SPOKANE, Wash. - One of the most memorable seasons in franchise history came to an end Friday night. The Spokane Indians used a Redband Rally in the ninth inning to force extra innings, but ultimately dropped Game Three of the NWL Divisional Round to the Tri-City Dust Devils, 3-2 in ten innings.
Tri-City jumped out to an early 2-0 lead, scoring a run in each of the first two innings. With the Dust Devils ahead, the Spokane bats stayed quiet until the 9th inning. On the verge of elimination, Alexander Ovalles got the Redband Rally going with a pinch hit single. Kellen Strahm followed that up with another base knock, and then Derwin Barreto brought Ovalles home thanks to a error by the shortstop. The next batter, Blaine Crim grounded out for what looked to be the series-ending double play. However, Crim just beat the throw to first to extend the inning. That left the door open for David Garcia to step up and deliver the game-tying RBI single. The rally stalled from there, but it was enough to force extra innings, tied 2-2.
The tenth inning proved much less eventful for Spokane. The Indians were retired in order. In the bottom half, Tri-City got runners on the corners with just one out. Spokane elected to walk Luke Becker to load the bases and create a force out at every base. Unfortunately, the next batter was walked by Nic Laio on four pitches to bring home Sean Guilbe for the series' winning run.
The Tri-City Dust Devils advance to face the Hillsboro Hops in the Northwest League Championship Series. The series starts Saturday in Hillsboro.
While the 2019 campaign fell short of the Indians' ultimate goal of winning an NWL Championship, it will unquestionably go down as one of the greatest single seasons in franchise history. Spokane won the first half and second half for the NWL North Division, finishing with a regular season record of 45-31. It was the most wins for Spokane since the 2008 squad finished 51-25.
Other notable achievements in the 2019 season include:
- First Baseman Blaine Crim was named the NWL MVP
- Manager Kenny Hook was named NWL Manager of the Year
- Spokane led the league with five NWL All-Star Selections: Blaine Crim, David Garcia, Daniel Robert, Kellen Strahm, and Ricky Vanasco.
- Along with Crim, David Garcia and Werner Leal were also named to the NWL Year-End All-Star Team.
It was an impressive season on the field for the Indians, but most importantly it was a record-breaking year at Avista Stadium. The Indians set a new club record for short-season attendance with 200,273 fans. Spokane became just the sixth team since 2005 to crack the 200,000 barrier for season attendance in Short-Season A Baseball. The Indians also joined the Vancouver Canadians as the only teams in the Northwest League to have accomplished the feat.
A memorable season on the field and record-breaking year in the stands are all a byproduct of the loyalty and dedication exhibited by the Spokane fans. The Spokane Indians want to thank everyone who came out to the ballpark this summer for helping to make the 2019 season memorable in so many ways. See everyone back at Avista Stadium next season!
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.