Hawks Hanging Tough

With less than two weeks remaining in regular season minor league play, the Class A Boise Hawks are hanging tough in their quest for another Northwest League championship.

The Hawks last won the league championship in 2004. They've amassed six total in franchise history since 1975.

The team edged Spokane on Thursday, 8-7, improving to 36-28 this season and leading Tri-City by three games in the league's Eastern Division. Not bad for a club that began the year by dropping nine of their first 11 games.

"We went through a stretch where we lost eight out of 10 or whatever to two teams that really handled us," Hawks manager Steve McFarland said, referring to Eugene and inevitable Western Division champion Salem-Keizer. "Now that we're back in our own division, we're playing teams that we should beat. Hopefully we can continue to handle them."

The eight-team Northwest League is divided into two divisions: West and East. In the West, all but one team is above .500. In the East, the Hawks and Dust Devils (33-31) are the only clubs above sea level.

The Hawks took three of five north of the border in Vancouver earlier this week and then won two straight against Spokane after dropping the series opener. They head to Yakima for a three-game series this weekend.

First-round draft pick Tyler Colvin picked up three hits in Thursday's win, including his sixth triple. Colvin turns 21 on Sept. 5 and is batting .282 with five homers and 38 RBIs in 53 games with the Hawks.

"Here's a guy that was really hot and has shown everything you want to see out of him: power to all fields, runs the bases well, plays the outfield – left and center – and his throws are good," McFarland said of Colvin.

"There have been games where he struggled, but it's a part of living up to being a first-round pick. He also went through a stretch where he was as good as anybody in this league," McFarland added.

Colvin isn't alone in the Hawks' playoff push, though. Teammate and first baseman Russ Canzler's 14 home runs lead the league, as do his 54 RBIs, making him a lock for league MVP consideration.

OF Alfred Joseph has four straight two-hit nights to bring his average back above .300. The former 15-round pick hit .352 with 10 doubles through his first 36 games, but had fallen into a 1-for-29 slump earlier this month.

"He and Canzler both work hard. He was leading the league in hitting a little while ago, but has sort of leveled out," McFarland said of Joseph.

The Hawks are batting .270 as a unit, first in the league. They return home from an 11-game road trip this Tuesday to welcome Spokane to town.

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