Volcanoes flirt with walk-off bid against AquaSox

Matheny just misses game-winning home run in 7-6 defeat

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By Andrew Sullivan / Salem-Keizer Volcanoes | August 8, 2017 4:04 AM


KEIZER, Ore. - He put a tantalizing charge into the 1-0 meatball from Everett AquaSox right-handed reliever Paul Covelle, but Salem-Keizer Volcanoes third baseman Shane Matheny's deep fly ball was just a couple of feet short of clearing the right field wall for a walk-off two-run home run.

Everett right fielder Ronald Rosario positioned himself near the warning track, nestled himself underneath the fly ball and corralled the last out of the ballgame as the AquaSox won the final game of the five-game set 7-6, as well as the series three games to two, on August 7 at Volcanoes Stadium. 

It appeared early on that the Volcanoes brought their golden gloves to the ballpark when right fielder Juan Rodriguez dove forward to snag a sinking, shallow fly ball off of the bat of the leadoff hitter Chris Torres for the first out of the top of the first inning.

However, those gloves turned out to be fool's gold following Rodriguez's superb play. The next up in the batting order was first baseman Eugene Helder who grounded a pitch from Volcanoes starting pitcher Stetson Woods to third baseman Tyler Brown, who muffed the ball when it skipped off his leather.

Salem-Keizer had an opportunity to convert the double play to close out the inning, but shortstop Orlando Garcia dropped the ball making the transfer to second base after fielding a sharp chopper, and the inning continued.

The AquaSox capitalized on the Volcanoes miscues when designated hitter Juan Camacho singled to right field to score Helder from second and secure the lead 1-0.

The lead expanded to 3-0 in the top of the second for the AquaSox. Catcher Troy Dixon began the inning with a bang by cranking a heat-seeking missile that nailed the scoreboard as it sailed over the right field wall for a solo home run.

Two more AquaSox reached base later that frame and eventually came around to score via a two-bagger by third baseman Johnny Adams.

It did not take long for the Volcanoes to respond, however, as the ball club countered with two runs of their own in the bottom of the second. After a walk to first baseman Ryan Kirby and a base hit by left fielder Junior Amion, designated hitter Frandy De La Rosa reached base thanks to a throwing blunder by AquaSox second baseman Joe Venturino that permitted Kirby to score the first run of the ballgame for the Volcanoes.

Rodriguez tightened the deficit with a sacrifice fly that drove in Amion from third base as the AquaSox led 3-2.

A run-scoring three-bagger by Rosario provided some breathing room for the AquaSox, though not before the Volcanoes supplanted AquaSox as the leader of the ballgame 5-4 in the bottom of the third inning.

With runners on first and second base with one out, Kirby laced a two-run double to right field off of AquaSox starting southpaw Oliver Jaskie to tie the score at 4-4 all.

Following a strike out of Amion, De La Rosa dribbled a ground ball to Venturino, who did not put down his glove far enough as the ball trickled between the wickets into centerfield, allowing Kirby to toe home plate and hand the Volcanoes their first lead of the game.

Despite relinquishing their lead, Everett did not crumble and regained the lead soon after. The AquaSox scored a run in fourth, fifth and sixth innings by way of the long ball. Adams homered in the fourth and Camacho went yard in the fifth and sixth to retake the lead for the AquaSox 7-5.

The Everett relief duo of right-handed pitchers Michael Rivera and Covelle held the Salem-Keizer bats in check by tossing up goose eggs from the fourth inning until the eighth inning when pinch hitter Logan Baldwin tattooed a solo blast to pull the Volcanoes within one run of the lead 7-6 before Covelle closed out the game for the AquaSox.

Rivera (1-1) earned the victory after pitching four unblemished innings, surrendering one hit while walking two and striking out three batsmen. Covelle collected his second save on the season in two innings of work, yielding one run and two hits wile striking out two batters.

Woods (3-1) was stamped with the loss after being tagged six runs (fived earned). The righty dished out eight hits - three home runs - and walked three while just striking out one hitter.

Salem-Keizer will travel to Hillsboro to begin a three-game series against the Hillsboro Hops at Ron Tonkin Field. Volcanoes right-handed pitcher Julio Benitez (1-2, 4.02 ERA) will command the hill against Hops righty Tyler Keele (3-4, 4.01 ERA). First pitch is at 7:05 p.m.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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