The Boise Hawks scored seven times in the top of the ninth inning to defeat the Yakima Bears (Diamondbacks), 11-5.
The Hawks got off to an early lead in the third inning when second baseman Gioskar Amaya hit a two-run home run off Bears starter Daniel Watts. But Boise starting pitcher Tayler Scott couldn't hold the lead as the Bears came right back to score two times in the bottom of the inning.
Scott would end up pitching four innings and allowing two runs on five hits. He walked one and struck out four.
The Hawks would once again take the lead in the top of the fifth inning when Trey Martin led off with a lead-off double and would come around to score on a Stephen Bruno single after a sacrifice bunt. But reliever Michael Heesch once again coughed up the lead in the bottom of the inning when the Bears scored twice to take a 4-3 lead.
Heesch would pitch two innings and allow two runs on four hits. He didn't walk anyone and struck out three.
The score would stay that way as the Hawks left runners in scoring position in both the sixth and seventh inning. But they finally broke through in the eighth off Bears reliever Will Locante. With two outs, Albert Almora tripled and then tied the game on a wild pitch.
The score was still tied in the top of the ninth inning when the first two Boise batters were easily retired. But then Amaya walked and the Hawks would not make the third and final out until Amaya came up to bat again later in the inning and popped out. In the meantime, nine straight Hawks would reach base on six hits and three walks. The big blows were a Jeimer Candelario triple that scored two and broke the tie and a two-run double by Almora again.
Hawks pitcher Tyler Bremer would remain on the mound to pitch the ninth inning and allowed a one-out single. After getting a second out on a fly out, he would allow a run on a double to right field by Bears DH Jacob House. But despite being down six runs, House tried to stretch the double into a triple and was gunned down by a perfect throw from right field by Bruno, ending the game right there.
Bremer got the win tonight after he allowed one run on three hits over three innings. He walked one and struck out three.
For the record, second baseman Amaya was 1 for 2 with a walk and that home run. He scored twice. He also had two sacrifice bunts. Center fielder Almora was 3 for 5 with a double and a triple. He scored two runs and batted two in.
Left fielder Martin went 3 for 4 with a double. He had an RBI single in the ninth inning and scored two runs. Right fielder Bruno was 3 for 5 with a double, one RBI and one run scored. Finally, third baseman Jeimer Candelario was 2 for 4 with a double and a walk. He scored once and had two RBI.
The two teams will settle their best-of-three series tonight in Yakima at 9:05 Chicago time. If the Hawks lose, it's their last game of the season, of course. If Yakima loses, it's their last game ever as the franchise is moving to Hillsboro, Oregon next year. The winner will take on Vancouver in the Northwest League Championship Series.
Minor Notes: Congratulations to Tennessee Smokies pitcher Nick Struck, who was your choice for Cubs Minor League Pitcher of the Month! We'll have a vote for Player and Pitcher of the Year either later this week or early next week, depending on how far Boise goes in the post-season.