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Boise Hawks Defeat Vancouver, 3-2 To Even NWL Championship Series 1-1

The Boise Hawks came from behind and beat the Vancouver Canadians (Blue Jays), 3-2 when catcher Willson Contreras hit a walk-off single with the bases-loaded.

The story of most of the game was pitching. Hawks starter Pierce Johnson allowed an unearned run in the top of the second inning when he struck out a batter, but the ball was in the dirt and catcher Contreras threw the ball into right field, putting a runner on third with one out. Johnson then threw a wild pitch to score the run.

That was the only run of the game until the seventh inning as the Hawks were completely dominated by Canadians seventeen year-old starter Roberto Osuna. Osuna had five scoreless innings with nine strikeouts and no walks. The Hawks did not have a baserunner after Rock Shoulders second inning single and the start of the seventh inning.

In the seventh, right fielder Stephen Bruno broke the string by getting hit by a pitch. Vancouver summoned Griffin Murphy from the pen, and he walked both batters he faced to load the bases before getting pulled for Will Browning.

Browning got Albert Almora to hit into a 6-2 fielder's choice and Shoulders to strike out before facing Contreras. With two strikes, Contreras squibbed a ball off the end of his bat into foul territory, but it had enough spin on it to roll fair. Contreras made it to first base as no one covered first to tie the game, although Jeimer Candelario was thrown out trying to score the go-ahead run from second base.

The Canadians and Hawks traded runs in the eighth inning. Vancouver's runs scored after center fielder Almora crashed into the wall chasing after a fly ball which ended up as a triple. Almora was down on the ground for quite a while and had to be helped off the field. It looked like he hit the wall with his face, but there's no word at this time as to how seriously Almora was injured.

Vancouver's next hitter doubled in the run, but Bruno got that run back in the bottom of the inning with an RBI double.

Vancouver got two runners on with two out in the ninth, but failed to cash in. Candelario then led off the bottom of the ninth inning with a double. After Izaac Garsez was hit by a pitch, both runners advanced to second and third on a wild pitch. After Shoulders was intentionally walked to load the bases with no outs, Contreras sent the Boise fans home happy with a walk-off single to left field.

Starter Pierce Johnson pitched three innings and allowed the one unearned run on three hits. He struck out six and didn't walk anyone. Nathan Dorris got the win with 1.1 innings of scoreless relief. He gave up two hits and a walk while striking out two.

The Hawks scored their three runs on only six hits. Catcher Willson Contreras was 2 for 4 with those two huge RBI.

The two teams will play the deciding game three Sunday night in Boise at 7:45 Chicago time. You can listen at or watch on (subscription required). Tayler Scott will take the mound for Boise. He'll be opposed by the Canadians' Taylor Cole. Vancouver will be looking to take back-to-back titles and Boise is chasing their first title since 2004.