Playoff-bound Volcanoes rally in ninth

Giants affiliate locks up first-half crown with five-run inning

By Jonathan Raymond / | July 19, 2013 11:15 PM ET

Just went it looked like Salem-Keizer would have to delay its official claim to the Northwest League South Division first-half title, the Volcanoes rallied in the ninth inning Friday night.

Salem-Keizer had already earned a de facto spot in the playoffs with a win on Wednesday, thanks to a tiebreaker over second-place Boise. But the Hawks also won that night, leaving the official elimination number at one.

On Thursday, the Volcanoes lost and Boise won again. And earlier Friday, the Hawks extended their winning streak to six games, while the Volcanoes trailed Tri-City, 7-5.

But the first-half race would not extend into Saturday.

Salem-Keizer had six consecutive batters reach safely with two outs in the ninth, scoring five times to stun the Dust Devils, 10-7.

Eugene Escalante delivered an RBI double, Tyler Hollick walked and Brandon Bednar singled home the tying run. Jeremy Sy, who homered in the third, put the Volcanoes in front with a run-scoring single and Brian Ragira walked to load the bases. A throwing error by shortstop Patrick Valaika capped the scoring.

At 23-12, Salem-Keizer owns the outright first-half title. It collected a season-high 17 hits Friday and won for the first time in 11 tries when trailing after six innings.

The Volcanoes lead the league with 199 runs scored and a .772 team OPS. Sy is tied for second in the circuit with five homers, while Hollick is tied for second with 24 runs scored and ranks eighth with a .307 batting average.

Jonathan Raymond is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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