The Salem-Keizer Volcanoes captured their second straight Northwest League championship Sunday as Oliver Odle and two relievers combined on a six-hitter in a 4-2 triumph over the Tri-City Dust Devils.
Odle (1-0) yielded two runs on four hits and struck out four without issuing a walk over six innings. The 22-year-old right-hander retired the first 10 batters he faced before Jordan Pacheco singled in the fourth.
"I was able to locate both of my off-speed pitches for strikes," said Odle, who struck out the side in the second. "When you can throw a curveball and slider for strikes, it makes your fastball that much more dangerous. It keeps the hitter guessing."
The Volcanoes scored early as Brock Bond tripled with one out in the first and scored on third baseman Darin Holcomb's error.
"I have to give a lot of credit to Shane [Jordan]," said Bond, who went 2-for-4 and scored twice. "He had a long at-bat and saw a lot of pitches, and in turn, I saw a lot of pitches from the on-deck circle. I guessed that after throwing everything to one guy, he'd want to get ahead with a fastball, and I ended up guessing right."
Jordan and Sharlon Schoop delivered RBI singles in the second to give Salem-Keizer a 3-0 lead.
"We wanted to score early and put the pressure on them," added Bond. "We know they've been struggling to plate runs and we fell pretty good about our chances when handing our bullpen a lead."
The Dust Devils ended a 26-inning scoring drought in the fifth. After Phillip Cuadrado and Kevin Clark opened the frame with singles, Brian Lapin sacrificed and Lars Davis bounced an RBI groundout to second base. Michael Mitchell followed with a two-out RBI base hit to left field.
"They strung some good at-bats in that inning," said Odle. "Their hitters had seen most of my pitches and they had a good approach there. I think I elevated a few pitches, but I wanted to keep throwing strikes with the lead and not walk guys."
The Volcanoes added an insurance run in the fifth, when Bond led off with a single and advanced to third on Matthew Downs' sacrifice and Andy D'Alessio's groundout to second. He crossed home plate on a wild pitch by Tri-City starter Cory Riordan (0-1).
That was more than enough for the Salem-Keizer bullpen. Steven Edlefsen yielded one hit and fanned three over three scoreless frames and Daniel Otero pitched around a hit in the ninth for his second save of the series.
"Those guys just didn't fall behind," said Odle. "They came in firing strikes and trusted their stuff. The 'pen was simply awesome tonight."
Riordan surrendered four runs -- three earned -- on eight hits and a walk in 6 2/3 innings.
The Volcanoes dominated the league en route to their fourth title in eight years. They went 57-19 during the regular season to run away with the Western Division by 19 1/2 games. Salem-Keizer led the circuit in team batting (.289), homers (57), runs (497), ERA (3.40) and shutouts (8).