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Downs, Durango named co-MVPs

Northwest League All-Star Team includes four Volcanoes
August 28, 2007
The Salem-Keizer Volcanoes, who have won more than 75 percent of their games, on Tuesday placed four players, including co-Most Valuable Player Matt Downs, on the Northwest League All-Star Team.

Downs, a 23-year-old second baseman, is third in the league with a .335 batting average and has eight home runs and 48 RBIs with a league-leading 60 runs scored. He shared MVP honors with Eugene Emeralds outfielder Luis Durango.

The 21-year-old Panamanian leads the league in batting at .368 and has two homers, 31 RBIs and 58 runs scored. The Emeralds' lone All-Star also has 17 stolen bases in 23 attempts.

Garrett Baker has been a force in the middle of the Volcanoes' lineup and is the designated hitter. He is second in the league with 57 RBIs while batting .300 with five homers and 44 runs scored.

Thomas Brewer is tied for the league lead with eight wins and is one of two All-Star starting pitchers. The right-hander has lost just once and has a 3.30 ERA with 15 walks and 49 strikeouts over 60 innings in 13 starts. Danny Otero has been nearly perfect in protecting leads for the Volcanoes and is the right-handed reliever. The 22-year-old has 18 saves, yielding just one run on eight hits with 13 strikeouts in 19 appearances. He has not walked a batter in 19 1/3 innings.

Steve Decker has guided the defending champion Volcanoes to a 51-16 start and shares Manager of the Year honors with Eugene's Greg Riddoch. Salem-Keizer already has clinched the West Division title and is 51-16.

A pair of Yakima Bears make up the left side of the infield. Shortstop Mark Hallberg, who was born in Saudi Arabia, is hitting .320 with five homers, 28 RBIs, 38 runs scored and 11 stolen bases in 12 tries. Third baseman Clayton Conner recently was promoted to Class A South Bend after batting .351 with nine homers, 45 RBIs and 35 runs scored in 45 Northwest League contests.

Catcher Jonathan Greene and left-handed reliever Ryan Falcon are the Spokane Indians' representatives. Greene is among the league leaders with 11 homers and 44 RBIs and is batting .251 in 52 games. Falcon is tied for fifth with 23 appearances, going 4-2 with a 2.45 ERA while yielding only 31 hits and five walks with 54 strikeouts in 40 1/3 innings.

The Everett AquaSox also boast two All-Stars. Outfielder Gregory Halman spent time earlier in the season with Class A Wisconsin and has shown impressive speed and power with the AquaSox. The 6-foot-4, 192-pounder has 14 roundtrippers and 15 steals with a .289 batting average, 33 RBIs and 35 runs scored in 59 games. Edward Paredes, Everett's only starter with a winning record, is the All-Star left-hander. He's 7-5 with a 3.64 ERA over a league-leading 76 2/3 innings in 14 games, including 13 starts.

First baseman Danny Hamblin is the only member of the Vancouver Canadians on the team. The 6-1, 210-pounder was one of the top run-producers in the Southeastern Conference in the spring and has continued that role in the Northwest League. Hamblin is batting .285 with 11 homers and a league-leading 58 RBIs and 41 runs scored in 59 games.

Boise's Jonathan Wyatt also made the team as an outfielder. The former Georgia Bulldog batted .306 (75-for-245) with four homers and 41 RBIs for the Hawks.

Peter Spadora is a contributor to