It wasn't your typical Boise game. They didn't homer. They didn't even get an extra base hit, but they did justs enough to vault them to a 3-2 win and into the NWL finals against the Vancouver Canadians.
On a night when they uncharacteristically had trouble getting their offense going, the Hawks got a strong pitching performance from an unexpected source. 22 year old Felix Pena wasn't even supposed to be in Boise, but a rough start in low Class A Peoria landed him down in Boise, where the team eventually moved him from the bullpen to his current role as a starter. Maybe not a great thing for Pena at first to get moved down, but it turned out to be a good thing for Boise last night and perhaps it will in the long term for Pena. Pena went 7 scoreless innings, allowing just 5 hits and no walks.
All the offense came in the 3rd inning when the Hawks took advantage of some wildness on the part of Yakima starter Jose Martinez. The inning started with a walk to C Wilson Contreras, who advanced on a wild pitch. A single by Trey Martin put Contreras on 3rd where he was able to score on a second wild pitch to give Boise the lead they would not lose this time...though they did come close.
Gioskar Amaya and Jeimer Candelario kept the inning going with walks, which loaded the bases for Dan Vogelbach, who singled to left to score Martin and Amaya to put the Hawks up 3-0.
From there it was just Pena dealing until he gave way to the hard-throwing, but raw LHP Brian Smith. It was the Hawks turn to get a little sloppy. After a leadoff single, Smith walked a batter and then Amaya botched a throw to 2nd on a DP attempt, allowing the runner to score from 2nd. Yakima was now down just 3-1 with runners on second and third with nobody out. Considering the problems with Boise's bullpen all year, it was hard not to feel the impending sense of doom.
Smith got the next batter to ground out, allowing a second run to score and putting the tying run on 3rd with just one out. The Hawks then turned to one of their few reliable bullpen arms, "Steady Eddie" Orozco, who got a huge strikeout for the second out, then retired the next batter to keep the 3-2 lead in tact. Orozo then pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to preserve the victory and lead Boise to the finals, where they will meet the Toronto Blue Jays affiliate, the Vancouver Canadians.
Filed under: Daily Cubs Minors Recap