tied the game.
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In a flash, every ounce of momentum had shifted in Spokane's favor.
An inning later, however, Jack Stronach drew a leadoff walk and took third on Driscoll's one-out single to right. In Game 1, Driscoll drove in the go-ahead run with a single in the 12th.
"He's a clutch hitter, man. He's big-time," McCoy said. "He didn't have great at-bats today, but when we needed him right there, he came up with a big knock."
Luke Becker was intentionally walked by Nic Laio to load the bases, bringing Guilbe to the dish. The right-hander's first three pitches missed down and away, bringing the count to 3-0 and the Dust Devils home crowd -- and the team in the dugout -- to its feet.
"Guys were going nuts, yelling," McCoy said. "The crowd was getting loud."
Laio's fourth pitch missed high, bringing home Stronach to secure the victory and spot in the best-of-5 Finals against Hillsboro. It's a rematch of the 2015 Championship Series.
"So proud, man," McCoy said. "We've been fighting the last week, a lot of comeback wins. They've been doing their thing. Just you feel the fight from them right there. It was a great win."
Nick Thwaits (1-0) dealt 4 1/3 scoreless frames to open the game for Tri-City. He allowed one hit and one walk over the first two frames, then one of each in the next two. He was replaced by right-hander Jake Sims who needed only three pitches to get two key outs in the fifth. Righty Wen-Hua Sung followed him with two scoreless innings and Chris Lincoln pitched a 1-2-3 eighth.
Jordan Wolf is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @byjordanwolf.