Eugene finale ends in a loss

Eugene, OR – What began as a promising season for the Eugene Emeralds came to a somewhat bittersweet close Wednesday evening in a 10-8 loss to the visiting Salem-Keizer Volcanoes.

Although the Emeralds began the 2007 campaign with a franchise best 10-1 start at Civic Stadium, the club never could keep pace with the Volcanoes, which led the Northwest League wire-to-wire for the second consecutive year en route to setting a NWL record of 57 wins. The win total beats the previous record of 55 wins, which the Volcanoes set in 2006.

Salem picked up an early lead against Jeremy Hefner in the first inning. Shane Jordan led off the game with a double hit sharply along the third base foul line. Brock Bond followed by singling in Jordan on a line drive hit back to shallow center.

McBryde found his control, though, getting Matt Downs to ground into a double play and striking out Garrett Baker to get out of the inning without further damage.

The lead didn't last long. Drew Cumberland answered back in the bottom of the inning, blasting a double off Wilber Bucardo to the right field wall. Robbie Blauer doubled him in two batters later, hitting a deep shot to left centerfield to knot the game up at one run apiece.

McBryde shut down the Volcanoes in the second inning, but the Ems returned with hot bats while taking advantage of some sloppy defense. With Andy Parrino on first, Brad Chalk hit a line drive single to left field. Baker misplayed the bounce, and the ball caromed to the far corner of the field, allowing Parrino to score and Chalk to reach third. Chalk made it a 3-1 game two batters later when Bond committed the first of consecutive fielding errors at second base.

The lead changed hands just as quickly as the Volcanoes worked the count against McBryde in the third. Bond reached base on balls and was singled home by Downs to begin the run. McBryde then walked the next two batters to load the bases for Tyler La Torre. La Torre then cleared the bases with a double to deep center to cap the scoring for the inning.

Salem tacked two more runs on in the fourth, the first of which came when Downs hit a sacrifice fly to right field that brought in Jordan. Bond scored on the next play when Lance Zawadzki made a great diving stop at shortstop, but under threw the play at first to end the inning.

After swapping scoreless innings, the Volcanoes continued to build upon their lead in the sixth. Bond, Downs, and D'Alessio picked up consecutive RBIs, driving the score up to 10-3.

The Ems came roaring back in the bottom of the inning behind a three-run blast over the left field wall by Zawadzki. The homerun was Zawadzki's second of the season. Parrino followed up with a single that brought in a pair of runs to leave the Ems down just 10-8.

Eugene could get no closer, despite three combined scoreless innings of relief by Yoeli Florentino and Colt Hynes.

Eugene came close in the bottom of the ninth as the team loaded the bases with just one out. Cumberland and Zawadzki could get no luck against Salem closer Chance Corgan, and the Ems fell to 34-42, last in the division.

As the Emeralds prepare for off-season training, the Volcanoes are set to face off against the Tri-City Dust Devils in a five game series to determine the NWL Championship. The Dust Devils capture the Eastern Division title in an 8-1 victory over the Boise Hawks, The Hawks and Dust Devils finished with identical 37-39 records, but Tri-City owns the tie-breaker, giving them a trip to see Salem in the championship.


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