Ken Aldrich

Dust Devils Drop Opener

PASCO, WASH - On a beautiful night in Eastern Washington the Dust Devils dropped the series opener, despite leading for most of the game, as Hillsboro won 9-8 in a classic short-season league game where the fans saw some talent on display along with a few bobbles and a total of eight errors in a three hours and forty-eight minute marathon.

“There were just too many good things to come out of that game and not win,” said a dejected Ben Fritz, the Dust Devils’ manager.

“In this game you have to have a short memory, on both the good and the bad; but this game will eat at you a little.”

“But the best thing is tomorrow we get to come out tomorrow and get a chance to do some damage.”

Tri-City got on the board first when LF Taylor Kohlwey, a twenty-first round pick this year from Wisconsin-La Crosse, tripled in the top of the third and brought home by center fielder Buddy Reed, currently the Padres’ top draft pick here (second round) singled him home.

Reed, at a very athletic six-foot-four, 210 pounds, has been hitting better in his last few games and was 1-4 tonight. The switch-hitter is a plus defender in center.

LHP Will Headen got the start and was very tough for the first three innings before running into some command problems in the fourth and fifth.  The former Illinois State star had a big year in the AZL in 2015 with 34 strikeouts in 26 innings against only seven walks, but has been up and down for the Dust Devils this season. 

Shortstop Chris Baker had a tough error in the eighth inning on a relatively easy ground ball that allowed the Hops to plate four runs and erased the Dust Devils 8-4 lead. 

Despite the miscue, Baker, a seventeenth round pick out of the University of Washington, has been one of the more impressive players for Tri-City this season.  Baker has a slash line coming into tonight’s action of .294/.407/.404 to go along with six stolen bases in seven attempts and has the defensive ability to stay at short.

In the top of the ninth Hillsboro got a wind aided double to left and later scored on a missed catch by first baseman G.K. Young, his second of the night to give them their first lead of the night and the game.  

The Dust Devils had a chance in the bottom of the inning when they put two runners on with two outs, but the game ended when Kohlwey grounded out to first.

Notes: Tomorrow LHP Eric Lauer, the Padres’ third overall pick in this year’s draft, makes his Northwest League debut.  Draft pundits have predicted Lauer could be the fastest of the class to the majors and features four plus pitchers.

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