KEIZER, Ore. - Trailing by the daunting score of 10-1 late in the ballgame, the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes nearly pulled off a comeback for the ages, but ultimately fell by the score of 10-9 to the Boise Hawks at Volcanoes Stadium.
The Hawks soared offensively through the first eight innings of the game, scoring ten runs via four home runs off of the bats of second baseman Bret Boswell, designated hitter Sean Bouchard, shortstop Matt McLaughlin and right fielder Daniel Jipping, respectively.
Meanwhile, the Volcanoes offense was grounded for the most part. Salem-Keizer's lone run prior to the bottom of the eighth inning came from shortstop Manuel Geraldo's sacrifice fly in the bottom of the fourth.
But then the bottom of the eighth rolled in and the once dormant Volcano offense became active within a heartbeat. Following a lead-off single by center fielder Malique Ziegler, right fielder Logan Baldwin blasted a two-run tater out to right field to cut the deficit to 10-3.
The next batter was left fielder Bryce Johnson who doubled to right field. After a wild pitch by Hawks reliever Alec Byrd, Volcanoes first baseman Ryan Kirby drove in Johnson with a line drive to left that cut Boise's lead to six runs.
With still no outs in the inning, Geraldo then reached on a force attempt as Hawks third baseman Danny Edgeworth's throw was wide to second base, allowing Geraldo to reach base and Kirby to advance to second.
Boise then brought in Ethan Westphal to relieve Byrd and to hopefully restore some order for the Hawks. However, the Hawk's defensive miscues continued when Volcanoes second baseman Orlando Garcia also reached on a force attempt after McLaughlin could not secure a throw by second baseman Jose G. Rodriguez.
After a walk to Volcanoes designated hitter Michael Sexton, Dalton Combs pinch hit for catcher Jeffry Parra and skipped a slick ground ball down the first base line for a two-bagger that not only plated two more runners, but also narrowed Boise's lead to 10-7 and ignited a brand-new contest.
The Volcanoes continue to peck away at the Hawks' once gargantuan lead thereafter. Third baseman Shane Matheny grounded out to newly inserted second baseman Ryan Metzler, which scored Sexton and moved Combs over to third base and recorded first out of the inning.
Ziegler then trotted up to the right-handed batters box for his second at-bat of the inning representing the tying run after witnessing his squad bat around the order. With a full count, Ziegler stroked a liner into left field for his second single of the inning to score Combs and inch the Volcanoes to the brink of tying the game at 10 all.
The baton was then passed down to Baldwin, who saw - on the first pitch of his at-bat - Ziegler put all of his chips in and took off for second base in hopes of putting himself in scoring position. Unfortunately, he came up empty when Hawks catcher Austin Bernard gunned him down for the second out of the inning.
Baldwin eventually grounded out to first base to conclude the inning as the Hawks finally were able to turn off the dripping faucet, but not before the Volcanoes chalked up an eight-spot on the scoreboard, which was three runs shy of the club's single-inning record of 11 set back in 2002.
Volcanoes relief man Logan Webb hurled a scoreless top half of the ninth, as Salem-Keizer's offense returned in the bottom half seeking to write a fairytale ending to the team's incredible journey back into this ballgame.
However, Boise reliever Moises Ceja set the Volcanoes down in order 1-2-3 for the save, and let Hawks fans breath a sigh of relief.
Salvador Justo earned his second victory on the season by pitching two scoreless innings in relief while striking out five. Volcanoes starting pitcher Alex Bostic suffered his second loss of the year after serving up five runs in three innings of work.
Salem-Keizer and Boise will play the second game of the three-game series tomorrow at 6:35 p.m. The starting pitcher for the Volcanoes is right-hander Stetson Woods, while lefty John Valek will take the mound for the Hawks.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.